SPFL urges clubs to reject Rangers’ resolution in dossier response

The SPFL has written to member clubs urging them to vote against Rangers’ resolution for an independent inquiry into the process to end the season.

Rangers, Hearts and Stranraer have forced an EGM on Tuesday at which clubs will vote, with 75% support needed.

The league has also moved to rebut several claims made in a dossier released by the Ibrox club on Thursday.

Among those is the assertion that clubs were not told of a potential £10m liability to sponsors and broadcasters.

The letter is signed by seven of the nine SPFL board members – but not chief executive Neil Doncaster or Rangers managing director Stewart Robertson.

Peter Davidson of Montrose – who is a full board member but has no voting rights – is also a signatory.

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In the letter, the SPFL says it has a “duty to respond… on behalf of Scottish football”.

It also questions why Robertson – having been on the board in season 2017-18 and again since last summer – has not spoken out before.

“Surely if things were so bad, so dysfunctional, he had a clear and compelling duty to speak out before now?” is says.

The letter states that the SPFL has been “asked by a number of clubs” if action will be taken over “gross breaches of confidentiality” in the Rangers dossier. It says the issue will be returned to after the EGM.

What does the SPFL say about the dossier?

On the claim £10m of potential liabilities were not disclosed…

The SPFL says clubs “well understood” that the curtailment of the Scottish Premiership season could lead to claims being made.

It says that detailed legal advice was received and that analysing that and making recommendations to clubs is a “fundamental part” of the board’s role, and that it would be “entirely inappropriate” and “against the interest of every club” to make that information public.

“We simply cannot understand why anyone would wish to talk up the possibility of claims and, in doing so, prejudice the position of every single SPFL member club,” reads the letter.

The league insists that any potential claim “does not result in any way” from the vote to allow the board to end the Premiership season early and reiterated that no decision on that has yet been taken. Those claims, it says, “can only ever be conjecture at this stage”.

Furthermore, it says there is “no question” of the board failing to inform clubs of a potential £10m liability.

“That was not reported to you because it is simply not the case,” the letter reads. “The central complaint of Rangers is simply wrong and is based on a complete misunderstanding of the situation.”

On the claim clubs were erroneously told they could only receive cash by voting for the SPFL resolution…

The letter repeats the SPFL’s claim that the only way of making fee payments to lower-league clubs was to end the Championship, League One and League Two seasons. Again, it references issues with league positions changing and clubs potentially needing to repay prize money.

“Those who continue to suggest that there were other, ‘simpler’ means are being either economical with the truth or are once again demonstrating a lamentable lack of understanding of the current reality of Scottish football,” it adds.

On the claim Aberdeen negotiated a concession – before voting – that top-flight clubs would be consulted before the SPFL board called the Premiership…

The letter says this is “categorically false” and that “no commitment was made to any club” other than those given in a legal briefing note sent to all 42.

The SPFL says Aberdeen were “seeking such a commitment” on 10 April but made it clear, by the time of the league’s board meeting later that day, they did not wish for that to be taken to the board.

On the claim SPFL legal advisor Rod McKenzie issued four “cease and desist” requests to Rangers chairman Donald Park on 10 and 11 April, sparking his ‘Rangers will not be bullied into silence’ statement…

The SPFL says that, in a phone call on 10 April, Park “made a very serious allegation and threat to act in a particular way” to Doncaster – one which has been “entirely unsupported by any evidence, either then or since”.

The letter adds: “The allegation was so serious and defamatory that Rod McKenzie immediately sought a commitment from the Rangers company secretary that it would not be repeated. This was a wholly appropriate and proportionate legal response to an entirely unfounded and damaging allegation. On no conceivable basis could this be considered as ‘bullying Rangers into silence’.”

On the claim McKenzie offered no meaningful assistance in drafting a members’ resolution that would be effective…

The SPFL reiterated its stance that it had received “very clear legal advice” that the resolution submitted by Rangers, Hearts and Inverness Caledonian Thistle was not effective.

It says McKenzie “engaged actively” with Rangers’ company secretary but that the “essence of the resolution… remained ineffective throughout”. The letter adds that Rangers could consult a QC should they disagree, but says they declined to do so.

On the claim the SPFL and Scottish FA wrote to Uefa on 4 April saying “the vast majority” of SPFL clubs are calling for curtailment of the campaign…

The SPFL says this is correct and was “based on feedback from clubs and club representatives on the SPFL board”.

It adds: “It was an honest and open assessment of what the vast majority of SPFL clubs were saying at that time. Part of the job of the chief executive is to gauge the views of clubs on important issues.”

The SPFL also pointed towards the fact that more than 80% of clubs voted in favour of ending the lower-league season.

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