Law expert says Steven Whittaker was free to sign for Norwich City

The Steven Whittaker transfer saga rumbled on yesterday as an employment law expert came down on the side of the players who quit the re-formed Rangers.

Defender Whittaker, who has agreed a four-year deal with Norwich City, is one of five players to have secured moves since - on the advice of their union, PFA Scotland – they rejected the opportunity to transfer their contracts from Rangers to Charles Green's Sevco consortium.

The club's administrators, Duff and Phelps, revealed earlier this week that Newco Rangers chief executive Green's �5.5m purchase of Rangers' assets included a �2.75m payment to buy the contracts and registrations of the players.

But despite Green taking a firm stance, Adrian Hoggarth, the head of employment law at Prolegal, believes the deal struck may have been outside of the law.

'It is not legally possible for Rangers and Charles Green to buy and sell players as part of a business transfer,' he said.

'Whether or not the players transferred in this case appears to depend on two things.

'Firstly, were they assigned to the business of the football club when it transferred? This is a matter of law and this has nothing to do with any money that may have changed hands.

Most Read

'Secondly, were the players aware of the transfer at the time it took place? Case law suggests that if you know about a transfer before it happens and don't object to it, you lose the right to object once the business transfers. If not, you don't. To suggest otherwise would take away the right of an employee to object to being transferred, which is a right enshrined in law.'

Green rejects the claim that the players are free agents and international clearance for the transfers of Whittaker, Steve Davis, Kyle Lafferty, Jamie Ness and Steven Naismith has been put on hold while the Scottish FA seek guidance from Fifa.