Talks critical to Rangers' future as search for compromise resumes


Crunch discussions will take place over the next 48 hours in an attempt to resolve the two outstanding disputes that still threaten to delay the start of Rangers’ season.

The Ibrox club reluctantly agreed to accept a delayed transfer embargo from the SFA last Friday, but it has since emerged that significant sticking points remain before the multi-party agreement required to get the club back into competitive action can be finalised.

As well as the SFA, the SPL, SFL, oldco Rangers and newco Rangers must all sign off on the deal. The two league bodies will meet on Tuesday to discuss an attempt by the top flight to buy the media rights for Rangers matches in the Third Division.

Prize possession: Ally McCoist and newco Rangers could lose trophies

Prize possession: Ally McCoist and newco Rangers could lose trophies

The SPL insist including the Ibrox outfit in their portfolio is necessary to secure a suitable television deal — and maintain the £2million annual payment they make to the lower leagues — but the SFL have so far refused to sell.


The other issue centres on newco Rangers’ wish for the SPL to drop its investigation into alleged dual contracts during the period in which the oldco used Employee Benefit Trusts.

It is understood the SPL will not back down, which leaves the possibility of chief executive Charles Green and the Ibrox board being forced on to a direct collision course with manager Ally McCoist.

The Rangers boss insisted at the  weekend that he would ‘not be accepting any talk of stripping the club of titles’, which would be one possible sanction should the club be found guilty by an  independent commission.

The club are currently refusing to sign up with that threat hanging over them, but it remains to be seen how McCoist — who strongly feels his club has suffered enough — would react should Green ultimately agree to be bound by the commission’s verdict in return for SPL approval to play.

Rangers are due to play their first match of their new season against Brechin City in the Ramsdens Cup this Sunday, but that fixture could be in danger unless  agreement is reached on both fronts — especially as the SPL still hold the  registrations of the Ibrox players.

Drop: Rangers will play in division three

Drop: Rangers will play in division three

‘It’s all or nothing here,’ said one source. ‘There is no halfway house. There is either an agreement between all five parties or there isn’t.’

The five-party agreement was put in place to try and avoid any loose ends surrounding the newco’s return to football, but it has instead become mired in complexities.

The SFL have been inviting bids for a package to screen up to 25 Rangers games in the coming  season, but there is a question mark over whether they actually have  ownership of the rights. Some insist that only happens when the Ibrox club formally becomes a member of the SFL, which requires the SPL and the rest of the  parties to sign off on the agreement.

The Catch 22 situation underlines the urgent need for compromise in the coming days, but it seems the SPL are adamant they need to strike a financial deal to take control of the Rangers media rights — despite the newco being barred from  re-entering the top-flight.

Otherwise, they fear suitable broadcast deals may not be forthcoming,  increasing the risk of financial casualties among SPL clubs and potentially leaving them unable to fulfil  the £2million-per-year ‘settlement agreement’ with the SFL that was put in place after the 1998 breakaway.

Helping hand: Controversial agent Paul Stretford is assisting Rangers

Helping hand: Controversial agent Paul Stretford is assisting Rangers

‘We will look at the options we have  on Monday and  Tuesday,’ said SFL chief executive David Longmuir.

‘If the SPL happen to be one of the  bidders we will assess that as well. They are at liberty to pitch to us as anyone else. I am comfortable that we will get there this week.’

The issue surrounding the EBT  investigation could be even more  problematic, with the SPL thought to feel they have precious little room for  manoeuvre. Among other factors,  dropping any prosecution against the Ibrox club would leave them in an extremely awkward position if evidence of EBT use came to light at another SPL club.

The top-flight board are due to discuss the investigation on August 10 and want to hand their findings over to an independent commission, headed by a leading legal  figure. That body would then spend a number of weeks deciding if Rangers were guilty and what sanctions would be  appropriate. It is far from certain that a punishment as severe as a stripping of titles would be the outcome.

McCoist also rounded on the SFA in a statement issued on Saturday morning, revealing he had to walk out of a meeting last week as he could not support the  sanctions being proposed.

The Ibrox boss had strongly resisted the 12-month transfer embargo, which would start on September 1 and give him only the rest of the current window to sign players for the next 18 months.

Rangers’ rush to staff up is on hold until the outstanding issues are resolved and the club formally returns to football.

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