The world's most-read Scottish politics website

Wings Over Scotland

Leopard reappears, spots identical

Posted on June 14, 2012 by

We’ve been having a little poke around in the insolvency laws today, and we have to inform Wings Over Scotland readers with shame and regret that we made a mistake in our Rangers Liquidation FAQ a couple of days ago. It turns out that it is in fact permissible for a new company to take over the name of an old one, so long as the old company was purchased in the process of liquidation, an exemption which would seem to clearly apply in the case of Rangers.

In the light of bizarre and intriguing recent developments, then, we’re faced with an interesting prospect: a new Rangers FC, playing next season under the old name, in the old colours, with the old history, in the SPL, at Ibrox Stadium, led by Walter Smith, with the current playing squad, completely free of debt and with a £20m bank balance from season ticket sales. (After paying back the bargain-basement purchase price.)

One can only imagine the tone of triumph from the Govan club’s friendly supporters.

The Big Tax Case would be irrelevant, buried with the oldco, as would the SFA investigation into dual contracts and the punishment for bringing the game into disrepute. Tens of millions of pounds owed to the taxpayer would simply disappear in a puff of smoke, as would the millions owed to other football clubs, to Ticketus, and to hundreds of smaller creditors for whom the money could (and now will) be the difference between their business surviving and dying.

The new Rangers wouldn’t be eligible to play in European competitions for three years, but business would otherwise carry on exactly as it did last season without interruption. It doesn’t seem much of a punishment for 10 to 20 years of deliberate, blatant, industrial-scale cheating, robbing other clubs of tens of millions of pounds and driving the Scottish game to the brink of destruction in the process, does it?

The above is, of course, a best/worst-case scenario according to which side of the debate you’re on. Even if the new Rangers could secure an 8-4 Yes vote to their entry into the SPL, the SFA could apply conditions and sanctions, as could the other clubs in return for their vote. But the new Rangers could always renege on any promises it made (eg in respect of agreeing to a change in SPL voting rules or sharing TV money), and it could challenge any SFA conditions in the civil-law courts, were the SFA to be so toothless as to let them get away with doing it previously.

The press is reporting that the attitudes of several of the the other clubs in the top division is hardening against the notion of admitting the phoenix Rangers directly to the SPL. In the circumstances we can’t say we’re surprised.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

1 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. 17 06 12 05:48

    So what did you learn at school this week? – Scottish Roundup

19 to “Leopard reappears, spots identical”

  1. TheMaganator

    Are you sure, Wings? s216 seems pretty clear:

    216.— Restriction on re-use of company names.

    (1) This section applies to a person where a company (“the liquidating company”) has gone into insolvent liquidation on or after the appointed day and he was a director or shadow director of the company at any time in the period of 12 months ending with the day before it went into liquidation.

    (2) For the purposes of this section, a name is a prohibited name in relation to such a person if—

    (a) it is a name by which the liquidating company was known at any time in that period of 12 months, or

    (b) it is a name which is so similar to a name falling within paragraph (a) as to suggest an association with that company.

    The link to the ‘business’ site refers to the London Gazette – are you sure sure the information there is compatible with Scots Law?

  2. Rev. Stuart Campbell

    That was my initial interpretation too, but S216 only applies to directors of the new company who were also directors of the old company, and in any event prohibited names are subject to the exemptions linked in the article.

    Good point about Scots law, though – need to check if it’s different to English re: insolvency, though I thought all UK companies were registered at Companies House and subject to the same rules. STAND BY.

  3. Kenny Campbell

    The artist formerly known as Prince is now The Prince ?


  4. Confucious

    I don’t thing your statement that “Tens of millions of pounds owed to the taxpayer would simply disappear in a puff of smoke” is quite accurate. The reason that HMRC refused the CVA was to better enable them to pursue the individuals who benefited from the EBT. They seem to be taking the view that it was the responsibility of the individuals to ensure that they paid the correct amount of tax. The unpaid tax and fines since White took over will be lost however as that was solely the responsibility of the club / company.

  5. Rev. Stuart Campbell

    Indeed – the Small Tax Case money would be lost, and the PAYE and NI dodged by Whyte would be lost. I think that’s already over £10m. Bear in mind also that Murray and Whyte are pretty much broke, so even if HMRC could recover more from them than from a CVA it’s still likely to be a very long way short of what they – we – are owed.

  6. Arbroath1320

    Speaking from a point of absolute naivety and ignorance of all things related to the inner operations of Scottish football, can I just say that I believe the SFA have already made a rod for their own back.
    If my mind serves me right, and I admit it may not here, is the current Rangers situation not similar to that of Livingston and Gretna in the past. At least in terms of going into administration/liquidation. If so then these two clubs were unceremoniously kicked out of the SPL and down into the SFL Division 3.
    My blinkered point is this. If demotion to Division 3 is good enough for Livingston and Gretna then why is it not good enough for Rangers?
    Surely, any option other than demotion to Division 3 is tantamount to showing favouritism towards Rangers, something I am sure the rest of Scottish football would not take too kindly to. Immaterial of what the end result is with regards to players, grounds etc surely if the SFA want to show any sort of consistency then they have only one option, namely demotion to division 3.
    By following the precedence of previous decisions the SFA will, in my view, sort out the wheat from the chaff, in terms of Rangers supporters. I mean by this that only the die hard Rangers supporter will follow Rangers to Division 3, the “sunny day” type of supporter will disappear until Rangers returns to the SPL.

  7. TheMaganator

    Yes, right enough – it seems that if the director bought RFC after the date of liquidation he’d be free to bash on?

    All very confusing… 

  8. Kenny Campbell

    Gretna were relegated as they could not guarantee their remaining fixtures, Livingston as it was the second time they went bust. So the same but different.

  9. Arbroath1320

    The latest as per BBC is that Green has bought Rangers.

    It is claimed that he bought the club under a previously agreed binding deal. I assume this is the binding deal with Duff and Phelps. However, as H.M.R.C have their own accountancy firm looking into Rangers as a result of H.M.R.C. refusing the C.V.A. would they not take precedent over Duff and Phelps, particularly as I read, I think it was here, that Duff and Phelps would themselves be part of the H.M.R.C.’s accountants investigation.
    Could we yet see  this “rushed”, in my view, announcement of Green buying Rangers being overturned?
    I don’t believe that this announcement by Green is a done deal. I have a feeling there are more than a few twists and turns yet to appear, not least as a result of a) the C.V.A. being formally rejected this morning and b) the appearance of Walter Smith on the scene with more money would, I think seem to be a very attractive offer at least to the H.M.R.C. accountants.

  10. Kenny Campbell

    I’m enjoying a 10 minute period of watching the anti Rangers brigade hand wringing instead of the Pro Rangers Battalion 🙂

  11. TheMaganator

    @Kenny Campbell
    I am not anti-Rangers. I am pro-Hearts. I want our money for Lee Wallace. I take no pleasure in seeing any legitimate football (ie non-bigoted numpty) fan losing their club.
    It is your board I take issue with – not your fans.

  12. Rev. Stuart Campbell

    “I’m enjoying a 10 minute period of watching the anti Rangers brigade hand wringing instead of the Pro Rangers Battalion :)

    Hey, I’m just making sure nobody gets overconfident, eases off the pressure and lets their club vote New Rangers back in…


  13. Randomscot

    I used to think the Rangers-Celtic stuff was bad until I saw the seething contempt Jambos have for Hibees, especially in the Wallace Mercer days.

    It’s SPL attitudes like that that made me the Petershill fan I am today

  14. TheMaganator


    I am not sure that is true. Most Hearts fans I know see Hibs as being ‘the funny wee neighbour’ type – to be mocked and ridiculed. There is not the element of hatred that there is with the OF.

    I have only been watching Hearts for 25 or so years though so cannot really comment on the 70s/early 80s and before. 

  15. Randomscot

    @ Themagnator

    I’m basing it on working in Edinburgh from 87 to 95, amongst Jambos and Hibees and weird displaced Old Firm fans of the east.

    The Old Firm had the visceral rage and hate, but there was a cold contempt from Jambos to Hibees, it was weird, not as weird as when they were talking about buying out the Hibs.

    It led me to think “this supporting a big club is madness, isn’t it, so, Springburn for me!” 

  16. Kenny Campbell

    There was a tweet from Spiers today saying that some very strong rumours that HMRC have cut some deal, even if not true its put a few Celtic fans off their Jelly by all accounts.

  17. John Lyons


    There are some other questions I’d like to ask.

    How did Craig Whyte ever expect to make money out of buying Rangers? I’ve never been able to get my head around that…
    How does Charles Green expect to make money out of buying Rangers? Same reasoning applies, no-one buys football clubs to make money do they?

    If the SPL clubs vote Rangers out, will Green walk away? Because he’s always said his deal is conditional to Rangers being in the SPL. If he’s rushed himself to Owner status because of the threat of Smiths bid will he live to regret it?

    If the SPL clubs vote Rangers out, and Green does walk away, will Smith still be intersted? He’s true blue, but is he true third division?

    Interesting times.

    Personally, I want Justice. My biggest fear here is that other clubs lose out on money owed to them by Rangers and are pushed dangerously close to closing down themselves. It would then only take one other club (I suspect Hearts Cause Mad Vlad is crazy enough to do it!) to see Rangers get through administration and liquidation virtually unscathed and to follow suit and if Hearts owe these same clubs similar amounts of money we’ll see clubs fold. Rangers need to be punished for thier crimes, not only because it is right that wrongdoers are punished, but also to deter others from copying.

    I feel some pity for Rangers fans, but not a lot. When you are down and need the help of other clubs to survive, you should not get money together and then refuse to give it to Dundee Utd. I think there’s a very real chance Utd will vote against Rangers being in the SPL, and if that’s the vote that sends them to the third Division I think the Rangers fans deserve it, not because of the actions of David Murray or Craig Whyte who have very nearly destroyed thier club, but because of thier own pettiness.

  18. Rev. Stuart Campbell

    “There was a tweet from Spiers today saying that some very strong rumours that HMRC have cut some deal, even if not true its put a few Celtic fans off their Jelly by all accounts.”

    Eh? Who would HMRC be cutting a deal with? They have no lawful interest in New Rangers or Charles Green – all of Old Rangers debts die with the oldco.

  19. Rev. Stuart Campbell

    “How does Charles Green expect to make money out of buying Rangers?”

    I’m just about to do a wee blog on that.

Comment - please read this page for comment rules. HTML tags like <i> and <b> are permitted. Use paragraph breaks in long comments. DO NOT SIGN YOUR COMMENTS, either with a name or a slogan. If your comment does not appear immediately, DO NOT REPOST IT. Ignore these rules and I WILL KILL YOU WITH HAMMERS.

↑ Top