Who can forget the forthright statement issued by the Board of Rangers International Football Club on 28 April?
The statement boldly proclaimed that they had
“…today informed the SPFL of their intention that Rangers season ticket holders will not be charged to attend the play off matches at Ibrox”
Note the language that is used: “informed“, and “intention“…
Not “asked if it would be OK to do this given the wording of the rules and the desirability of engaging with the governing body in a sensible way“.
The statement continued in ‘strident’ fashion:
“It is fundamentally wrong to ask supporters to pay for season tickets and then, at the end of the campaign, expect them to pay again to watch what will now be the most important matches of that same season.”
“We have gone through the correct channels”
“The SPFL Board gave Hibernian permission to allow their season ticket holders free entry into their play-off match last season therefore setting a precedent.”
So that was the end of the matter then?
As I and many other observers said at the time, it looked a bit like an open challenge to the rules and the authority of the SPFL.
SPFL Chairman Ralph Topping waded into the debate on 2 May, breaking the revelatory news that “Our rulebook is not a pick and mix”.
If only we’d known that kind of thing before! It could have saved an awful lot of hassle in recent decades…
The same day, fellow SPFL Board Member Stephen Thompson also took time out to comment on the matter. He demolished the ‘Hibs Precedent’ argument by pointing out that they had been given dispensation to allow Season Ticket holders into 2014/15 playoff games for free as they had gone on sale before the SPL/SFL merger had taken place. This was before anyone could have been certain that there would be any playoffs at all…
After a few days of Dignified silence, and no doubt Staunch consideration, the “Club” today issued another statement:
“The Club is pleased to announce that after careful consideration tickets for the above match are priced at £5 across the board.”
Well fancy that!
The statement continues:
“… it is believed the most favourable option for the Club and its supporters is a flat price of £5.”
Not if you are a Season Ticket holder who had lapped up the “Club’s” previous statement, it isn’t!
Unfortunately it seems that “the cost to the Club of allowing season-ticket holders free admission would have been substantial after accounting for the levy that would be due to the SPFL”
You could be forgiven for wondering whether the RIFC Board had issued the 28 April statement without first doing its sums.
But at least we can all be clear that Sevco hasn’t changed its position because it realised that there are rules to be obeyed:
“Despite media speculation never at any time did Rangers state it would not adhere to SPFL rules”.
Onwards to the playoffs! Don’t forget to bring a Fiver. I am sure it will be a big money spinner for all concerned!