According to the Rangers website, the charity match between Rangers Legends and AC Milan Glorie raised £280,000 for the club, with £170,000 going to the two charitable organisations, namely the Rangers Charity Foundation and AC Milan’s Charity.
STV reported on 6th March that the game had:-
“originally been organised to raise funds for the Rangers Charity Foundation, which was going to receive 60% of all money gathered by the game on March 30. The charity, which has donated more than £2.3m to various causes since it was set up in 2002, has reduced the amount it will take from the game to 10%, meaning the majority of the money raised will go to the club, which is currently in administration.”
As I said in each of the pieces above, the work of the Rangers Charity Foundation is much to be admired, and one hopes it continues, no matter what happens to Rangers. Despite what some doom-mongers have said, as the RCF is a separate entity from the football club, it is possible for the charity to continue, even if the football team ceased. As one of my friends pointed out to me, the Earl Haig Fund continued for many years after the noble lord passed away, and indeed still continues under another title.
However, it was my understanding from the above STV piece, and other information I read, much of that from the rangers.co.uk website, that the RCF was originally due 60% of the revenues from the game and had reduced this to 10%. Therefore, as 10%+40%=50%, one might expect that the total payment to charity would equal the share taken by Rangers. However, £280,000 does not equal £170,000.
If the proportions described above are correct, in terms of the distribution inter charities, then the Milan charity will have received £136,000 and the RCF £34,000. However, 40% of the total revenue of £450,000 = £180,000. 60% of the total = £270,000.
From the figures produced therefore, it would appear that the RCF has given up income of £236,000 to assist a commercial organisation, whilst even Milan has received less than the share expected originally.
Of course the unique circumstances Rangers are in meant, no doubt, that the crowd for the game of 47,000 was higher than it would otherwise have been, but still there seems to be a huge disparity in the figures. The fans who turned out should also be commended for their support both of the club at these trying times, and of the charitable purpose of the game.
I am sure however that the appropriate agreements were reached with the responsible officers of at least one of the charities. I would not expect D&P to have underpaid the charities.
Bearing in mind the problems for a charity related to Plymouth Argyle, referred to in my Scotzine piece linked above caused by it lending the club money, it is clear that the charity regulators are conscious that charity funds, or funds intended for charitable purposes, can be used inappropriately.
That is NOT to say that funds have been used inappropriately here. That is a matter for the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator to attend to, presumably as part of its ongoing investigation.
One would expect a major organisation like Rangers, even in administration, to have taken suitable advice to endure that it was complying with the law, especially as the issue was flagged up well in advance. As I mentioned in my previous pieces, there is no suggestion that tickets were sold for what was to be a charity match and then, after the sales, the nature of the game changed. The “duping” of the fans buying the tickets is not the issue however.
The Duff & Phelps receipts and payments account states that the costs paid out from 14th February until 30th March (the date of the game) were £6,634.
The VAT received on the ticket sales is presumably included in the £203,748 of VAT payable recorded in the D&P figures. Tickets were sold for the price of £12, which would have been the original £10 VAT exempt fee plus £2 VAT. Therefore the VAT received would have been around £90,000.
So, what have we got, at the end of the day?
The RCF benefits to the tune of £34,000. The AC Milan Charity Foundation benefits to the tune of £136,000.
£170,000 going to charity is always a good thing.
However, the question for the OSCR is whether the Rangers Charity Foundation has acted appropriately.
As far as D&P running the game and making a donation from the receipts, their powers as administrators would permit such an act, as the net effect for the club is financially positive.
So we come back to the RCF.
The issue, over and above the match itself, is one of governance of the charity.
The Trustees, who have legal responsibility for running the charity, and personal legal liability, both financially and under the criminal law, are Craig Whyte, Martin Bain, John Greig and Jacqueline Gourlay.
Bearing in mind the issues between three of the Trustees, one wonders when they last met.
How did the Trustees decide to change the nature of the charity match, which presumably was governed by some form of contract with Rangers?
Is it the case that the Trustees have not met, and therefore the management of the Charity has been left to staff? If so, then they are to be commended for keeping the organisation going, but the legal responsibility rests on the Trustees, and cannot be delegated. (Or at least the Trustees cannot evade their responsibilities by passing them to paid staff).
Mr Whyte is Chairman of the Trustees ex officio his capacity as Chairman of Rangers. Has the administration of the club changed that?
When did Messrs Bain and Greig last participate in a meeting of Trustees?
To conclude, the Rangers Charity Foundation is an excellent and valuable body. However, the appearance to the outside world is that there has been no “hand on the tiller” as a result of the differences between some of the Trustees.
It may well be that the gentlemen in question have been able to put personal and litigious differences aside to meet as the Trustees, in which case the governance issues will be reduced if not eliminated.
But the final two questions which I am sure the OSCR will be looking at are:-
(a) How did the Trustees of the RCF decide to give up their share of the proceeds from the Charity match in favour of a commercial organisation? And
(b) Have the Trustees been meeting to fulfil their legal duties in connection with the administration of the Charity and its funds?
We shall see, no doubt in the fullness of time.
Posted by Paul McConville