In the last month or so HMRC have won and lost two different battles which are likely to change the landscape of football insolvency.
The High Court rejected HMRC’s attempt to get the ‘football creditors rule’ abolished. This means that football clubs and players continue to get preferential financial treatment when a football club goes bust.
In the wake of Glasgow Rangers going into Administration and the exit route of the CVA being rejected by HMRC, the company which owned the club has been liquidated.
Liquidation means the end to a club that was founded in 1899.
Whether Rangers can continue to play in the SPL next season depends on whether other SPL teams agree to grant them entry to the league, which at this point in time looks doubtful. A number of SPL clubs have publically announced that they will vote against Rangers re-joining the SPL.
So who are the winners? It would appear that there are no winners.
The SPL will be less competitive, resulting in lower TV revenues, attendances and making it harder to attract top players. It is only a matter of time before other Scottish football clubs face the same fate as Rangers.
Meanwhile, the biggest losers are the fans who have spent significant sums of money following their beloved team for years and years.
It also makes you think what is written into the players contracts if Rangers can’t play in the SPL. Will TUPE apply or can the players just walk? Will this lead to contractual claims against the new company?
There are many unanswered questions, but the point remains that something needs to be done about football finances, and quickly.