Rangers quartet join exodus

Steven Davis, Allan McGregor, Kyle Lafferty and Jamie Ness will not transfer to Rangers' newco club.

Last Updated: 26/06/12 at 22:58 Post Comment

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Allan McGregor, Steven Davis, Kyle Lafferty and Jamie Ness have joined the Ibrox exodus after declining to transfer their contracts to Charles Green's newco Rangers.

They joined Steven Naismith, Steven Whittaker, Sone Aluko and Rhys McCabe, who registered their objections before the start of this week.

A statement from lawyer Margaret Gribbon of Bridge Litigation on Tuesday night read: "Allan McGregor, Steven Davis, Jamie Ness and Kyle Lafferty have instructed PFA lawyers' Bridge Litigation UK to object to their transfer to the Rangers' newco."

Lee Wallace earlier pledged his future to the newco club, which is almost certain to start life outside the Clydesdale Bank Premier League.

But Wallace and Lee McCulloch are the only two players to have committed themselves publicly to staying at Ibrox and Green now faces the prospect of more players walking away, possibly without compensation.

The law firm's statement added: "The union's lawyers are already instructed in this matter for Rhys McCabe and Sone Aluko.

"Bridge Litigation UK has confirmed that letters of objection have been sent to the club along with requests to the SFA to release the players' registrations.

"Bridge Litigation UK have shared with the players the contents of legal guidance issued by the SFA last week on the issue of TUPE and player registration and which they state supports their legal view that an objection under TUPE amounts to a lawful termination of contract giving the club no entitlement to a claim for compensation."

Ms Gribbon added: "This has been an extremely difficult period for all the players and in the end their decisions were influenced largely by footballing considerations.

"SPL football appears highly unlikely and even First Division football cannot be guaranteed in light of comments made today by two First Division clubs.

"The players' commitment and loyalty to oldco Rangers cannot be questioned; they voluntarily took significant wage cuts in a genuine act of solidarity which ensured that none of the playing squad or club staff would lose their jobs.

"But for their contribution, it's likely that the club would not have survived until the end of the season.

"As professional footballers, the players' careers are relatively short lived and they are entitled to exercise basic employment rights the law affords to all employees in this country under the TUPE Regulations.

"I now expect the SFA and FIFA to interpret their rules and regulations in accordance with the TUPE legislation so that the players' registrations can be released without delay."

The news comes after six of the 12 SPL clubs stated they would oppose Green's application to take Rangers' place in the top flight.

And Raith have followed Falkirk in stating their objection to a deal which could see the club entering the Irn-Bru First Division instead of applying to join the Third.

Given the ongoing uncertainty, the decision of Wallace to stay was arguably more of a surprise than the others leaving.

Wallace said on www.rangersfc.co.uk: "When I arrived at Ibrox the support from the club, players and fans was fantastic.

"The fans showed great faith in us all during tough times and I still feel I have more to show them during the remainder of my contract.

"My partner is expecting our first baby soon and my priority is to my family.

"This gives me the incentive to improve my performance and ultimately win trophies."

Wallace signed a five-year contract when he joined from Hearts in August last year in a deal worth £1.5million.

However, the original Rangers company will go into liquidation with Hearts still to receive £800,000 and it is unclear whether Green's club will be forced to pay.

Wallace added: "My personal decision in no way condemns or judges those made by my fellow professionals as I believe each person has different circumstances and reasons which will determine the road they choose to travel at this particular time.

"I respect the decision taken by each individual player."

Green's Sevco consortium bought the assets and business of Rangers for £5.5million earlier this month after the club was consigned to liquidation when creditors rejected his offer.

The former Sheffield United chief executive threatened legal action for breach of contract against exiting players at the weekend but he adopted a less aggressive stance following talks with PFA Scotland on Monday, simply arguing they would not play for a bigger club than Rangers.

Although Green has claimed his company would be entitled to a transfer fee he is unable to stop players joining other clubs with FIFA likely to issue a temporary document backing the transfer if Green objects, before any potential arbitration hearing further down the line.

Green's case is further weakened by the fact that his club is not yet a member of the SFA.

Rangers players were due to report for pre-season training on Thursday but it is unclear how many will turn up at Murray Park other than McCulloch and Wallace.

The players and staff who have agreed to transfer their contracts are also due to receive their first pay packets from Sevco on the same day.

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