Rangers Big Tax Case: Club 1872 threaten legal challenge if Celtic benefit

Rangers fan group Club 1872 have had their say on the Big Tax Case. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire
Rangers fan group Club 1872 have had their say on the Big Tax Case. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire
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Rangers fan group Club 1872 have issued a statement warning the SPFL that they will mount a legal challenge if they “do decide to act for the benefit of Celtic”, following the verdict of the final Big Tax Case on Wednesday.

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The group, who have the second largest shareholding in Rangers, have also warned media commentators that they will boycott publications “whose journalists misreport the facts of the matter”.

Celtic released a statement calling for the Scottish football authorities to review the use of Employee Benefit Trusts (EBTs) by Rangers following the ruling by the Supreme Court in which they found in favour of HMRC, after a final appeal by liquidators BDO over Rangers’ use of Employee Benefit Trusts.

The SFA have said they will take “any further disciplinary action” having sought legal counsel, while the SPFL will take time to “consider any implications”.

The issue surrounds a dispute over a total of nearly £50 million in payments made to Rangers players and staff between 2001 and 2009.

Much has been said and written with regards to further punishment for Rangers, with much noise surrounding “stripping the titles.”

Club 1872 spoke of a “desire in certain quarters for Scottish football to eat itself alive” in their statement and they would challenge any decision which would see further punishment bestowed upon the club.

READ MORE - Rangers Big Tax Case verdict: Celtic call for review in statement

It read: “Club 1872 has taken some time to consider the verdict in the ‘Big Tax Case’ (BTC) as we wanted to gauge the immediate reaction of sections of the media, Scottish football clubs, their supporters groups and the Scottish football authorities. That reaction has been, in the main, as hysterical, inaccurate and agenda driven as we expected. It appears there is still a desire in certain quarters for Scottish football to eat itself alive.

“Contrary to the line taken by several dishonest media commentators, encouraged predominantly by Peter Lawwell and Celtic Football Club, this result does not mean that Rangers have “broken the law”, “acted illegally”, “cheated” or gained any sporting advantage through the historic use of EBT payments.

“The Lord Nimmo Smith tribunal dealt comprehensively with this matter and, as the SFA has correctly reiterated, is final and binding.

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“Despite this, we remain concerned that the SPFL board may attempt to act on behalf of Celtic in this matter. It is our belief that a small number of other SPFL clubs, including Aberdeen and Dundee Utd, would like to see them do so. We are also aware that historically the SPFL lawyer, Rod McKenzie has taken an extremely hostile attitude towards Rangers Football Club which we do not believe is founded in his legal opinions.

“Should it be the case that the SPFL do decide to act for the benefit of Celtic, then the clubs represented on that board should be aware that Club 1872, and we are sure Rangers Football Club and the wider Rangers support, will use every legal means necessary to challenge those who promote, support or facilitate such a course of action.

“That will include, but not be limited to, mounting a legal challenge to the SPFL, boycotting publications whose journalists misreport the facts of the matter and demanding SPFL and SFA investigations into any and all dubious actions by those clubs over the period of the last 50 years.

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“The investigations we will demand specifically involve, but are not limited to, the actions of several boards, individual board members and employees of Celtic Football Club, across a variety of issues which have been in the public domain for many years but never properly addressed by the football authorities.

“We will also demand that the football authorities open multiple investigations and examine in public, and in detail, all deals which allowed Scottish football clubs to write off their debts and the fit and proper status of all majority and joint owners of SPFL clubs. We will not be lectured on integrity, sporting or otherwise, by the clubs involved.

“The last time there was an attempt to steal our titles, those involved operated in an environment where Rangers and the Rangers support were in a state of turmoil. The focus of our support was in removing various unsavoury characters from within our own club. That will not be the case this time and any clubs, club officials and commentators involved in any such dishonest and self-serving campaign will be met by wide-ranging, robust, legal and economic challenges at every step of the way.

“It would be our preference for Scottish football to return to a more normalised condition where sporting endeavour on the pitch is the source of rivalry between clubs. If that is not the wish of the wider Scottish footballing community then they will find us to be extremely committed opponents nonetheless.

“54 and counting.”

READ MORE - Rangers Big Tax Case verdict: Supreme Court rules in favour of HMRC