Dave King hits back at Celtic over Rangers '˜big tax case'

Rangers chairman Dave King has accused Celtic of trying to achieve victories off the pitch which their players could not manage on it as he claimed the oldco Ibrox club received no benefit from their discredited tax avoidance scheme.
Rangers chairman Dave King. Picture: John DevlinRangers chairman Dave King. Picture: John Devlin
Rangers chairman Dave King. Picture: John Devlin

King, a former oldco Rangers director, argued the club would still have signed all the players that received Employee Benefit Trust payments even if they had not used the scheme for much of the first decade of this century.

The claim was in direct contradiction to former chairman Sir David Murray’s recent assertion in court that EBTs “gave us an opportunity to get players that we perhaps would not be able to afford”.

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Calls for Rangers to be stripped of titles won during the EBT years have intensified after five Supreme Court judges unanimously ruled that Rangers should have paid tax on about £50 million in payments made to dozens of players and other staff.

Celtic quickly stated that they expected the Scottish football authorities to review the case - a 2013 commission appointed by the Scottish Premier League and led by judge Lord Nimmo Smith ruled that Rangers received “no unfair competitive advantage” after failing to disclose “side letters” detailing the contentious payments, in breach of SPL rules. Sporting sanctions were ruled out but Rangers were fined £250,000 for the disclosure breaches.

In a lengthy statement on the Rangers website, King said: “The Celtic board issued a statement agitating for a re-opening and reversal of the decisions previously made when, in fact, nothing has changed.

“It is disappointing that they have attempted to influence the footballing authorities to alter its historic football honours by calling on administrators and lawyers to achieve off the pitch what its teams failed to do on the pitch.

“As an investor and board member during the period of the so-called benefit I can categorically assure all supporters that the club received no benefit whatsoever. The opposite is true as the effect on the club was wholly negative.”