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SPFL asks clubs to vote against calls for inquiry

The league body issues a lengthy rebuttal to allegations made in a dossier Rangers sent to clubs.

The SPFL has written a letter to member clubs asking them to vote against Rangers’ resolution for another inquiry into the ending of the lower league season.

Clubs will vote on the matter at an EGM – which has been forced by the Ibrox club, Hearts and Stranraer – on Tuesday.

The league body has issued a lengthy rebuttal of a number of allegations made in a dossier Rangers sent to clubs on Thursday.

A number of directors insisted they had “complete confidence” in chief executive Neil Doncaster and legal advisor Rod McKenzie, both of whom Rangers want suspended.

The Ibrox club’s managing director Stewart Robertson had claimed clubs had been “railroaded” down a particular path.

The SPFL’s letter stated it was “enormously frustrating to see one of our number launch baseless, damaging and self-serving attacks”.

It added: “Every one of us has sat alongside Stewart Robertson and been privy to the information and procedures of the SPFL board. If anything had been untoward, we would have addressed it at the time.

“Having served on the board for season 2017/18 and again since July 2019, if he actually believed these serious, wide-ranging and numerous claims, why has it taken him until now, just five days before Rangers’ resolution comes before the EGM, to make them public?

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

The letter then went on to address a number of claims made in Rangers’ document:

  • Rangers’ assertion that clubs were not warned of a potential £10m in claims from broadcasters and sponsors if the season was called was “simply wrong and is based on a complete misunderstanding of the situation”. The board members added: “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. What those behind the ‘Rangers dossier’ have failed to appreciate is that the potential for any claims against the SPFL does not result in any way from a decision by the members to permit the board to bring an end to the Premiership competition.”
  • Making payments based on final standings was described as “the only realistic and practical way” of lower-league clubs getting substantial money despite the “erroneous claims in the Rangers dossier”. The letter adds: “Those who continue to suggest that there were other ‘simpler’ means of getting money into clubs’ hands are being either economical with the truth or are once again demonstrating a lamentable lack of understanding of the current reality of Scottish football.”
  • Claims that Aberdeen negotiated a concession from Doncaster that Premiership clubs would be consulted prior to the board making a decision on the top-flight were dismissed as “categorically false”.
  • McKenzie making four ‘cease and desist’ requests to Rangers chairman Douglas Park was described as a “wholly appropriate and proportionate” legal response to “serious and defamatory” accusations levelled against Doncaster and a threat to act in a particular way. The letter adds: “It is noteworthy that there is not a shred of evidence in the so-called dossier to support the allegation made or to justify the threat.”
  • The letter claims McKenzie “engaged actively” over Rangers’ alternative resolution and offered to seek a second opinion from a QC but the “essence of the resolution sought by Rangers remained ineffective throughout”.
  • A letter sent to UEFA claiming that the vast majority of clubs wanted to end the season was described as an honest assessment of what clubs were saying. “The fact that over 80 per cent of SPFL clubs voted in favour of the directors resolution underlines that the assessment of Neil Doncaster and Ian Maxwell was accurate,” the letter adds.

The board members added that they would address to the “gross breaches of confidentiality” in the Rangers document at a later date.