As the future of Rangers Football Club continues to remain shrouded in uncertainty, the Ibrox club face several threats to their survival.
Rangers challenged the punishment handed down to them, by an independent panel commissioned to examine their case (accusing them of “bringing the game into disrepute”), at a Civil Court, and won. However, the Ibrox club may very well have proverbially shot themselves in the foot. In saying this, depending on the interpretation of the rules, they may have, in fact, fatally shot themselves in the head.
FIFA do not look favourably upon clubs who take footballing matters to Civil Courts, and they will expect the Scottish Football Association to punish Rangers accordingly.
Also, the judge at the court did not find Rangers to be innocent of any wrongdoing. In fact, he agreed with the SFA panel’s verdict of “guilty”. The court merely decided that a new panel at Hampden must meet to decide an applicable punishment.
This leaves the panel with a simple choice. Rangers Football Club are guilty of bringing the game into disrepute, and must be punished for this offence.
The panel will decide whether to increase or decrease their punishment, as the twelve month transfer embargo was found not to be an applicable sanction.
Three of the most likely options available to the panel are as follows;
1. To ban Rangers FC from the Scottish Cup for either one, or a number of seasons.
2. To withdraw the club’s SFA licence
3. To expel Rangers Football Club from the Association.
Number one would have, largely, very little affect on the future of Rangers.
Number two would certainly have consequences, but exactly what those may be is debatable.
Number three is the most severe punishment possible, and would ban the club from competing in professional Scottish Football, essentially forcing the club to liquidate it’s current form, losing their one hundred and forty year history in the process.
Now, it was reported the other day that Rangers would not require an SFA licence to compete in the SPL.
However, the SPL rules state, “A2.5.1 – A Club participating in the League must be a member of the SFA.”
In light of this, I took a chance and proceeded to ask Stewart Regan, the Chief Executive of the SFA, the following question on Twitter tonight:
“@Stewart Regan While Rangers don’t need a sfa licence to play in the SPL, do you know if they need to be “full” members of the association to?”
Mr Regan, to his credit, did answer many questions from supporters of several clubs tonight, and replied to my query with one word, “@MaleysBhoys Yes”.
Now, this answer means one of two things. It is likely simple confirmation of the fact that they need to be full members of the association to compete in the Scottish Premier League, that or it is merely affirmation that he knows the answer to the question.
I then proceeded to ask what I thought was an obvious and critical follow up question:
“@StewartRegan so if a club has it’s licence revoked, can they still remain full members of the football assocation?”
Sadly, I did not receive an answer.
Perhaps Mr Regan does not know, or perhaps this is a question for legal teams to mull over, but I doubt both of these.
Personally, I’m sure Mr Regan knows the answer to this question. Whether he did not answer it because he did not see the question, or because he did not want to confirm the suspicions of many Scottish Football fans is debatable.
Put simply, if the withdrawal of Rangers SFA licence stops them from being regarded as FULL members of the Scottish Football Association, they cannot compete in the Scottish Premier League, or any of the leagues below it, in their current form.
This action would force the liquidation of Rangers Football Club 1872, and presumably lead to the creation of a NewCo (RFC 2012). This action would be the proverbial headshot.