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“Cheat’s Charter” controversy ended

Posted on April 13, 2012 by

From the Scottish Football Association rules on Club Licensing (specifically  Part 3, Section 03 – The Club as Licence Applicant and the UEFA Licence). Emphasis ours.

"3.1.1 The Licence Applicant may only be a football club, that is the legal entity fully responsible for the football team participating in national and international competitions and which is the legal entity member of the Scottish Football Association (Full or Associate Member). The licence applicant is responsible for the fulfillment of the club licensing criteria. This membership must have been in place at the start of the licence season for a minimum period of three consecutive years.


3.3.1 UEFA Licence Awards for Scottish Premier League Clubs (SPL)
A Licence cannot be transferred from one legal entity to another.

NB: "UEFA Licence" does not denote a licence to compete in UEFA competitions, which are governed by an entirely different set of criteria. As the SFA website explains:

"National Club Licensing applies to Scottish FA member clubs and UEFA Club Licensing applies to Scottish Premier League clubs."

In other words, to play in the SPL you must have a UEFA Club Licence, regardless of whether you actually compete in UEFA competitions or not. (SFL clubs, who in normal circumstances wouldn't be expected to qualify for European tournaments, are dealt with separately via an "extraordinary procedure" in the event that they do.)

So, should Rangers FC be subject to liquidation and then reborn as a "newco", the new company would NOT be eligible for the licence required to play in the SPL, for at least three years. Furthermore, it is plainly and explicitly forbidden under SFA rules for such a licence to be transferred from one legal entity (Rangers FC) to another (New Rangers FC 2012). Well, that's that all sorted out, then. As you were.

[Edited for clarity and latest versions of documentation, 13-4-2012]

[EDIT 17-4-2012: We rang the SFA yesterday, and they confirmed our interpretation of the rules above. Half an hour later they rang us back, sounding very nervous, and changed their line, stating that the UEFA Club Licence DID only apply to UEFA competitions, and only a National Club Licence was required to play in the SPL. Later that evening it was revealed that the Association is considering disbanding the SPL and SFL entirely and replacing them with a new National Football League. The SFA did not comment on the possible position of a newco Rangers in such a league.]

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14 to ““Cheat’s Charter” controversy ended”

  1. RevStu says:

    Kudos to Philip Thomas on the comments pages at Bella Caledonia for the initial work in digging this one out, btw. We thought it deserved more prominence.

  2. steven luby says:

    Let us hope the rules are not 'bendy' rules !

  3. Philip Thomas says:

    There is, unfortunately, one method of bending those rules.  You can buy another legal entity who already have a license, like Airdrie did after they were liquidated.  Technically it would be within the rules and the only thing stopping it would be the power of various individuals to resist it.  To explain:
    A company representing the old RFC could buy Motherwell, change the name or register a subsidiary called 'RFC', buy up all the old RFC's assets, and carry on regardless.
    They could also buy a lower league team and the SPL, under clause 14, could simply invite them to the SPL.
    The power to resist would lie with, first of all, the current owners of the other club to resist the takeover attempt; the SPL members who could block/revoke their membership; and the general public/supporters.  Obviously it would result in the death of the other club and that would have major political repurcussions in itself.
    I happen to think that whoever buys the assets of RFC, should they be liquidated will already be looking at this.  The potential commercial value of a new, virtually debt free RFC easily offsets the purchase price of almost any moderately well run football club in Scotland outwith Celtic and those who have large debts of their own (so my own team, Aberdeen, are safe).
    I wouldn't put this past some of the individuals who're connected to RFC at an investment level at the moment.  I happen to think that one of the biggest obstacles they'd face are Rangers supporters though.  This would mean the death of their history and the killing of another club would forever haunt them.

  4. RevStu says:

    Yes, also known as the Airdrie United plan, when they took over Clydebank. But as you say, the problem with that is finding another club prepared to obliterate itself and its history to become New Rangers. And, while I can't share your sentiment that Rangers fans would feel especially guilty about destroying Cowdenbeath or someone, I think that they'd have a lot of trouble coming to terms with the fact that the new club couldn't possibly pretend to lay claim to Rangers' trophy history in those circumstances. They, and everyone else, would forever know the new club was really New Cowdenbeath.

  5. Philip Thomas says:

    Should also add, what I've suggested would be morally repugnant but it can't be ruled out.  On a positive note, based on the initial reaction of the general football following public to the idea of a newco RFC being allowed into the SPL, I think the same public would react even more negatively to the scenario I suggested and rally around.  You'd have to have some serious neck to push on with it and the 'new' RFC would forever be tainted.  All the public can do is ensure that the people controlling the levers are aware of how this would be perceived.
    I still have some faith in the SFA.  They're quiet at the moment but to be fair to them they haven't been given anything to react to yet other than speculation.

  6. Philip Thomas says:

    New Cowdenbeath gave me a chuckle.  That would stick!

  7. RevStu says:

    I'd love to hear the Pittodrie crowd singing "Stand free, whoever you may be, for you are the Cowdenbeath FC" every time they came to visit…

  8. Angus McLellan says:

    If NewCo wanted to have a glorious history, maybe better to start in the Juniors. How much would Auchinleck cost? And they'd still get to play in the Scottish Cup and have a route into Europe eventually.

  9. bobbymc777 says:

    What I have found incredulous since this story has broken is that VERY few people have stated the ONLY COURSE that Rangers CAN take.
    Other wise, 
    Die with dignity.

  10. Auldheid says:

    I'm not so sure that SPL clubs are bound by UEFA Licence Rules as you state.
    In the Club Licensing rules there are different rules for submission of documents for SPL clubs and other clubs so it seems to apply to SPL Clubs as well as others.
    I always thought UEFA Licensing was for clubs who qualify for UEFA competitions and were a device to assure UEFA they would meet UEFA's much stricter requirements.
    There are still parts of National Club Licensing that make it difficult to give Newco a license (Section 8.1.1. and 8.1.2 but the 3.3.1 you highlight is not in Club Licensing and Club licensing does apply to SPL clubs.
    The problem for Newco is that they aint an SPL Club and in effect fall outside the Club License rules that would need changed to accommodate them.
    Hope you are right and I'm wrong as UEFA Licensing is specific on not transferring a license and Club Licensing is not which leaves a bit of wriggle room.

  11. McGinleyBhoy says:

    The Con Artist Formerly Known As Clyde !!!

  12. Auldheid says:

    Belay that last comment  please. Had a look at the SFA page on UEFA licensing as opposed to UEFA FFP 2010 which was my source and I see why there is reference in National Club Licensing to SPL clubs (they MIGHT be UEFA competetion license candiates so docs required eary.
    However Annex 1 page 43 Exceptions to UEFA FFP 2010 rules like the three year requirement needs to be read. Were it not for the possibility of an exception being made (was this why D&P applied for a UEFA license to get one to play in Scotland, not Europe, it could be stated that Newco could NOT be allowed into the SPL as no license possible.

  13. jinky44 says:

    RFC are a disgrace!! Pay your bills.

  14. RevStu says:

    Blimey. I just picked them at random, but according to this blog post Cowdenbeath actually ARE ripe for takeover and rebranding as New Rangers:

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