Just when you thought things at Rangers couldn’t get anymore bizarre, it seems that Rangers will have to pay Newcastle United £500,000 if they secure promotion to the Scottish Premiership this season.
With Rangers’ only hope of promotion to the Scottish top flight through the playoffs after Hearts romped away with the title, it means that even if they secure a much coveted place in the league above they will be out-of-pocket straight away.
During the January transfer window, Rangers signed five players on loan from Newcastle United – Gael Bigirimana, Haris Vuckic, Kevin Mbabu, Remie Streete and Shane Ferguson – only Vuckic has played a part in Rangers’ second half of the season with the others all injured. Three of which have never graced the Ibrox turf with their presence .
A statement to the London Stock Exchange this morning by interim Chairman Paul Murray said: “During the January 2015 transfer window, the Club loaned five players from Newcastle United. As part of those contracts, should the Club gain promotion in season 2014/15, either directly or via the play-off method, the Club will be liable to pay a total of £500,000 to Newcastle United Football Company Limited.”
Newcastle players Haris Vuckic, Swiss defender Kevin Mbabu, English defender Remie Streete, Northern Ireland cap Shane Ferguson and England Under-20 midfielder Gael Bigirimana all joined the Ibrox club in January.
All five were signed without the Rangers medical staff putting them through their paces – although it is not known if the medicals were shelved due to costs that would be incurred or another reason.
If Rangers manage to secure second place in the Championship then they will be due £342,000. However two payment have already been made to the club from the SPFL – £60,000 in August and £30,000 paid out in December. A further £20,000 will be due in April and the remaining balance of £232,000 to be paid out in August 2015.
So if Rangers are indeed promoted then their prize money will be wiped out straight away with a further £268,000 to paid from their own coffers.
Loan agreement fees are nothing new in the modern game, many clubs around Europe loan their players for a set fee on top of the player’s wages being part paid or fully covered.
It is certainly a great deal for Newcastle United, but not one for Rangers.
UPDATE: £250,000 of the prize money owed to Rangers for this season has been withheld by the SPFL as of December 2014 – due to the club’s liability in respect of multiple rule breaches of SPL and Scottish FA rules.