ArabTRUST statement: Preserve sporting integrity without fear over Rangers issue


[media-credit name=”© Liam McFadden | Scotzine” align=”aligncenter” width=”640″][/media-credit]

In a statement published on the trust’s official website, it read: “With the SPL meeting to discuss proposed new financial fair play rules scheduled for 30th May and the related ongoing uncertainty over whether a newco application may be received in the possible event of a Rangers liquidation, there remains a healthy debate amongst supporters about attempting to influence any decision which the Club may face in this regard, with many threatening not to renew season tickets and others seeking clarification on certain issues.

“ArabTRUST has continued its dialogue with the Club on these issues and this statement has been prepared to maintain the lines of communication to Dundee United supporters with regards to the situation and its potential impacts.

“We fully understand the powerful arguments in favour of sporting integrity when it comes to dealing with an application for re-admission to the SPL from a newco, should that situation arise. The club has been made well aware of the strength of feeling amongst supporters on this issue. We have been assured that these factors will be taken into account in any decision facing the Club.”

The trust is fully aware of the financial implications of the vote and in what happens to Rangers, but they have set out to correct what they call as ‘ambiguous information’.

They added: “Additionally, it should be understood that the United board must also take into account the financial well being of the club in any such decision.

“In this regard it is important to correct some ambiguous information regarding the financial consequences in order to allow an informed and balanced opinion to be reached.

“The club has four main budgeted income streams – season ticket sales, gate income, SPL distributions and commercial income. This year, the club should receive some £1.4m in respect of SPL distributions. The SPL funds derive from all of the commercial contracts entered into by the centre, the largest one of which, the SKY/ESPN TV deal, accounts for almost 80% of the total funds distributed.

“If Rangers were not in the SPL, the Club stands to lose gate and commercial income of approx £300k. For many of us, this is a price worth paying to preserve sporting integrity. Indeed, there is a strong argument that this amount could be recouped from the fruits of a more competitive league and a more equitable distribution of SPL monies. It is therefore misleading for some reports to suggest that SPL clubs are dependent on this source of gate income to survive.

Rather than seeing the loss of a Rangers away support as a major factor in the matter, the trust believe that the SKY TV deal would have a major effect on the vote.

They continued: “Of far greater consequence however, is the potential impact on the total amount of centrally distributed SPL revenues. The situation with the SKY contract and the clause apparently stipulating four Old Firm games has been widely reported. The new contract has not yet been signed. If SKY decides not to renew altogether, as some reports suggest, it follows that the distribution to clubs would be reduced by some 80%. Based on this year’s figures, instead of receiving circa £1.4m, Dundee United would receive something like £300k – a reduction of £1.1m. Added to the shortfall in gate income, the Club would stand to lose some £1.4m, or 30% of turnover. For many other clubs, the relative reduction in turnover would be even greater.

“A reduction in income of this sort of magnitude would have a serious impact on some clubs’ ability to continue trading without drastic action being taken, assuming this is even possible for some in the time available.

“Even if the contract was renewed, but at a lesser value, it will be seen that any significant reduction will also have a serious impact.”

The trust then looked at recent events with the likes of Sandy Jardine and others associated with Rangers Football Club making veiled threats towards the whole of Scottish football.

“There is little doubt that over the last few weeks, the attitude amongst many supporters has hardened against the re-admission of a Rangers newco to the SPL. This has been due, in large part, to the damning report issued by the SFA and also to what many regard as the unapologetic attitude and threatening, bully boy antics of certain individuals associated with them.

“However, it remains incongruous that in denying a re-admission, many completely innocent clubs may, in relative terms, be punishing themselves much more than the guilty party. This defies natural justice and, given such circumstances, it is understandable that some are reluctant to call for a “no” vote.

“It is imperative therefore that the situation with SKY is clarified as a matter of urgency. As a national broadcaster they should be called upon to confirm their ongoing commitment to the SPL as a whole and not just appear to give the impression that their interest is solely based on the provision of four Old Firm games per season. This is additionally important given the Rangers management teams’ assertions that the transfer ban for season 2012/13 could cause them to finish in the bottom six of the SPL or indeed suffer relegation.

“In the event of a vote on a newco application to the SPL, clubs must be able to vote on the grounds of sporting integrity alone, without the fear of the unknown preserving the membership of a club which has been found guilty of such serious breaches that the SFA considered terminating its membership.”

While many supporters are holding off on renewing their season tickets, as they await news or judgement on the Rangers issue, the ArabTRUST have called on the fans to support the club and to renew.

“We will maintain our regular communications with the Dundee United Board in order that they continue to understand the views of their supporters in this crucial matter for the Club and Scottish football. In the meantime, we would urge all Dundee United supporters to focus on supporting their club in the first instance, particularly by renewing or buying season tickets for 2012/13, to help ensure that revenues from this vital income stream are not impacted by the fall out of mismanagement at another club.”


About Author


Andy Muirhead is the Editor of Scotzine and the Scottish Football fanzine FITBA. He is the Scottish Football columnist for The Morning Star and has written for a number of other publications including ESPN, Huffington Post UK, BT Life's a Pitch and has had his work featured in the Daily Record, The Scotsman and the Daily Mail.

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