The Professional Footballers' Association Scotland has raised an employment tribunal claim against Rangers on behalf of 67 players.
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The action was revealed in the share prospectus issued by the Ibrox club, and relates to a failure "to inform and consult" during the purchase in the summer of the business and assets from Rangers Football Club plc. When the consortium led by Charles Green bought the club, the contracts of all employees automatically passed over to the new company under TUPE employment regulations. However, some players took the opportunity to object to the transfer – which protects employees' rights since all contracts have to be honoured – and subsequently left the club as free transfers.
One player quick to distance himself from events last night, however, was club captain Lee McCulloch who tweeted: "For everyone asking, I'm not involved in the 67 people and, if my name is there, it will be getting taken off."
The PFA Scotland claim, however, is that Rangers did not properly consult their members, even though letters were sent to all of them by recorded delivery.
The 67 players were all registered with the club at the time, many of them still are, although they are unnamed. Sone Aluko, one of the players who departed, tweeted a response to questions from Rangers fans on Sunday by saying he did not know anything about the claim.
In the share prospectus, Rangers say that the club's "advisers have taken issue with PFA's right to bring such a claim on behalf of the players. Senior counsel's advice has been taken on the matter and a robust opinion has been given to the effect that PFA Scotland has no locus or standing to raise such a claim. Rangers Football Club Limited advisers are therefore attempting to have the employment tribunal fix a pre-hearing review at which this issue can be finally determined."
A spokesman for Rangers last night described the claim as "baseless and invalid", while PFA Scotland refused to comment. Three players – Aluko, Kyle Lafferty and Jamie Ness – are also taking the club to a separate employment tribunal over claims of "constructive dismissal" relating to their departures.
Rangers challenged all of the players' right to depart in the summer, and the SFA will make a ruling next year.