SPL decide against fixed penalty for newco clubs


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The Independent Football

The Scottish Premier League have backed off from imposing a fixed penalty on Rangers if the Ibrox club remain in the SPL as a newco.

All 12 SPL clubs met today at Hampden to consider a number of different financial fair play proposals, one of which pertains directly to Charles Green's Rangers, who are trying to come out of administration via a Company Voluntary Agreement (CVA) but who will use the newco route if that is unsuccessful.

A proposed rule change would have seen clubs who undergo an "insolvency transfer" docked 10 points for two seasons and lose 75% of their income for three years.

However, after a resolution was passed which means the decision on admitting a newco club, formerly taken by the six-man SPL board, would be made by all clubs, SPL chief executive Neil Doncaster described the fixed penalty as "not appropriate."

He said: "With the change in rules meaning that any application for a share transfer would now be considered by the clubs in a general meeting rather than the board, a fixed penalty is not appropriate.

"The clubs have decided that, should they be in a situation in future where they were considering an application for the transfer of share to a newco, it would be on the basis that the members could impose a sanction proportionate to the individual circumstances.

"So the fixed penalties were deemed obsolete and therefore withdrawn.

"But I think it is important to stress that there is no newco application for us (to consider).

"There is a CVA proposal which have gone to creditors and on that basis we are not anticipating a newco proposal to come forward."

Doncaster, who confirmed Green was present, claims the most significant points to come out of the meeting, were the "very heavy sanctions for clubs going into administration in the future".

Clubs who enter administration will lose at least 10 points - cut from the original proposal of 15 - or a third of their previous season's tally, whichever is greater.

Clubs will also be obliged pay their players and Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs on time and be subject to sanctions if they fail to do so.

"In most instances today's rules are likely to see any sporting sanction for going into administration seriously increased from the 10 points at the moment and that's a big change," said Doncaster.

"Equally, the obligation to pay players on time which will now be a disciplinary manner.

"An obligation to pay the taxman on time with a player registration embargo automatically coming in if there is any failure - those are big changes that demonstrate very clearly how serious the clubs are that clubs do live within their means.

"It was a really good discussion today and I think the clubs should be congratulated for biting the bullet and agreeing a tougher regime in terms of financial fair play, insisting the clubs do live within their means and punishing proportionately if they fail to do that.

"That is a very bold step they have taken."

It was a day of some clarity as a vote on the proposals had previously been adjourned twice.

However, and significantly, the resolution to amend SPL voting rules to an 9-3 in all cases was adjourned to the SPL's Annual General Meeting on 16 July.

Currently there is an 11-1 majority needed for major reform which has traditionally favoured the Old Firm clubs.

PFA Scotland welcomed the new SPL rules relating to paying players on time.

Hearts players received late payment of wages on a number of occasions last season.

PFA Scotland chief executive Fraser Wishart said: "In recent months we have had high profile situations where players have not received their salaries on time.

"This is, of course, unacceptable, but in previous cases, however, the clubs were not in breach of any SPL rules unless it failed to follow a direction to pay the players made by the SPL at a specially convened hearing.

"The new SPL regulations approved today show that the SPL treat non-payment of salaries with the utmost seriousness and we welcome today's outcome.

"A recent agreement between world players' union FIFPro, Uefa, the EPFL and ECA mean that player contracts now have to adhere to minimum standards and we look forward to further discussions with the SPL aimed at a collective bargaining agreement.

"These new regulations are an important first step towards such an agreement."