Published on 28 Feb 2013

Rangers’ player payments ‘not cheating’

In a nutshell , Rangers broke the rules right, left and centre and have been fined £250,000 for so doing because they did not inform the Scottish Football Authorities of the payments they were making to players under the old, now liquidated company, run by Sir David Murray.

The management of the old Rangers company decided that side-letters concerning payments to players “should not be disclosed to the football authorities…” and they did this “…without taking any legal or accounting advice to justify the non-disclosure…”

But because the independent commission chaired by Lord Nimmo-Smith has ruled that this non-disclosure did not result in any competitive advantage, the club will not face footballing sanctions such as being stripped of any of its silverware.

All in all it is extremely good news for Rangers long-suffering fans in that the silverware and championships remain intact but perhaps more importantly they were not found to have gained any competitive advantage according to the commission.

So finally one of two large clouds over Ibrox has disappeared as the fog lifted from Govan this morning to reveal a perfect, clear and sunny day.

In short, it did not amount to cheating:

“Rangers FC did not gain any unfair competitive advantage…nor did the non-disclosure have the effect that any of the registered players were ineligible to play and for that reason no sporting sanction or penalty should be imposed upon Rangers FC.”

In other words the commission ruled that not telling the authorities in full about all monies given to players does not mean they were ineligible, which rather begs the question as to why the full-disclosure rule exists in the first place?

The answer is clearly the desire for financial transparency and the obvious point that ‘secret’ payments quite clearly could be the route to cheating. But in this case it was not ruled to be so.

The commission also distances the present new club set up from the ashes of the old liquidated club and that will be further welcome news for the current owner Charles Green who spent so much time being rude about the very commission which has delivered so much for him.

So finally one of two large clouds over Ibrox has disappeared as the fog lifted from Govan this morning to reveal a perfect, clear and sunny day.

The tax case still hangs over things of course and will do so for many a month yet. But today’s decision makes it easier at last for football to return centre stage and for the club to move on from a dark period in its history. There are still unanswered questions over the player payments and irregular tax arrangements under Sir David Murray.

Rangers find themselves in fourth-tier football after the flagrant approach to income tax taken by the notorious Craig Whyte. On the Big Tax Case, the case continues.

Equally the club was not doing anything which amounted to cheating according to today’s judgement and the club’s silverware remains in tact.

Many will feel this is bizarre. The football world in Scotland had it as a bedrock belief that failure to disclose payment renders a player ineligible and that is that. Ergo: unfair advantage and thus cheating. Lord Nimmo-Smith has ruled that this is not necessarily so and not so in this cases – or cases. There will be many out there today who will see this as utterly bizarre, if not perverse. But that is the judgement.

Debate will continue long and hard on the green side of Glasgow and among all fans – but ultimately folk cannot have it both ways. You must accept the judgement of guilt where passed, and accept exoneration in equal measure.

In Rangers’ case, so far, this only means they are not guilty of cheating.

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72 reader comments

  1. Chris says:
  2. Mal says:

    The only reason that rangers never had their titles stripped is because of badly worded SPL/SFA rules.

    See: http://scotslawthoughts.wordpress.com/2013/02/28/rangers-oldco-not-guilty-of-fielding-ineligible-players-why/#more-3204

    If it were any other club then they would have been found guilty and lost their titles.

    I think the commission were scared of the backlash by the rangers fans (not all just the fanatics that have been threatening everyone) and they went down the route of the badly worded rules and not by what they stood for.

    This is a mockery of Scottish football.

    Now the question stands will Sevco pay the fine – they stated that they would pay all oldco football related debts (I don’t think so).

    1. Marty says:

      Poor, hurting Celtic fans.

      The offence was not providing additional information, beyond what was in the submitted accounts etc about the EBTs. The team on the field was obviously not helped by the company not handing over extra info. No sporting advantage was gained, so no sporting penalty is appropriate – just a fine for the company that formerly ran the club (the “oldco”).

      1. Bruce says:

        Why would we be hurting Marty, our club still exists.

        Rangers were found guilty. Thanks to a bizarre, perverse interpretation of the rules by the SFA, LNS concluded that, within the narrow terms of his remit, there was no sporting advantage – because the SFA evidence meant that the players were registered.

        The SFA’s evidence needs looking at, as so far they have got off very lightly. It is perverse because its at odds with how disclosure rules are practised everywhere else. If you fail to disclose to an insurance company, they don’t decide that since they accepted it, you’re still insured anyway, so no harm done. They cancel your policy and if they’ve already paid out on that policy, they’ll come after their money. And probably set the police on you. If you fail to disclose information to the DVLA, they don’t decide that you can keep your driving licence as they issued it. They cancel it and your licence is retrospectively revoked, with all the consequences that come from that. That the SFA could offer evidence which decides this issue after claiming it would not get involved as its the appellate body is extremely suspect. Its one of those moments, like Farry, when it inadvertently reveals far more about itself than it ever intended to.

        Marty, Rangers broke the rules…if they weren’t doing it to gain a sporting advantage, why were they doing it?

        One other thing, if HMRC wins its appeal,it’ll settle once and for all that Rangers were cheating. What we’ll hear from all the Rangers and the The Rangers supporters is…. but…but…..but LNS said we weren’t cheating. Which is not at all what he said. This was no blanket exoneration. He only referred to his narrow remit and the HMRC case is outside that remit.

  3. ROBBBO says:

    Agree that this has been a good day for Rangers, no doubt the east end conspiracy theorists will be outraged, let them be!

  4. alexander wright says:

    Probably a fair decision. Look at Rangers during the years without EBT’S, their results show that the club were just as successful, so hardly an unfair advantage. In fact that’s the sad point to it all, were the EBT’s even necessary? Given the damage they have caused, me thinks not. Sir David Murray tut tut tut! The fine shows there is need for better transparency in football, especially when it comes to money, however focusing so much on Rangers only detracts the attention from the bigger problem, and the big fish out there! Money is destroying the game.

  5. ALAN MCPHERSON says:

    “Many will feel this is bizarre. The football world in Scotland had it as a bedrock belief that failure to disclose payment renders a player ineligible and that is that. Ergo: unfair advantage and thus cheating. Lord Nimmo-Smith has ruled that this is not necessarily so and not so in this cases – or cases. There will be many out there today who will see this as utterly bizarre, if not perverse. But that is the judgement.

    Debate will continue long and hard on the green side of Glasgow and among all fans – but ultimately folk cannot have it both ways. You must accept the judgement of guilt where passed, and accept exoneration in equal measure.

    In Rangers’ case, so far, this only means they are not guilty of cheating”

    What on earth are you havering about here? The bedrock belief you allude to would suggest that Celtic FC are cheating, at least in the admitted case of Juninho – is that what you really mean?. You could find Lord Nimmo Smith’s judgement bizarre, twice bizarre, in fact but he does spend a lot of time explaining it – in simple terms. P28 states simply that Rangers did not field ineligible players.

    Rangers are ‘only not guilty of cheating’. But guilty of what else exactly? murder?, rape?, pillage?, bad dress sense?, poor diet? or just insert whatever takes your fancy?

    Sorry you’re trip to Glasgow was ruined Alex – back under your stone.

  6. Colin Craig says:

    Accept the judgement and get over it mate

  7. Najeeb Said says:

    My momma always told me cheaters never win. Perhaps she was wrong :(

  8. listenteyerda says:

    The Good Lord knows the full disclosure rule was broken, The BBC.Exposed the underhand payments made to Old Rangers employees, the good Lord also knew the Deliberate with holding of evidence by the old regime at Ibrox, Seemingly by deliberately improperly registering players means they were not cheating! well! they may or may not have cheated on the field, but to us ordinary laymen it looks like they were allowed to Off it! £250,000 Fine! to be paid by whom? This must be the first ever Almost Guilty verdict in history! could only happen here!

  9. Oshi7 says:

    Just to add you do understand that these payments in this case were not irregular and were not in breach of any SPL or SFA rules if they had been
    disclosed. So all that can be punished is a failure to disclose payments that in themselves were judged by SPL and SFL rules to be above board in the first place.

  10. Jabso says:

    Total and utterly despicable from Rangers to the SFA with the SPL giving a helpful hand. Disgusting. Legal terminology, loopholes and fudged decisions will never change my mind that this country, in a footballing sense, is a complete joke and rotten to the core.

  11. hoops says:

    So Rangers did not benefit from hiding 50% of payments to players in one season ?

    incredible, question is will SFA accept this judgement, and will fans of other clubs.

  12. Fanny Padd says:
  13. oldbloke says:

    SNP wants independance, while scottish football shows just what independance means, scandals, sectarian in-fighting, no-euro trophies for 30 years and biggest clubs going bust.

    Rangers want to play in UK, SNP wants out ?

  14. db says:

    Shocking decision.

    Rangers could pay higher wages by using EBT’s therefore sign better players…how is that not gaining a competitive advantage.

  15. Andrew Ha says:

    How can The Rangers not have gained any advantage Alex? Beggars belief

  16. Alex McDougall says:

    Apology please Thomson..?!?!

    1. Bruce says:

      Your club went bust owing more than £50 million. What does Alex have to apologise for?

  17. Disillusioned says:

    Defined as cheating yet no punishment, Ignoring precedents, common sense and decency. Incomprehensible.

  18. Macca says:

    They broke the rules and were fined.. That’s a fact. Some will call it cheating….some won’t…does it really matter what we call it…we all know what they did and why

  19. Hector says:

    nothing but a white wash, who pays the fine and who pays the social taxes. Thats enough of the right wing football in Scotland for me…………fined for cheating but found not guilty of cheating??

  20. gerry s says:

    When is cheating not cheating? Apparently. when it involves the club formerly known as Rangers.

  21. David MacDonald says:

    You really are a dreadful excuse for a journalist Alex. You say Rangers “broke the rules right, left and centre”. Have you read the report for yourself at all? It’s pretty clear, black and white, page 2, section 5 of the summary: “the payments in this case were not themselves irregular and were not in breach of SPL or SFA Rules”

    How can any of your other reports be taken seriously if this is the level of inaccuracy you have.

  22. Big Mike says:

    Well it is goodbye from me Alex Scottish football will never again benefit from one solitary penny from me. I thank God I do not live in Scotland which of course makes it so much easer to say goodbye.

  23. Carntyne says:

    “…today’s decision makes it easier at last for football to return centre stage and for the club to move on from a dark period in its history.”

    A dark period in its history?

    Rangers whole history has been a dark period for everyone in Scottish football.

    The judgement today, I’m sorry to report, is not in the least bizarre.

    Every time Rangers fall into a pile of stinking manure, usually of their own making, they invariably come out smelling of roses.

    Its the way of things in this flawed, damaged little country.

  24. rfc 1873 ~2012 says:

    Am sure the circus will continue for a while then it can start all over again with sevco! Did someone mention tainted tittles?

  25. Dave Donnelly says:

    “Did not gain any unfair competitive advantage,”
    If two players were available, one for wages of £10,000 a week and one of £5,000 you would expect the higher wage earner to be a better player.
    If by avoiding tax on part of that £10,000 and an “administative error” meant the registered contract claimed the player was on a lesser wage, you could easily afford the better player.
    I would say that was an advantage. I guess common sense doesn’t count though.
    Newco fans are crowing about victory and justice when they should be hanging their heads in shame.
    I guess that since the pointless £250,000 fine has been handed down, Rangers will be a new club this week. Lets face it, Tax Avoidance, Fine Avoidance its all good for the establishment club.

  26. iain says:

    So not the biggest sporting scandal of all time then?
    Maybe the local journalists who decided to wait and see before leading with lurid and hyperbolic headlines were actually right and not corrupt?

  27. Geedublu says:

    No, they were found guilty of cheating, but according to the panel did not gain sporting advantage. If they were not guilty why the £250k fine, albeit unpayable.

  28. John smith says:

    Bizarre that Spartans were found guilty of incorrect registration for forgetting to put the date in properly. Where is the advantage gained here? Result was reversred, fined £4,000 and banned for a year from the Scottish Cup. Of course they are not the Rangers who everyone is trying to do down.

  29. Marty says:

    A very sensible and sound ruling. This was not “cheating”. This was not about dodgy, hidden payments. The monies concerned were disclosed in the company’s published annual accounts and these accounts were submitted to the football authorities. What was left after that were administrative issues and the old company has been fined over those.

    Today’s ruling also makes it very clear that the club continues. The old company (oldco) has been liquidated and the club is now run by a new company (newco).

  30. David Black says:

    The football authorites in Scotland are a joke, Rangers drove a horse and carriage through the spirit of the game but legalese technical points pritected them…honesty as well as sporting integrity are dead in Scottiah football. The big boy in the playground has bullied everyone else, again

  31. jackanory says:

    Same old same as ! Guilty but No competitive advantage there then. (lol)

  32. Dave Young says:

    It appears that Lord Nimmo and his esteemed colleagues reached an unpopular verdict. We did not “cheat” and as disappointing that is to those who would wish it otherwise they simply have to suck it up and move on. Yet that is not a “sensational” story for certain areas of the media who would have happily stoked the fires with their burn the witch mentality.

    Of particular interest to me is how the SPL, independently of the other administrative bodies in Scotland, decided that there was a punishment required, BEFORE the case had been heard. Throughout this whole sorry saga the media have portrayed Rangers as guilty as cheats until proven innocent and yet senior and respected law professionals have not returned that view.

  33. Alistair says:

    Looks like you backed the wrong horse AGAIN Alex. No luck old bean!

  34. James says:

    Jeez, an inconvenient truth for Alex
    The concept of fair and balanced journalistic reporting of “facts” has long since passed in is world, replaced many months ago by a preverse interpretation of opinion (presented as fact) and opaque inferences and thinly veiled accusations e.g Cheating, Tax Avoiders, etc.

    Quite simply, since day one, Alex and several others simply committed a schoolboy error in journalistis terms – they failed to follow the story and strike a bal ance.

    The bloodthirst for a pre-ordained verdict over-rode balance and fairness.

    So, rather like tainting your neighbour as a shoplifter, before any formal charges, trial or verdict was in place; Alex and co claimed “guilty”, spread this word as fact (when in fact it was at best offensive gossip and at worst potentialy legally wrong) all around town, only to be stunned when the poor guy went before a judge and was acquited!

    Shocked and stunned, they kept peddling thier story with a new spin, the “ah but” school of thought e.g The FTTT case did go in favour of RFC “ah but…there was one dissenting voice, therefore…”

    And so it continued onwards to this SPL led inquiry led by LNS and now as the decision has also not quit gone the way he hoped we are back in the land of “ah but” journalism.

    So a panel of tax tribunal experts and now a legal panel who find no “cheating – tax, sporting or otherwise” will get the AT spin…

    Sad and a loss of journalistic ethics…

  35. David says:

    Your argument holds little water. If we take how a football club, or indeed ANY company sets itself up, and in this case, let us use listed companies with shareholders as examples, then they are OBLIGED to seek as big a return legally for their investors.

    Rangers did this.

    If you are saying that football clubs should be different from any other company, you have to give a great reason why.

    If you saying that a financial advantage is a competitive advantage, then of course you are right – welcome to the free market economy. Every company seeks advantages over the competition, that’s why it is called competition.

    As long as it is legal, then no problem.

    Rangers broke no laws. Rangers did not file papers, that were well known about (SPL look at accounts think what about all this EBT stuff, should we maybe ask about that, then don’t for 11 years? – come on…. THAT’S where the next investigation lies. The regulators & rules that ALLOWED this to happen in the first place, and those who controlled it.

  36. Frank says:

    So if they are not guilty, why the fine and why go to the bother of hiding the payments for 11 years? Why not pay the money through normal channels?

  37. paddyb says:
  38. Doug says:

    Just had the pleasure of watching yourself, Tom English , and particularly Graham Speirs being humiliated by the heavily out numbered Chris Graham on Scotland Tonight.

    Despite Mr Speir’s strenuous efforts to establish that Rangers had been found guilty of innumerable offences, and your somewhat childish attempt to resurrect the tax case appeal with your wishful thinking”dark clouds over Ibrox “comment, Chris stated his case with dignity and reason.

    All through this sorry witch hunt against Rangers the phrase “sporting integrity” has been bandied about by the club’s detractors, and has been used as the excuse to demand all kinds of retribution.

    Lord Nimmo Smith has found that Rangers have been guilty of not taking or seeking the advice of experts to declare that certain players were beneficiaries of EBTs (this despite the fact that the EBTs were declared in the annual accounts submitted to the SFA.) In short they had breached administrative and procedural rules.

    However, on the question of “sporting integrity ” Lord Nimmo Smith found that Rangers were NOT GUILTY. They had not gained, or sought to gain an unfair advantage on the field of play.

    It bothers me not that Rangers were sloppy in their administration procedures( although a £250k fine for not being good at paperwork would seem a tad draconian) but I am extremely pleased that at last the accusations of cheating, financial doping, and lack of sporting integrity have been found by a TOTALLY INDEPENDENT board of enquiry to be without any foundation.

    So Mr. Speirs, you can spout all you like about Rangers being guilty of poor admin procedures, and you Mr. Thomson can continue to issue your Ibrox weather reports, the important statement of the evening came from,most surprisingly Mr. English. “Rangers did not cheat, that is beyond question”

    Beyond all except the Rangers haters who despite this verdict and the verdict of the First Tier Tax Tribunal earlier, cannot accept that their dreams of Rangers being destroyed have been dashed.

    Well done Chris Graham, once again you have outshone your mainstream media adversaries, but if I were you, I would be taking the producers of Scotland Tonight to task for the lack of balance so evident in the programme. Although on this performance, you have little to fear in the future!

    1. ROBBBO says:

      Excellent summary, I see Lennon has broken his silence on Rangers to make childish futile jibes, he will never change, continues to be a very poor loser!

    2. Bruce says:

      Hmmm. I saw that. As usual, Graham spent most of his time mumbling down to his shoes, only lifting his head to distort LNS’s conclusions.

  39. S.B. says:

    Bizarre indeed Alex but those of us who really know Scotland, it’s Establishment and the many dark, secret societies there will not be surprised at all. You have experienced at first hand how some of these sinister elements operate and how far they will go to protect Rangers (oldco & newco) at any cost. Rangers made irregular payments to their players which was surely an incentive to entice top footballers and as such can only be classified as cheating. However their only offence, in this report, was a failure to disclose these payments? How can Lord Nimmo Smith state that non disclosure did not result in any competitive advantage when paying higher wages (by whatever means) would make better footballers come to your club? Is this not a competitive advantage? Surely this is factually flawed conclusion on the panel’s part? As you say Rangers broke the rules left, right and centre and most of us in the real world would conclude that ineligibility = unfair advantage = cheating. However this is Scotland which, like parts of the North of Ireland, still has a deeply bigoted, sectarian, fundamental, Reformation mindset and which interprets rules and laws to protect their own interests. Anyone saying otherwise is either “a Papist, a rebel rouser, a republican rhubarb rhubarb”.

    1. Bitter Lemon Citrus Voice says:

      There is a lot of hurt on display from what I will charitably refer to as the “Celtic minded”. It is of course correct that Rangers did not disclose each individual side letter to the SFA/.SPL. What Rangers DID do was disclose EVERY penny of the EBT schemes in the annual accounts submitted to the authorities plus also for UEFA licensing purposes statements & documents. There was NO non-disclosure or hiding of £47m! That is plainly wrong. What IS evident is that Rangers actually attained a HIGHER standard of disclosure than Celtic PLC or Pacific Shelf or Celtic FC did. The Juninho EBT remains a very strange incident of the dog that didnt bark in the night. Celtic admitted they did NOT disclose this EBT to the authorities AT THE TIME.Why were Celtic/Pacific Shelf held to have “no case to answer” WITHOUT proper process or investigation.It has nothing to do with tax or subsequently reporting. The rules were -disclosure at time of use. Celtic failed this standard. Was it an administrative error? Then it falls into non-sporting category and cannot have a sporting penalty. Stripping Celtic’s titles would’ve been harsh. But I would love to have seen SPL lawyers investigate Celtic.=oops conflict of interest! The point of many on here that it is somehow some hidden plot to protect Rangers just sounds like madness. What sounds more like corruption, smells like subtefuge & dishonesty-Rangers who disclosed payments in totality each year AND provided letters & paper trail for the benefit of employees or is it Celtic with their nudge nudge wink wink EBT ADMITTED non-disclosure?

  40. Proud Scot says:

    The finding is a joke

    Lord Nimmo Smith admits that the club and company are not seperate…….

    “Rangers Football Club was founded in 1872 as an association football club. It was incorporated in 1899 as The Rangers Football Club Limited. In 2000 the company’s name was changed to The Rangers Football Club Plc, and on 31 July 2012 to RFC 2012 Plc. We shall refer to this company as “Oldco”

    But he then proceeds to talk about a newco operating the club. How can it be both ways?

    Report is littered with contradictions

  41. MJJT says:

    11 years with holding contract details from the SFA and for how many players! Yes this is not cheating!! We all know now what they tired to do and the got found out £250k fine means guilty as charged another mile stone of shame to be added to their history that Newco bought from Oldco.

  42. William MacRitchie says:

    “The football world in Scotland had it as a bedrock belief that failure to disclose payment renders a player ineligible and that is that.”

    A bedrock belief? What – the principle that nobody knew existed until the bloggers sniffed a chance to make a big deal out of it. Then, of course, every lame-brain in a hoops top takes it as gospel that failure to disclose payment equals cheating.

    This, of course, is just nuts. If giving multiple and undisclosed contracts makes one iota of a improvement to a team’s performance, why haven’t we given them to the national squad in multiples.

    You can just imagine the trepidation with which the Italians, Brazilians and Argentinians would approach us. The mighty Germany would tremble: “Was chance do wir haben against die Schottlander mit Ihren undisclosed contract payments. To quote Christian Dailly – der Schotts sind a bunch of cheating ________”

    Scottish Football = Planet Mental.

  43. Sparkymark says:

    If rangers are not guilty of cheating then why were these payments deliberately hidden from the sfa by rangers director in the first place ???

    1. Bruce says:

      The question no Rangers supporter is able to answer.

  44. Auldheid says:

    Reading this excerpt of the LNS judgement

    “The relevant SPL Rules were designed to promote sporting integrity, by mitigating the risk of IRREGULAR payments to players. Although the payments in this case were NOT themselves irregular and were not in breach of SPL or SFA Rules, the scale and extent of the proven contraventions of the disclosure rules require a substantial penalty to be imposed.”

    it seems to me LNS appears to have accepted the FTT ruling that payments were not “irregular” but has imposed a fine for non disclosure of what must then be “regular” payments.

    If on appeal the payments are deemed irregular, does that negate basis of LNS’s judgement and revive the charge that Rangers did in fact cheat HMRC and Scottish Football?

    If linkage to the FTT exists through LNS judgement then the cheating allegation still depends on the final outcome at UTT.

    The fat lady has still to sing.

    1. Bruce says:

      ‘If on appeal the payments are deemed irregular, does that negate basis of LNS’s judgement and revive the charge that Rangers did in fact cheat HMRC and Scottish Football?’

      Yes. And it exposes the SFA’s interpretation of its own disclosure rules.

  45. Jim Shaw says:

    It must have bern hard for you to write that stuff Alex. No “told you so”, no gloating over stripped titles, no celebrating and back slapping with the likes of Graham Spiers. Only a sour inference that ‘many’ will find the judgement bizarre. The only ‘bizarre’ factors in the whole saga is that the SPL spent over £400,000 pursuing a pointless exercise while HMRC are to be allowed to spend millions of pounds of public money simply because they can’t take it when they get beaten.
    Turn your energies to investigating the real reasons which motivate the individuals pursuing such unjustifiable witch hunts.

  46. Auldheid says:

    Did Mr Bryson inform LNS of his other responsibilities and powers in his evidence? If not, why not?

    http://www.celticquicknews.co.uk/?p=11735&utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

  47. Bruce says:

    So, the rules that apply to every other Scottish football club didn’t apply to Rangers. I’m glad we’ve finally cleared that up.

  48. Proud Scot says:

    Lord Nimmo Smith explodes the myth that club and company are separate entities

    Taken from LNS report

    History
    Rangers Football Club was founded in 1872 as an association football club. It was incorporated in 1899 as The Rangers Football Club Limited. In 2000 the company’s name was changed to The Rangers Football Club Plc, and on 31 July 2012 to RFC 2012 Plc.

    Ergo the CLUB was incorporated as Ltd company and then the name was changed. No mention of any company that owns the club etc.

    However LNS then immediately refers to the Oldco that runs the club; contradicting himself I believe.

  49. steven docherty says:

    if you are found guilty of breaking the rules, surely that’s cheating, fullstop.

  50. Bob Marley says:

    Alex
    Thanks for your interest in this over the year but the LNS judgment also hinges on the legality of the EBT system and that is still the subject of an UTT. Should that court find against Rangers then the case must be re-opened by the SPL/SFA for then Rangers will have been judged to have gained an unfair advantage and will be found to have cheated. Or may be not!

    1. Charlie says:

      Thats what I think to. This verdict will be undermened if the tax appleal is successful.
      whatever happens rangers are tarnished forever.

    2. William MacRitchie says:

      This isn’t a court case – it’s a commission. A commission set up by persons chosen by the SPL using rules and procedures given to them by the SPL. (This is why RFC and Sir David Murray did not accept the commission’s authority.)

      The decision they have come to is not appealable. It is unconditional and categorical.

      And as you may recall, the commission went to considerable lengths before they considered the evidence to say that they were not in any way reliant on or persuadable by the judgment in the Big Tax case.

      So after all that, all we have to worry about is two more seasons of tainted titles and empty green seats and then we’ll be back to normal – with Rangers winning on the field of play. Just like they always have done.

      1. Bruce says:

        The case is appealable. As we were constantly reminded that the SFA was the appelate body so it couldn’t investigate. However, as the verdict hinged on a perverse, suspect and new interpretation of SFA rules it cannot possibly hear any appeal now as it would be looking into its own behaviour. Presumably any appeal would go to the CAS.

      2. William MacRitchie says:

        The commission was set up by the SPL and concerned a breach in SPL rules. The SPL picked the members of the commission. The SPL gave them the rule book.

        They still lost.

        So get up off your knees and stop begging for titles that you lost because you simply were not good enough.

        I know how much sporting integrity means to you guys…

      3. Bruce says:

        Wrong again, Billy. The SFA rules were breached too – remember, they were found guilty.

        The SFA let the SPL take investigate breaches of its rules – ostensibly, claimed the SFA, because it was the appellate body. If the SFA had investigated breaches of its own rules then the appellate body would have been the CAS, which would have left the SFA and Rangers open to scrutiny from a body outside Scotland.

        Rangers were found guilty, so they lost, and only got off with title stripping because of the SFA’s bizarre and perverse interpretation of its rules. This makes the SFA’s role in all this worthy of scrutiny. LNS made it quite clear, Rangers intended to cheat. So those titles are now tainted forever.

        We’re not on our knees, we didn’t go bust. I and many other Celtic supporters made it clear we didn’t want the titles. We wanted to see cheating punished in the appropriate manner. Rangers weren’t good enough to win those titles honestly. That’s why they acted the way they did.

        Perhaps you can answer the question all Rangers supporters have been avoiding – is there any reason, other than to gain a sporting advantage, why Rangers would have behaved the way they did?

  51. alan m says:

    Oh what a tangled web we weaved…..yet it was all an illusion, ………It seems Rangers were right all along ,Nothing more than a witch hunt by bitter twisted little people .

  52. David says:

    OK, firstly, LNS specifically stated the following:

    No cheating.
    Payments were neither illegal nor breached any SPL or SFA rules.
    SFA rules state that once a player is registered, he stays registered until specifically struck from the register. SPL had contended that no registration with them meant ineligibility to play. The SPL & SFA rules PROVE this not to be the case.

    To those who say “more money paid = unfair advantage”. There is not a person on the planet outside of the old Rangers board who can say whether or not Rangers could have afforded to pay the players the same amount with or without EBTs (which have still been held to be legally administered, pending appeal granted, but thus far were legal).

    Rangers reduced potential tax liability the same way as companies and individuals do all the time. Indeed some of those individuals actually work for Celtic….

    As to the “wasted fine” – perhaps if the commission had not delayed so long, the fine COULD have been presented either to Rangers pre admin, or even pre deadline for creditors to BDO.

    The true required investigation required, should Alex decide to continue to report from Scottish Football Land, is into the governance of the game. Who tried to take the titles away as a bargaining chip?

    Indeed, who allowed 11 years of EBTs to be shown freely & clearly without thinking “maybe we should ask them about these…”

    When exactly has Mr E Reilly been on the SPL board since????

    So yes, Rangers were guilty of not submitting paperwork on time. Nimmo Smith held that even if the paperwork HAD been submitted, nothing would have changed on the park, hence no sporting advantage in not submitting.

    Bringing the “sporting integrity” phrase out again this evening though does beggar belief given its previous use by Celtic and others.

    In due course, it may be held in Court that it was Whyte who did the damage, and that Rangers were a victim of crime. How will that set things up?

    Many Celtic fans seem to hate Rangers more than they love their own club, as comments here & elsewhere prove, including the frequent use of the word “h.n”, already held to be sectarian.

    And that is a very sad state of affairs indeed.

    1. Bruce says:

      Have you heard Rangers and The Rangers supporters singing at games? The majority of their songs are about Celtic and Catholicism. At least most of the Celtic support’s songs are about Celtic and Celtic players.

  53. Prince Charles says:

    Given the struggles to overcome much of the 3rd division opposition it is possible they were worried that any further sanctions might impede the club from ever retuning to the top flight!
    It will be much tougher in the 2nd division.
    The 1st division might be as far as they get.

  54. Dougie says:

    I couldn’t believe the judgment when i saw it at first and then I remembered, it was about Rangers and their place in Scottish football and then I thought well it was to be expected! Yes Rangers were guilty os giving pplayers and staff side contracts / second contracts and paying them via EBTs in the form on tax free loans, but no, paying out £47m+ tax free to staff didn’t give them any competitive advantage… except they couldn’t have afforded to pay out those wages for 10 years if they had been paying tax on that level of wages.

    The big surprise was the ruling that hiding the side contracts (on purpose) from the SPL and SFA did not affect whether the players involved were eligible to play or not, as this ruling seems to go against the SPL and SFA’s own rules.

    As a St Mirren fan we once were fined £25k for an honest admin error in one cup game against Spartans. Our crime was we had one unused sub too many who was over 21 and we should have had an under 21 player in their place sitting as an unused sub instead. We derived no competitive advantage from having one ‘overage’ / ineligible player sitting as an unused substitute for the whole game but we were stil fined £25k which was reduced to £12k on appeal. Since then Dunfermline were temporarily thrown out the cup for fielding 1 ineligible player in part of a cup game, and managed to appeal that decision. Spartans were thrown out the cup for the same reason a couple of seasons ago.

    Rangers have had entire squads full of players with side contracts, where their board deliberately decided not to disclose the existence of side contracts, (and as recently as the last year were ever denying the existence of side contracts!) and have played for a decade with teams full of ineligible players in the league, league cup, Scottish Cup and European games. Their punishment is a financial penalty which is only 10x bigger than the one handed out to St mirren for one honest admin error over 1 unused sub in 1 cup game. Rangers ‘crime’ probably stretched to between 400-500 games over a decade where dozens of players with side contracts were used and sometimes entire starting Xi’s were populated with players who had had side contracts.

    The only bright cloud on the horizon is that Lord Nimmo-Smith’s ruling does seem quite happy to declare that players and other staff were being paid for their duties at the football club via EBTs in tax free loans, and the only reason why rangers won the Big Tax Case (round one) on a split decision was that they argued that the loans were just loans and weren’t part of any contractual payments related to the players performance in footballing matters. Here’s hoping HMRC milk that bit of the verdict for all it is worth when the Big Tax Case (round two) appeal gets heard.

  55. Dougie says:

    And the other thing that bugs me, is when St Mirren were fined £25k and it got reduced to £12k on appeal that was at a time when we were having to sell our ground to clear our debt and fans stumped up the money because the club were genuinely struggling to find the money to pay out a £12k fine for 1 ineligible unused substitute. We were fined and expected to pay our fine.

    When it comes to Rangers we have an inquiry which has cost £500k to hold, dishing out a £250k fine for 10 years of rule breaking and then saying but we don’t actually expect Rangers to pay a penny of their fine… it is almost as absurd as expecting an Ibrox employee to ever want to pay back £1 of their tax free EBT loans which of course never had anything to do with being paid for anything to do with football!

    One rule for Rangers, one rule for everybody else. Maybe by the 22nd century this will have changed?

  56. Douglas says:

    Rangers used EBTs from 2000 to 2011. If, as the terminally deluded on here claim, that gave them an unfair advantage on the field of play,why,during that time did Rangers only win 5 titles? Surely with the massive advantage of not telling the SPL that some players were benefitting from a legal tax avoidance scheme, more titles should have been won?

  57. joe bloggs says:

    This is the final nail in Scottish footballs coffin, the ruling on this is a joke to say there is no advantage in signing seasoned internationals to play for your team is at best missguided and at worst fraudulent.
    Court case
    Blue Boy:Yes ma lud using the top brains and experts from all over the world I broke into the house and stole the silverware,
    Judge: oh well here is a fine you dont have to pay and yes you can keep the silverware
    I rest my case

  58. worth reading says:

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