Scottish Third Division side Rangers CEO Charles Green has written to Britain PM David Cameron "explaining his desire to move the club to the English league and reckons EU law is on his side," according to Scott McDermott of the Scotland DAILY RECORD. Green is "seeking an escape route into the English league after blasting reconstruction plans" for the Scottish Football League. Rangers "would need permission from" UEFA, the Scottish FA and FA to change leagues. But Green believes that EU laws "could tear down those barriers and pave the way to the promised land." Green said, "We’re part of the EU and have to take advantage of the rules and regulations within that. There is no doubt that the English FA and leagues will be in breach of European competition laws. They will say UEFA and FIFA regulations are outside of that, but it’s not true. Nothing is outside the law" (DAILY RECORD, 2/16).
TALKS WITH BELGIUM: In Edinburgh, Craig Forbes reported Green has "also spoken to" Belgian Pro League Standard Liège Chair Roland Duchatelet over the club's "bid to expand" its horizons. Liège is "pushing for a joint Dutch-Belgian league and also raised the prospect of applying to the French league." UEFA is involved in talks over merging leagues from different countries "in a bid to close the gap" between clubs from nations with the most lucrative TV deals. Green, whose club is unable to vote on reconstruction plans because it was recently admitted associate members of the SFL, is "trying to move the issue forward." Green said, "I must explore all avenues and the issue of cross-border leagues is now on everyone’s lips. I recently visited the chairman of Standard Liege because he has made a statement about a Benelux league. There is already one in existence in the professional women’s game and a precedent is there in that respect" (SCOTSMAN, 2/16).
NOTHING TO HIDE: In London, Tom Moodie reported former Rangers Owner Craig Whyte claimed that he would "welcome any investigation into his stewardship of the club and the opportunity to clear his name." Whyte's "conscience is clear following what has been a turbulent 12 months for the Ibrox club." Whyte said, "I welcome any fair investigation into anything to do with the takeover, the insolvency, whatever. I would welcome that and be happy to cooperate with any of it, and anybody will see there is no wrong-doing whatsoever. Whyte also "denied any criminal activity" during his time at Rangers. Whyte: "If I was a crook or a wide-boy, do you really think I’m stupid enough to do anything remotely crooked at a high-profile football club? The whole notion is just utterly ridiculous." Asked how he sleeps at night, Whyte replied: "Very soundly" (LONDON TIMES, 2/17).
German automobile manufacturer Daimler AG "has denied reports about a possible withdraw of its subsidiary Mercedes from F1," according to BILD. Daimler spokesperson Jörg Howe said, "Our F1 involvement is not up for debate." With this statement, Howe "reacted to media reports that Daimler shareholders DWS and Union Investment demand the withdraw of Mercedes F1 factory team." The two investment companies "reportedly believe that F1 is not up to date and criticize the overdue success of the team." Howe added: "We have created new structures to secure long-term success and soon compete at the top again." Daimler has returned to F1 with its Mercedes factory team in '10. However, since its return the team has only won one grand prix (BILD, 2/17).
Ricoh Arena bosses "dramatically upped the stakes in their dispute" with League One side Coventry City by "serving debt orders, which could see the stadium recouping rent arrears by May," according to Les Reid of the COVENTRY TELEGRAPH. The legal move "would lawfully entitle" Arena Coventry Ltd. to recover the £1.3M ($2M) rent by "collecting any monies owed to the club by other companies and third parties." The third parties named include League Championship club Hudderfield Town. ACL "could also have first call on rate rebates" from Coventry City Council to Coventry City FC. Friday's developments "follow the collapse of talks to try to resolve the increasingly bitter dispute over rent payments for playing at the Ricoh" (COVENTRY TELEGRAPH, 2/15). In Coventry, Steve Carpenter reported ACL claims that the cash-strapped League One club owe £1.347M in arrears after "refusing to pay the cost of playing at the stadium since February last year." ACL Chair Nicholas Carter said, "We don’t want to have to resort to such means as obtaining interim Third Party Debt Orders." He added: "But if the club won’t agree to the very generous deal on the table and pay what it lawfully owes, we have a duty to our stakeholders to take all the necessary steps to protect ACL’s interests. It’s our responsibility as directors to do all we can to make sure ACL gets paid" (COVENTRY OBSERVER, 2/15).
NOT WINDING THEM UP: The BBC reported the ACL board underlined that "it is not a winding-up order on the Sky Blues." The club was "initially given until Boxing Day to pay up, or face a winding-up petition, a deadline that was then extended" until Jan. 2, since when the two parties "have been in negotiations" (BBC, 2/15). The PA reported in light of the latest developments, Coventry has made its first official comment. A statement on the club's website read: "Despite the recent campaign by ACL to force the football club into a deal that would be completely disadvantageous, Coventry City Football Club remains committed to work through to the conclusion of a deal that is acceptable to both parties." The statement continued: "This deal must take into consideration matchday revenues to support the need for a squad, which is strong and competitive and yet still complies with Financial Fair Play and salary cap rules" (PA, 2/16).
Scottish Premier League club Heart of Midlothian has been in talks with a fans consortium fronted by Supporters Direct Chief Paul Goodwin and "could be sold off before the end of the season," according to Evan McLean of the Scotland DAILY RECORD. However, Hearts Dir Sergejus Fedotovas "would not confirm if the fans' buy-out bid is their favoured option." Fedotovas said, "There are a number of interested parties and discussions are ongoing. Nothing will happen today or tomorrow. Most will be looking towards the end of the season" (DAILY RECORD, 2/17). The SCOTSMAN reported Fedotovas "also tried to allay fears about the club’s future" in the wake of Lithuanian bank Ukio Bankas, which is controlled by club Owner Vladimir Romanov, entering administration. Fedotovas said, "Alarm bells never stop in the media. It’s business as usual. We don’t having anything to fear." Fedotovas stressed that "the club is majority owned" by Romanov’s Ukio Banko Investicine Grupe, of which Ukio Bankas is just one business (SCOTSMAN, 2/17).