The new Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) has now helpfully added its rule book to its web site. And the regulations clearly mean that none of the eight players signed by The Rangers this summer should be allowed to play in league matches before the new club’s current registration embargo ends on 1 September 2013.
I’ve written about this one a couple of times now. A quick recap: the deal that allowed The Rangers (established in 2012 as Sevco Scotland) to join the Scottish leagues includes a prohibition on registering new players until after the transfer window ends on 31 August 2013.
Eight players have been unveiled over the summer as signings by the Ibrox club. Now while all of these players have accepted contracts of employment with The Rangers, none is eligible to play football until registered with the governing body. And that cannot happen until 1 September. So the plan was to play them as Trialists.
I have previously established that the four players signed from outside Scotland cannot play as Trailists at all due to the lack of an International Transfer Certificate. Bilel Mohsni, Stevie Smith, Richard Foster and Arnold Peralta cannot therefore play until registered on 1 September.
But the other four – Cammy Bell, Nicky Law, Nicky Clark and Jon Daly – last played for Scottish clubs and were therefore expected to play in league games during August as Trailists.
A quick look at the SPFL rule book shows it has a handy set of definitions at the start. And here’s what it has to say about Trailists:
“Trialist means a player who is under assessment and evaluation by a Club as to his ability, fitness or the like to play Football for that Club in Official Matches and who is not Registered to that Club”
Now The Rangers have, according to the many press reports that trumpeted these signings, already agreed contracts of varying lengths with Bell, Law, Clark and Daly. So can the players be classed as “under assessment and evaluation” by The Rangers?
Clearly not – as decisions to sign the players have already been made. Even if press reports are actually inaccurate and only pre-contract deals have so far been offered, this is just a matter of timing. The decision to sign the players has been made, There is still no “assessment and evaluation”.
Therefore none of the four qualify to play as a Trailist as per the rules of the SPFL.
Now if I was an official of Brechin City FC, who this weekend play The Rangers in the opening game of League One (as Scotland’s third tier is now strangely known) I would be looking very closely at this situation.
And I would be querying any attempt by the Ibrox side to include a Trailist on its team sheet come Saturday lunch time.