THE Scottish Premier League revealed last night that it has investigated Celtic’s use of an employee benefit trust (EBT) and is satisfied that no rules were breached.
EBTs typically involve an employer depositing money in a trust, which is paid out to beneficiaries in the form of tax-free loans but such payments should not be made on a contractual basis, as it would make them part of an employee’s salary
and subject to tax and National Insurance.
It was announced yesterday that an independent commission, appointed by the SPL, will begin a hearing into Rangers’ alleged use of dual contracts
during the period (2001-2010) they used EBTs for players on 13 November.
In a radio interview this week, Rangers owner Charles Green claimed “more than two” SPL clubs have used EBTs but would “rather not say” who they were.
The SPL last night responded to those claims, while confirming no action will be taken against Celtic amid reports of an EBT being in use while Brazilian midfielder Juninho was at the club. The league concluded the Parkhead club’s scheme was legal and above board.
A statement from the SPL read: “The Scottish Premier League notes the recent statement by Charles Green suggesting that a number of other clubs may have used EBTs.
“If anyone has any evidence that any SPL Rule has been broken by any club in relation to the use of EBTs, they should pass that evidence to the SPL or to the Scottish FA so that their claims may be investigated.
“Separately, we have seen reports regarding an EBT in relation to a former player of Celtic FC. The SPL has investigated the arrangements and documentation in that case and has determined that there is no evidence of any breach of SPL Rules. The SPL has therefore decided that no further action should be taken.”
With regards the alleged undisclosed payments by Rangers, the SPL-appointed commission revealed it will proceed with its inquiry next month after considering all the preliminary issues over two days of initial meetings.
The three-man panel was appointed following initial assessment of EBT transactions to Rangers players from 2000 to 2011 under the previous Ibrox regime, which could breach SPL rules on declaring all payments in contracts.
Rangers have already refused to co-operate and did not attend the initial hearings which took place on Tuesday and yesterday.
The hearing will continue from day to day as required until 16 November, with additional dates of 20 and 21 November also allocated should any further continuation be required.
Solicitors for the SPL have been directed to lodge any additional documents, together with an outline argument and a list of witnesses, by 4pm on 19 October.
Oldco and Newco Rangers have been told to lodge their own documents, outline argument and a list of witnesses by 4pm on 1 November.
A statement released by the SPL read: “The commission has considered all the preliminary issues raised in the list submitted by Newco and points raised in letters from solicitors acting for Newco and for Oldco.
“It has decided the commission will proceed with its inquiry in the terms of the Notice of Commission and will now set a date for a hearing and give
“Oldco and Rangers FC, who are named in the Issues contained in the Notice of Commission and alleged to have been in breach of SPL rules, will continue to have the right to appear and be represented at all hearings of the commission and to make such submissions as they think fit.
“Newco, as the current owner and operator of Rangers FC, although not alleged by the SPL to have committed any breach of SPL Rules, will also have the right to appear and be represented at all hearings of the commission and to make such submissions as it thinks fit.”
Meanwhile, Rangers manager Ally McCoist hopes to secure Lee McCulloch and Neil Alexander on new deals over the next couple of months.
McCulloch and Alexander are out of contract at the end of this season and McCoist said: “There has been nothing planned yet, but it goes without saying that they are players who are very valuable to the team and the club. I would imagine in the next couple of months or so that their representatives will be sitting down with the club to discuss extensions to their contracts.
“Hopefully, from their point of view and from our point of view, we can do good business.”