It is the understanding of PFA Scotland that any player would be entitled to walk away for nothing if the club was unable to exit administration via a CVA and would be under no legal obligation to move to a newco. The prospect of "assets", some worth upwards of £5m, being allowed to leave for free may influence the thinking of prospective new owners as they weigh up their bids for the beleaguered club.
Any player who elects to move to a newco, in the event of the club being liquidated, would need to have the existing terms of their contract honoured, but there is no obligation for them to transfer to the new company. According to Fraser Wishart, chief executive of PFA Scotland, the Rangers players will need to carefully consider their options should such a scenario come to pass.
"Our guys are not individuals, they are assets, and have a figure on their heads," he said. "Under TUPE regulations – Transfer of Undertakings and Protection of Employment – they are protected by the law of the land. If a new company comes in and takes over the employees of a previous company then firstly our members are protected. A newco can't come in and change the terms and conditions of their employment. Secondly, they don't have to go. They are free agents. The players are employed by Rangers Football Club. They might just stay at Rangers FC and take what that brings.
"Our position – and we're still taking legal advice on this – is that the player registration is held by the current Rangers. If the player chooses not to go then that registration dies with the club and he's free to go. We've given them that advice and we've informed the administrators of our stance on this a few weeks ago.
"We trust that this has been passed on to any potential owner as this is a very important part of any deal to take into consideration. It has an effect on the value of Rangers if you can't be sure that all the assets will transfer.
"There would be a tipping point where the transfer of assets from old to new would take place and that's when decisions are made. I've spoken to players as this is a live issue. Nobody has come back to me to look at this as they don't want to go. But they are aware of their rights and will make decisions once the preferred bidder is in and a route of either a CVA or a newco is chosen."
The players all agreed to take temporary wage cuts last month to help stave off the threat of compulsory redundancies once the club fell into administration. They will revert to their full salaries on June 1 and Wishart does not envisage them agreeing to further cuts thereafter.
"We are now in a situation where we are three weeks away from the end of the season and six weeks away from the contracts reverting back to normal salaries," he added. "Certainly, we would not advise our members to again take a position of any further wage cuts. That's just not a possibility.
"We are then into the transfer window opening in June. If the administrators are still there and plodding along, they have the opportunity to sell players to get themselves funds to keep the club going. The administration took place at the worst possible time because the transfer window had just closed. Season-ticket money had gone and there was no money coming in. It was a horrible position for the players to be in but I thought they handled it well."
Wishart had pushed for the players' wages to be deferred rather than temporarily reduced but that option was not favourited by the administrators. In return, however, some players insisted on adjustments being made to their contracts. "We made an offer to the administrators. We took specialist tax and legal advice on what form a wage deferral could take, with the players getting a 'balloon' payment further down the line. If they had chosen that route, there would have been no negotiations to contracts. But they chose not to take that on board and instead go down the wage cut route.
"At that point, and quite rightly, the players said: 'Hold on, you are asking me to take a huge, huge hit here so I would like to alter one or two terms in my contract.' Essentially, it was to do with looking at it and seeing who was going to be in charge in the summer. It was about having a greater deal of control about where they were going."
The length of time it has taken the administrators to appoint a preferred bidder and move towards a CVA has been a source of annoyance for the players, Wishart revealed. "The players are getting a bit frustrated that it has now been four weeks since they took that hit to buy the club time. What's it bought? Four weeks down the line the club still doesn't have a preferred bidder.
"Time is now very tight because these are complex negotiations to get a club out of administration. From the players' point of view, they just simply want them to make a decision. Make a decision and the players can sit down collectively – and probably individually in some circumstances – with the preferred bidder and see what they are offering. Every player has a huge decision to make in the summer. The uncertainty is not good for anybody."