Rangers say they will not attend SPL’s EBT inquiry
RANGERS have refused to co-operate with the Scottish Premier League inquiry into alleged undisclosed payments to players by a previous Ibrox regime.
• Charles Green says SPL has no legal authority over Rangers
• Hearing set for tomorrow in probe over use of tax avoidance scheme to pay players
Chief executive Charles Green last night announced the club would not attend the opening hearings of the SPL-appointed independent commission into the matter, due to take place today and tomorrow.
Green said in a statement: “The club cannot continue to participate in an SPL process that we believe is fundamentally misconceived.”
In a lengthy statement, Green accused the SPL of hypocrisy and insisted they had no legal authority over his Irn-Bru Third Division club. Green questioned the independence of the three-man panel, which is chaired by Lord Nimmo Smith and includes two QCs, and threatened legal action if SPL titles are stripped from Rangers.
The commission, due to hold procedural hearings this week but not hear evidence, was appointed following initial assessment of Employee Benefit Trust transactions to Rangers players from 2000 to 2011, which could breach SPL rules over declaring payments in contracts. Green’s company bought the assets and business of the soon-to-be liquidated oldco Rangers and secured the club’s SFA membership but was denied entry to the SPL.
“The club ceased to be subject to the SPL’s rules when it was ejected from its league,” he said. “Our lawyers have made that point repeatedly to the SPL in correspondence and yet our requests for an explanation from the SPL have been completely ignored. The SPL’s silence on these issues is deafening. The outcome of the SPL’s process will have no legal effect.”
Green, who said the decision was approved unanimously by the board and manager Ally McCoist, added: “Despite this, the SPL now see the new owners of the company, and the new company itself, which owns all the assets of Rangers FC – including SPL championship titles – as fair game for punishment for matters that have nothing to do with us at all. And let’s be very clear about what this commission is. Although the SPL goes to great lengths to emphasise the independence of its commission, the commission is not independent of the SPL. It has been appointed by the SPL. It follows SPL rules and its process is managed by SPL staff. I don’t question the impartiality of the individual panel members but whatever decision they reach is a decision of the SPL.”
Green added: “To make it crystal clear, the new owners purchased all the business and assets of Rangers, including titles and trophies. Any attempt to undermine or diminish the value of those assets will be met with the stiffest resistance, including legal recourse.” Green claimed Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs approached the SPL about EBTs in October 2010 and questioned why the football authorities did not act then.
He added: “What compounds the breathtaking hypocrisy of the SPL in this whole saga, is that the SFA, the SPL and us took part in numerous discussions regarding the new company’s league status during which it was made clear that a deal was there to be done where ‘the EBT issue’ would be dealt with as part of a package of sanctions which would be implemented in return for membership of the SFA and a place in either the SPL or Division One.”
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Tuesday 21 May 2013
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