We’ve written before on the troubled home of Maurice Edu, Alejandro Bedoya, and Carlos Bocanegra before; administration, a ten-point deduction, a lifetime ban for an owner, and a ban from European competition. An end may be on the horizon, and it comes in the form of another American: businessman Bill Miller.
When announcing details of his £11.2m offer for Rangers last month, Miller said he would seek guarantees from the Scottish Premier Leagueand Scottish Football Association that no further football penalties would be imposed on the club if he took over. Rangers were deducted 10 points by the SPL when they entered administration and subsequently hit with a 12-month transfer embargo by the SFA for bringing the game into disrepute. Miller’s offer is controversial because it will mean the creation of a new Rangers company, or “newco”, to play in the SPL. Such a prospect has already triggered a political backlash from opposition supporters, while SPL clubs are due to discuss a new financial fair play model on Monday. If Miller succeeds with his offer, Rangers will already suffer a three-year European ban because of Uefa rules relating to newco clubs.
Paul Clark, Rangers’ joint administrator, said: “There is no doubt that, under Mr Miller’s plan, the club that will continue to play will be a newco. It will need the football authorities to approve that. That is one of things Mr Miller has been discussing for some time. That’s where he required his comfort prior to his bid being made unconditional. I wasn’t involved in all of the discussions and it is not appropriate for me to comment what I do know. But what I understand is Mr Miller has sufficient comfort now that he felt able to go unconditional. As a result, we were pleased to accept his bid.”
Senior Rangers players are under the belief they can move their existing contracts to the newco if they so choose. Otherwise, they could leave for free this summer. Miller’s bid is not conditional on the receipt of the Rangers owner Craig Whyte’s 85% stake in the club, unlike that of the rival Blue Knights consortium. The 65-year-old American says he will look to form a company voluntary arrangement with Rangers’ creditors via the old business. Such a prospect is complicated by the key positions of both Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs and the football finance firm Ticketus after Whyte sold on 100,000 future season tickets worth £24m to fund his takeover of Rangers last May.Clark’s partner, David Whitehouse, said: “We’ve already been in consultation with largest creditor, HMRC and they’re fully aware of and are supportive of the bid.”
Most notably, the plan would allow Rangers to avoid administration (as football clubs usually do).
A new holding company will be formed and take on the assets of the club. Eventually, the old company will be merged into the new one (in part for the sake of appeasing fans), although it’s not certain if player contracts will transfer over:
In normal corporate takeovers, contracts are transferred along with the assets, and their rights are protected by the Transfer of Undertakings and Protection of Employment (TUPE) law, which means the original terms must be honoured. Yet PFA Scotland believes in the newco scenario, players are entitled to decide they don’t want their registrations transferred and can walk away for nothing.
Look, it’s all a bit technical, but the important thing is that the company’s future is secure.
Who is Bill Miller, you ask? In a past life, he was the 1964 Republican nominee for vice president. (Actually, that was another William Miller.) He’s a trucking magnate from Tennessee. (You can get some stylin’ Miller Industries screensavers here!) According to Businessweek, he was involved in an ill-fated attempt at forming an auto racing circuit about a decade ago. Other than that, there isn’t a lot on him on the Internet.