Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 28 August 2014

SFA urged to resolve futures of Gers stars

In limbo: Kyle Lafferty has been unable to feature for his new club, Swiss side Sion

The Scottish Football Association have been urged to act swiftly to help former Rangers players continue their careers elsewhere.

The SFA have been unable to process international clearance for the likes of Steven Naismith and Steven Davis, who exercised their right to leave the club under employment law when Sevco Scotland bought the assets of Rangers, following an objection from those in charge at Ibrox.

The matter is now in the hands of Fifa, who have written to Scotland's governing body seeking information.

One of the players, Northern Ireland intenational Kyle Lafferty, had been expected to make his competitive debut for Sion but the Swiss club did not include him in their squad for their victory over Grasshoppers.

Lawyer Margaret Gribbon, who represents seven of the players, has asked the SFA to move quickly to ensure they are able to relaunch their careers.

Gribbon said: “Following the refusal of the SFA to issue players registrations, the new clubs have all referred the matter to Fifa.

“Fifa have now written to the SFA in each case requesting reasons why the players' registrations were blocked.

“It remains entirely unclear the facts and matters upon which Rangers oldco and Rangers newco rely in order to support their position that the players acted in breach of contract. Presumably they have made their reasons known to the SFA and if so, these have not been shared with my law firm, Bridge Litigation, who represent the majority of the players.

“Fifa have given the SFA seven days to respond but it is hoped that given the straightforward nature of the request the SFA will be in a position to reply sooner.

“We remain confident that FIFA will grant ITC (International Transfer Clearance) enabling the players to continue playing football with their new clubs.”

Sevco chief executive Charles Green has argued that the players were in breach of contract when they joined other clubs.

Meanwhile, SPL clubs meet today to discuss their reaction to the decision to place the Rangers newco in the Third Division amid warnings that up to five of them could follow the Ibrox club into administration.

There remains scepticism among many SFL clubs that the Ibrox club will start off in the bottom tier. SPL clubs will be most keen to discover the accuracy of predictions of commercial losses resulting from the loss of Rangers. Most, if not all, contracts have an exit or renegotiation clause should either Old Firm teams be absent and the television deals are the biggest cause for concern.

Sky and ESPN were due to sign an £80m five-year deal this summer, although their existing £13million annual contract has a year left to run.

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