THE CHARITIES watchdog has criticised the Rangers Charity Foundation after it was revealed that cash collected from a fundraising football match went to the club instead.
The game between Rangers Legends and the AC Milan Glorie was played after the Ibrox side entered administration, with a fundraising dinner included.
However, complaints were lodged after it transpired that nearly £200,000 went directly to the club, and not the charity.
The Scottish Charity Regulator ruled that the decision to allocate the sum to the club ‘constituted misconduct’ but decided not to take action against those involved.
The report details the involvement of three trustees of the Foundation, all of whom were employed by, or held senior roles at Ibrox.
One of the trustees told administrators Duff and Phelps of the club’s intention to provide support for the dinner and the match, and according to the report was conerned that the administrators would block the match from going ahead if it was not in the club’s creditors’ interest.
The trustee agreed to hand over control of the match’s income to Duff and Phelps so that Rangers could recover costs.
Prior to this decision, 60 per cent of the net profit along with a £25,000 management fee had been earmarked for the Rangers Charity Foundation, but the decision to hand control to the administrators led to the charity only receiving ten per cent of the profit - less than £40,000 - and the management fee.
This meant over £191,000 that had been intended as charity donations went to Duff and Phelps.
The regulator said in the ruling: “The charity’s decision-making process, which allowed important decisions to be made by one trustee acting alone, was in breach of trustees’ duties and constituted misconduct on the part of the charity trustees as a whole.”
The regulator added that since the the charity had been set up, there had been an ‘inherent conflict of interest’ because of the link between trustees and the club.
“In addition, the conflict of interest presented by the assignation was not managed appropriately and professional advice was not obtained as required by the charity’s trust deed.
“Having looked carefully at the whole situation, the regulator has not found that the ongoing risks to charitable assets or to the reputation of the sector justify taking action against any of the trustees.”
In a statement on the Rangers website, the charity foundation said that they would have lost over £12,000 ‘in pre-paid deposits and our ability to generously support worthy causes up and down the country would have undoubtedly suffered as a result’.
The statement continues: “Extensive legal advice has been sought by the Foundation during the last year in order to enable new trustees to be appointed and new aspects of governance to be established.
“These actions, which are now concluded, were an inevitable consequence of the situation faced by the Foundation following the changed circumstances of the Club - whether or not an investigation by OSCR had been opened.
“Whilst it is regrettable that the Foundation was never party to the premise or nature of the original complaints made to OSCR ... the Foundation believes that supporters of the Foundation can be reassured that the Rangers Charity Foundation was and continues to be a force for good sustained in large part by the loyal support of the Rangers Family.”