Let’s Sue Rangers!

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If one thing stank more than
anything else when Rangers were plunged into administration, it was the very
real threat of the losses of playing staff. It was inevitable that players
would leave, and of course, for the fans, the ultimate barometer of loyalty to
the club was those who were willing to remain.
The initial departures were not
overly concerning, with Rhys McCabe, Mervan Celik and Gregg Wylde saying their
goodbyes for various reasons. However, when Charles Green’s consortium agreed a
£5.5M deal with Duff & Phelps, a mass exodus was initiated by, in
particular, Steven Naismith and Steven Whittaker, who refused to transfer their
contracts from the old Rangers company to the new one. Indeed, Naismith went so
far as to declare the club ‘dead’ which certainly did not endear him to his
(now) former supporters. As for the attention-seeking, sympathy-demanding
selfishness with complete lack of apology for either manager Ally McCoist or
the club’s fans, well let us just allow that to speak for itself along with the
club’s expensive loyalty to him during his two lengthy periods out injured. Not
to mention the total lack of consultation with McCoist:
            “It has been reported that a couple of
players have indicated they want to challenge the transfer of their contracts.
This is news to me. No player has spoken to me about it.”
He was by no means alone – a huge
raft of exits hit the club hard, with the likes of Allan McGregor, Kyle
Lafferty, Steven Davis and Sone Aluko all either refusing to transfer their
contracts, or letting their present one expire.
It all left a very bitter
aftertaste. Supporters knew a number of players would leave, but the manner of the
exodus was really rather unpleasant – while Davis and McGregor were at least 2
of those who did consult McCoist before departing, the sheer volume of players
who joined them was disturbing. Maurice Edu, Alejandro Bedoya, John Fleck,
Juan-Manuel Ortiz and Jamie Ness were just another 5 who decided either to wait
around for other clubs’ offers or just quit immediately. To their honourable
credit, Dorin Goian and Carlos Bocanegra only departed on loan which could see
a return. Unlikely but possible.
However, the above all
illustrates just how hard it hit the club when these valuable assets opted for
pastures new. Not only had Rangers lost a great number of high-quality playing
staff, but in the cases of Naismith and Whittaker, for example, the club
received no compensation. The former, being worth around £8M, the latter,
anything up to £2M. CEO Charles Green is fighting these and other cases via a
tribunal, but for now nothing has been received. So, not only had these players
departed by breaking their contracts, but Rangers’ received nothing for them.
So it was with bewilderment that
news broke recently that ’67’ players had launched legal action against the
club. Initial reports suggested the entire current playing staff plus players
previously contracted to the old company had signed up to this PFA legal suit,
headed by former Rangers player Fraser Wishart, which intended to sue the club
at an industrial tribunal. The nature of the action was initially unclear, but
it did emerge that at least 3 players, Sone Aluko, Kyle Lafferty and Jamie Ness
were filing for ‘constructive dismissal’. So, not only had these players
deserted their manager and fans, without compensation, but now it emerged they
intended to sue for ‘damages’.
Nigerian international Aluko
moved quickly to tweet his non-participation, citing he would investigate what
was taking place – 2 days later he ‘confirmed’ he was not part of the action,
had not initiated it, and is not:
            “…interested in slightest in any
claims/tribunals and any other scenario of that nature against anyone.”
As more reports emerged, Green
moved equally swiftly to clarify the situation. Yes, there was action being
taken, but it was not by 67 players. Green quoted ‘about 6’ players were part
of this plus a separate filing by the 3 aforementioned players (one of whom has
explicitly denied involvement). Furthermore, on investigation, the PFA have the
power to instigate class action like this without asking their clients. Anyone
listed within this must invoke their power
of veto to remove themselves from participation.
This does all raise 2 worrying
questions:
1: Exactly who are the players who are absolutely confirmed as taking
legal action against the club?
2: Why are the PFA initiating this action of their own volition?
It appears that no player was the
catalyst for this, and indeed the suit has emerged out of nowhere – so whose
idea was it and does the PFA even have the jurisdiction?
Even more curiously, we are
informed by Green that 3 players have raised the ‘constructive dismissal’ suit,
but what on earth is the agenda for the other 6?
It is all very well saying that
these individuals are taking Rangers to an industrial tribunal, but who decided
that? And is it the PFA themselves
who are going to the tribunal or are they just the body who represent the
players’ lawyers?
Green states:
            “Separately PFA
Scotland has raised an employment tribunal claim against the Club supposedly on
behalf of 67 unnamed players, alleging a failure to consult on the part of
oldco prior to the players’ contracts being transferred on June 14.”
The action being taken, according
to the CEO, is that the old company ‘failed to consult’. Presumably this means
the claim is that the old company did not ask the players if they wished to
transfer their contracts to the new one.
This turn of events goes beyond
the pale. And the bizarre. Put simply there are a number of players who remain
part of this legal case, players who ‘got their way’ and managed to leave the
club – without any compensation for Rangers; yet who appear to be willingly
taking part in class action against it. Talk about salt to the wound.
Green has dismissed the entire
episode as a ‘tactic’, an action by PFA to stop Rangers’ claiming compensation
for the departed players. But this is curious as well given it is the Scottish
PFA and none of these players moved to Scottish clubs – why would the PFA have
involvement over compensation claims against English (and European) clubs?
This action has raised way more
questions than answers, and appears extremely bitty and seedy, not to mention
political and unnecessary.
It is yet another unwanted piece
of nonsense in a sea of absurdity which has blighted Rangers since Craig Whyte
took charge.
However, on the bright side, at
least we win away from home now!