20 Mar 2012

Former Rangers director: ‘payments weren’t declared’

At 86 former Rangers director Hugh Adam may be hard of hearing, but hard of recollection and understanding he most definitely is not.

Meeting at his house just outside Glasgow for his first TV interview since the current Rangers implosion began, he is precise in what he wants to say. He’s made notes in preparation for our visit.

After some time on camera it becomes clear Mr Adam wants to go significantly further than in a couple of previous, ground breaking interviews with the Daily Mail.

He already told that paper that there were, double contracts to pay players under the so-called Employee Benefit Trusts (EBTs) introduced by Sir David Murray who lavishly expanded Rangers on borrowed money until its spectacular collapse and sale for £1.

Murray flatly denies double contracts, saying there were just discretionary payments.

But speaking to Channel 4 News Hugh Adam goes further.

He’s clear that these other payments to players were not declared to the football authorities the Scottish FA (SFA) and Scottish Premier League (SPL): “No I ‘m quite sure they didn’t declare them. I’m quite sure. The SFA isn’t pure in all this you know either. If something was put in front of them they’d have to examine it.  It’s not a standard business.”

The SFA says it followed the rule book and denies wrong doing (blog to follow).

Now until the SPL inquiry is complete we don’t know whether or not the payments were declared. If they weren’t every player Rangers fielded with out telling the SFA/SPL full details of their money, would be ineligible and Rangers have to forfeit the match 3 – 0 to the other side. A lot of silverware in Govan could end up being moved and re-engraved. But like I say, it is all an if at the moment, assuming the SPL can be trusted competently to investigate itself in effect, over all this.

Is it cheating, I ask: “It is. It is. But in football it’s standard practice. I mean it’s not serious cheating in that they were not putting money into their own pockets. The point is nobody really knew it was going on. You were a director and that was because you wanted to get a seat in the directors’ box.”

And he paints a bizarre picture of life at Ibrox across the past fifteen years or more. A club where few – if any – of the directors were, he says, interested in directing Rangers at all. Everyone more or less happy to leave things to Sir David Murray and hop along to Ibrox to enjoy the box and the hospitality and that was really the meaning of being a director at Ranger PLC and that was it, beginning, middle and end. On that Hugh Adam is quite open.

Of the EBT scheme itself he confirms again there were other payments made to players but nobody knew much and nobody asked.

All in all it paints a strangely autocratic picture of a football club that was for some time expanding, winning and living the football dream. Sir David Murray came, expanded the business, talked big then crashed and burned

And all the while everyone just seemed prepared to go along with the dream on borrowed time and a vary large amount of borrowed money.

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