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Naismith and Whittaker leave Rangers
Rangers players Steven Naismith and Steven Whittaker have objected to the transfer of their contracts to the newco club, issuing statements through their lawyers claiming they are now free agents.
Rangers claim the transfer of all player contracts have already taken place, warning on Saturday night that any players disputing the move could face legal action in the wake of reported objections from Rhys McCabe and Sone Aluko. But lawyers acting for Scotland internationals Naismith and Whittaker said their clients would not report for training with Rangers and are seeking new clubs.
A statement from Simon Catto of HBJ Gateley said: "Steven Naismith and Steven Whittaker are formally intimating their objection to becoming employed by the transferee in accordance with Regulations 4(7) and 4(9) of the TUPE Regulations."
The statement continued: "Accordingly, Steven Naismith and Steven Whittaker will not be attending for training or any other meeting next week and consider themselves to be under no contractual obligations to any party. They consider they are not employed by any party and are free to consider any employment options they wish."
Naismith, who describes himself as a "lifelong Rangers fan", has scored 28 goals for the club since joining from Kilmarnock in 2007, having originally been a Rangers trainee.
"I have discussed this decision with my fiance, my family and my advisors. It has been an extremely difficult decision to make but I believe it is the right decision," he said. "As players we were put in a difficult position by the administrators whereby we were asked to take a 75% pay cut to contracts that we entered into in good faith.
"As players we collectively saw this as the only way to get Rangers Football Club out of administration by way of a CVA and thereby protect the staff jobs and the history of the club and give the creditors who had also entered into contracts with Rangers in good faith the best chance of being paid.
"Both Steven and I and our agent fought hard with administrators during negotiations to insert clauses that offered protection to staff and players at the club. I am extremely proud of the actions we took but I am disappointed and angry that Rangers Football Club no longer exists in its original form."
Defender Whittaker, who joined Rangers in 2007 from Hibs, said: "It has been really difficult time for all connected with Rangers Football Club.
"And this has been such a difficult decision to make. I have discussed it at great length with my wife, family and advisors and believe I have made the right decision to object to joining Sevco."
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