PFA Scotland dismayed with Rangers executive
Wednesday 04 July
PFA Scotland has strongly criticised Rangers new executive chief Charles Green, who has warned other clubs in the United Kingdom not to sign players who have opted to leave Rangers. Ten players have refused to have their contracts switched from the old Rangers to the newco consortium of Charles Green.
Three of those players have already found a new club: Steven Whittaker is set to sign at Norwich City (England), Kyle Lafferty has agreed to join FC Sion (Switzerland) and Jamie Ness will move to Stoke City (England). Steven Naismith, Allan McGregor, Steven Davis, Rhys McCabe, John Fleck, José Manuel Ortiz and Sone Aluko have also all declined to have their contracts shifted.
PFA Scotland is of the opinion that the players are free agents if they want to object to having their contract transferred to the new Rangers club. PFA Scotland refers to the Transfer of Undertaking (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (‘TUPE’) which affords every employee the statutory right to object the transfer, and leaving him with no contract, no dismissal and no right to compensation from either oldco or newco.
But Green has vowed to fight for transfer money. He has confirmed that he has written to various clubs warning them to stay away from players who have opted to leave Rangers.
PFA Scotland stated: ‘The players’ union understands that Mr Green has written to all clubs in the English Premier League and Championship alleging that our members - who have exercised their legal right not to be employed by Sevco Scotland Ltd (newco) - have acted in breach of contract. PFA Scotland will shortly be writing to all clubs outlining our Solicitor’s legal view on this matter and sharing with them legal guidance issued by the Scottish FA which we believe supports the Players’ position.’
‘The Players Union is dismayed that attempts are being made to prevent our members from playing professional football simply because they have exercised their legal right not to transfer to newco.’
PFA Scotland president and FIFPro Division Europe board member Tony Higgins added: ‘I haven’t spoken to a single Employment or Sports Solicitor who agrees with Mr Green’s interpretation of the law. Our members are being advised by our employment specialists, Brian Napier QC and Wil Van Megen, Head of Legal Department at FIFPro. We are supremely confident that under TUPE and European Law on basic principles of freedom of movement, our members are entitled to sign for new clubs.’
PFA Scotland’s Lawyer, Margaret Gribbon of Bridge Litigation who acts on behalf of the majority of the objectors said: ‘It is newco who have in actual fact acted unlawfully by failing to inform and consult with Rangers players prior to the TUPE transfer. Newco has never employed the Players or held their registration, yet they believe they are entitled to prevent the Scottish FA from releasing the Players’ registrations to the new company. Newco is not a member of any football body in Scotland and it is unclear what league they will be playing in at the start of the season.’
‘It is simply not credible therefore for Mr Green to accuse the players of being motivated by financial gain. The Players’ reasons for leaving are purely professional and Mr Green would not have had a club to buy had it not been for their salary sacrifices. We do not consider that the newco’s allegation of breach of contract will stand up to scrutiny and so in the event of the Players’ registrations not being issued to a new club, we will look to FIFA and/or the Court of Session for a speedy remedy.’
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