GREEN THREATENS LEGAL ACTION
Rangers chief executive Charles Green has threatened legal action against any players who refuse to transfer their contracts to his new company and any clubs who attempt to sign those players.
Steven Naismith and Steven Whittaker both announced on Sunday their objections to transferring their contracts to newco Rangers and confirmed they will not report back to Murray Park for training this week and consider themselves free to find new clubs.
Green responded by reiterating previous warnings that he will challenge any attempts by players to walk away from his club for nothing.
He said in a statement: "It is a great pity that certain players have chosen this time to attempt to tear up their contracts and walk away from the club.
"The club is facing massive challenges in terms of its league status and the last thing the fans want to see is a dispute between the club and players.
"However, it appears that is the route several players are choosing. I can assure those players and clubs who may be interested in signing them that Rangers will seek damages for breach of contract and for inducement to break contracts."
Green's Sevco consortium completed the purchase of the business and assets of Rangers for £5.5million after failure to secure a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) to exit administration consigned the club to liquidation.
His new company now faces a battle to play in the Scottish Premier League next season, with all 12 clubs set to vote on the issue on July 4, with Hearts and Dundee United having already indicated they will reject Rangers' bid.
Both Naismith and Whittaker cited concerns over their careers if forced to drop down the divisions as a contributing factor when making the decision to object to transferring their contracts to the newco.
However, Green confirmed Rangers have informed the Scottish Football Association on Sunday of their intention to challenge those actions.
He added: ''The SFA has been considering the issue and has issued a preliminary guidance note on registration issues. That note has made it clear that it is open to the club to challenge the actions of the players.
"Our lawyers have written to the SFA today intimating that we do challenge the actions of the players and explaining why that is.
"They have also asked that the SFA confirm how it proposes to resolve the dispute between the players and club.
"We have no wish to go to court on these matters but the players involved, their agents and clubs who may be pursuing these players should be in no doubt that we will do whatever it takes to protect the club's interests.
"As Ally McCoist said yesterday the players should be honest about their intentions.
"When the players agreed to take wage cuts earlier this year they renegotiated their contracts to allow them to leave for reduced values.
"That was a sensible quid pro quo and meant that the club would still get some transfer value for them should they leave.
"What is happening now is that the players want to leave for nothing, thereby denying the club any transfer value at all.
"At the same time, players who are ready to breach their contracts want to
secure handsome signing on fees for other clubs, while Rangers get nothing.''
Naismith told a media conference on Sunday that a lack of contact from Green and information about the investors behind the consortium also contributed to his decision.
Green said: ''I have heard criticism from one of the players today that I had not been in contact. That is surprising since his agent was in my office on Friday for a meeting with both me and the manager.
"I have spoken to the Rangers staff now on a number of occasions and at staff
meetings. No players were present at these meetings and they have all been on holiday.
"The players' actions are all the more breathtaking given that virtually everyone else employed at the club has got on with the job since the CVA was refused and a new company had to be formed.
"Of course, they had concerns but after asking all the relevant questions it was business as usual. That applies to the groundsmen, the tea ladies, the office staff and everyone else who make Rangers tick.
"Rangers is still Rangers and players, above all, should know that.''
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