SPL: Clubs set new financial fair play rules at Hampden meeting

Scottish Premier League clubs have voted at Hampden not to introduce fixed punishments for clubs reforming as new companies known as 'newcos'.

Instead sanctions will be imposed on a case-by-case basis with the decision taken by all 12 member clubs.

Clubs have twice adjourned a vote on potential sanctions for newcos as they await clarification on Rangers' future.

Resolutions for late wage and tax payments were passed but a decision on voting changes has been delayed.

A proposal to change the majority needed for significant decisions from 11-1 to 9-3 is likely to be discussed at the SPL's AGM on 16 July.

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The fixed penalties were deemed obsolete and therefore withdrawn

Neil Doncaster SPL chief executive

The carried financial fair play vote will see a penalty for clubs going into administration of whichever is greater: 10 points or one third of the previous season's total.

But proposals for automatic sanctions for clubs that relaunch as newcos have not been passed. A 10-point penalty for two years and a 75% reduction in income from the league for three years had been considered as potential punishments.

Voting on financial issues had twice been delayed as Rangers' period of administration continued with no clear end in sight.

However, Charles Green's consortium has agreed a deal to buy the club and a company voluntary arrangement proposal is currently being considered by Rangers' creditors.

If approved, the Ibrox club will be able to exit administration but if the proposal is rejected, it is likely Green, who attended Wedneday's SPL meeting, would attempt to transfer Rangers' assets, including their share in the league to a newco.

SPL Resolutions

  • Minimum of 10 points deducted from any club entering administration
  • Extension of the sporting sanctions regime when SPL club's parent company enters administration
  • Updates and extensions to the definition of insolvency events to track changes in insolvency law
  • Requirement for clubs to pay players and HMRC on time and to report any failure to either
  • Specific sanctions for clubs who fail to pay players/HMRC on time

"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," said SPL chief executive Neil Doncaster.

"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 has gone to creditors and on that basis we are not anticipating a newco proposal to come forward.

"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."

The clubs meeting at Hampden also agreed to new rules over what happens to clubs who fail to pay players or HM Revenue and Customs on time.

"The obligation to pay players on time will now be a disciplinary manner," added Doncaster.

"And, if clubs do not keep up to date with their PAYE and NIC, they will be made subject to a player registration embargo until they are up to date.

"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 and 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."