SPL Independent Commission and Rangers FC – Some Questions Answered

Last night I posted details of the SPL Independent Commission process which will be used to deal with the Rangers FC “dual contract” investigation.

In light of a few comments, and me thinking about the issue when awake, as opposed to writing it when asleep, I thought I would add a few more thoughts.

Topics considered:-

Naming the Commissioners;

If there is an Appeal, is the SFA Appellate Tribunal Restricted in what it can do?

 What Penalty Might Be Imposed?

Why the Defiance about losing titles has been a brilliant tactical stroke by the Rangers FC


“Name The Guilty Men!”

Already the clamour has started amongst supporters of the Rangers FC for the members of the Independent Commission to be named.

I do not think that it is the intention of the SPL to keep them secret, although the clamour from alleged supporters of the Ibrox team before led to reports of threats being made to members of the Judicial Panel which penalised Rangers FC for bringing the game into disrepute, and to the clubs to which members of the Panel were connected.

That of course was against a backcloth of Mr McCoist demanding to know who these people were, even though his employer had approved the names of the Panel before the hearings took place, and his colleagues from the club had sat in the hearing in front of the Panel whilst the case was debated, argued and determined.

The SFA procedure is to nominate members of the Commission from its “taxi rank” and the participants have a peremptory challenge open to them to reject a panel member sitting, without the need to give a reason. I would anticipate that the SPL would operate similarly.

Therefore the Rangers FC will have been notified of the members of the Commission, and given the right to object.

That fact will, I suspect, not stop the demands for “transparency and clarity” being repeated.

To be frank, after the nonsense which happened previously, it is likely that some of the members of the taxi rank might decide not to accept nomination to this Commission. Becoming a hate figure for the fans of the Rangers FC, amongst its enormous ranks of hate figures already, is not something many people would choose to do voluntarily.

It is simply not worth the hassle.

Will the official channels at Ibrox make any comment on the matter – there has been none so far…

If there is an Appeal, is the SFA Appellate Tribunal Restricted in what it can do?

Some have suggested that if the SPL Independent Commission find Rangers FC guilty, and imposed, for example, a registration embargo, this could not be upheld by an SFA Appellate Tribunal. This would be, the argument goes, that the SFA Tribunal was told by Lord Glennie that it was ultra vires to impose and uphold a registration embargo as a penalty for bringing the game into disrepute.

However this is to misunderstand the nature of what Lord Glennie decided. It was not that, in no circumstances, was the Appellate Tribunal barred from imposing a registration embargo. Instead it was a decision that, under the SFA disciplinary rules, there was no power to impose a registration embargo for the relevant offences.

If Rangers FC is found guilty by the Independent Commission, and an appeal goes to the Appellate Tribunal, then this will be to consider whether, under the rules of the SPL, the appropriate penalty has been imposed. It is clear from the list of penalties, which I have copied below, that a registration embargo is intra vires of the Commission.

Accordingly an SFA Appellate Tribunal could legitimately uphold such a sanction.

Indeed, in the event that there was an appeal to the Appellate Tribunal, it could substitute a registration embargo as a penalty if it considered the sanction imposed by the Commission to be inappropriate.

Such an appeal sees the Tribunal dealing with the matter under the SPL’s rules, and not those of the SFA. Therefore Lord Glennie’s findings are irrelevant to any appeal which might arise here.

 What Penalty Might Be Imposed?

This is of course on the premise that the Rangers FC is found guilty of wrongdoing.

The following is a list of the nineteen different penalties open to the Commission:-

1 warning as to future conduct;

2 reprimand;

3 a fine;

4 annul the result of an Official Match;

5 order that an Official Match be replayed;

6 impose a deduction of points;

7 award an Official Match (with such deemed score as it thinks appropriate) to a Club;

8 order the playing of an Official Match or Matches behind closed doors;

9 order the closure of all or part of a Stadium for such period and for such purposes as it thinks appropriate;

10 order the playing of an Official Match or Matches at such Stadium as it thinks appropriate;

11 subject to Rule G6.3, order that a Club be expelled from the League;

12 withdraw or withhold the award of a title or award;

13 order any Club, Club Official or Player to pay compensation to any Club, Player, person or party;

14 order any Club, Club Official or Player to comply with any obligation or direction;

15 cancel or refuse the Registration of any Player Registered or attempted to be Registered;

16 order that a Club concerned be debarred from Registering Players for such period as it thinks appropriate;

17 order that any person, persons or group of persons be prohibited from attending at such Official Match or Matches and for such period as it thinks appropriate;

18 make such other direction, sanction or disposal, not expressly provided for in these Rules, as it shall think appropriate; and/or

19 make such order as to expenses, including the expenses of the Board and/or, as the case may be, Commission and/or other party, as it thinks appropriate.

Player registrations and proper recording of payments to them are vital elements of football governance. For many years it has been clear that even innocent errors in the process can result in draconian penalties, as the number of teams removed from cup competitions for playing an ineligible player can testify.

Should the Commission find the Rangers FC to have, over many years, engaged in a process of not declaring to the SFA payments to its players for football related activities, then this would be off the scale in terms of seriousness.

Of course the Commission could take the view that the Rangers FC “had been punished enough” by being in SFL3, with all of the financial consequences that brings. That argument for Rangers FC would be dented, I suspect, by the way in which SPL level players are being signed to play in SFL3 on salaries which no team in Scotland, other than Celtic, could compete with. It would be akin to a person turning up at court in their brand new Rolls Royce and pleading that they should not be fined as they had no cash left!

If guilty of offences over a prolonged period, then I think that fines, warnings and reprimands would be seen as far too lenient.

Equally, whilst it might be of interest, and indeed could generate money for Scottish football, if games from 10 years ago were ordered to be replayed, that will not happen.

Why the Defiance about losing titles has been a brilliant tactical stroke by the Rangers FC

Realistically therefore the likely sanctions will relate to the historical record, I think. The “history” has been made out to be very important to the club and the support. This could be a very clever tactical move, even if not designed as such.

If past titles did not matter, then stripping them is of little effect.

If, for example, I was told that my certificate from the Burns Society for reciting Scots Wha Hae’ in Primary 7 was to be stripped from me for use of performance-enhancing haggis, then it would not really bother me, I suspect.

From a business point of view, it would be far better for a verdict stripping titles than for a massive fine to be levied now. The Schrodinger’s cat nature of the Rangers FC would surely be prayed in aid by Mr Green and his backers. After all, they might argue, how is it fair to punish a corporate entity which came into being long after the misdeeds took place?

Whilst too the Rangers fans would not support Mr Green accepting such penalties, if instead they are imposed by an SPL and approved by an SFA seen as being vehemently opposed to their club, this would work to the advantage of Mr Green. He can then fight the case all the way, to his credit with the support, but apart from the financial costs of doing so, with little or no real effect.

This therefore has the potential for being beneficial to Mr Green. His team’s support will treat such a verdict as further proof of the “hatred” of the football authorities towards them.

They will still claim to have won their 54 titles, no matter what the record books might be altered to say.

The decision which would be “brave” (in the way that Sir Humphrey would terrify Jim Hacker by saying a move was “Brave”) would be to remove titles and to order the Rangers FC to repay prize money to teams who had lost out as a result of the misdeeds of Rangers.

The sums involved would however be of such a level that Mr Green could fairly claim that the team would be bankrupted again, and potentially, even though his organisation has accepted the rights of the SPL to pursue this enquiry, I suspect that some of his major investors might take issue with it.

Indeed they could argue that they were being unfairly deprived of their Human Rights by having the value of their property misappropriated without due process!


 Posted by Paul McConville


Filed under Charles Green, Football, Football Governance, Rangers, SFA, SPL, Uncategorized

70 responses to “SPL Independent Commission and Rangers FC – Some Questions Answered

  1. Sepia

    As I remember it, the registration ban was applied under the heading “or other appropriate penalty…”. I still cannot understand why Lord G threw it out. What was inappropriate about it? Have I got this all wrong?

  2. Ernesider

    Very good Paul as usual

    “Schrödinger’s cat is a thought experiment, sometimes described as a paradox, devised by Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger in 1935. It illustrates what he saw as the problem of the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics applied to everyday objects. The scenario presents a cat that might be alive or dead, depending on an earlier random event.”

    I hope that is clear to everyone? If not I have always felt that there are some things in life that can be enjoyed without being fully understood. In fact might be better enjoyed for not being understood fully.

    • ecojon


      Why use a cat – they could use me as some days I wonder on some sites whether I am alive or dead 🙂

      • Stuart

        The point of the experiment isn’t that Schrodingers’ cat might be dead or alive. The theory claims to prove that the cat is both dead AND alive at the same time.

      • Ernesider

        On the subject of cats there is a financial term known as:

        ‘Dead cat bounce’

        In economics, a dead cat bounce is a small, brief recovery in the price of a declining stock. Derived from the idea that “even a dead cat will bounce if it falls from a great height”

        Do you think it has any relevance in Rangers case?

  3. Robert D Bruce


    I agree that Mr Green is playing a cute wee game. If I was in his position I’d be playing the same one. The RFC fans will never accept the loss of titles no matter what the SPL / SFA say and how the records are amended therefore he can curry favour by fighting their corner during the panel and appeal process and then declare RFC unhappy with the verdict whilst having no option but to accept it.

    The financial aspects of the case will be very complicated and I suspect most clubs will forgo the battle to have them apportioned appropriately at this distance and will be wary having been through the “financial meltdown” arguments, to demand payment from RFC or the SPL. While it would be nice it is impractical.

    Title, Scottish Cup, League Cup stripping will be all that most will accept.

  4. michaeljamesroy

    Thanks for clarifying that Paul. It makes sense now, to the extent that these things ever can 🙂

    To really terrify the likes of Hacker, though, a decision would be described as “heroic, Minister” by a Civil Servant (to paraphrase a John Swinney after dinner speech). I think the outcome you describe would be beyond brave to be close to ‘heroic’ status!

    Oh, and hats off for “performance-enhancing haggis”. Raised a wry smile here.

  5. Jono

    Slightly off topic, but is there any news about B&D’s liquidation process, and the removal of D&P?

    • JT

      As I recall Lord Hodge said he didn’t want the administration to end until he had considered D and Ps report on whether they had a conflict. I don’t remember seeing him issue any comments on it so presumably we are awaiting that before the liquidation begins?

  6. George Murray

    Paul – surely, as I have suggested elsewhere, the stripping of titles in the event of proven serious misdemeanours is a given – sanctions should follow later?

  7. You have a slight problem here in the fact that most have applied a verdict and punishment before the trial, so to speak. This is not uncommon by any means in society; indeed we currently have the ‘Batman killer’ a stick on for ol’ sparky before any questions are answered on his sanity.

    Justice is justice, but justice should never be discussed until a complete verdict reached as the crime is only punishable upon its findings.

    As for removal of titles, cups etc….laddyda…..really, it is so massively unimportant now that the horse has bolted it becomes nothing more than a paperwork exercise. So what is lost or gained, gloating rights? because that is the only thing that will possibly come of it.

    This talk of financial rehabilitation for clubs that have lost out on European places etc. is utter tosh – first of all, because it is a mathematical nightmare to predict, even with hindsight – what the outcome would be and second of all, a lawyers dream.

    If ‘Rangers’ are found foul to have broken any rules then fine – strip them of honours if it makes everyone happy. Anyone that has used an EBT at any time should see their club stripped of honours (ANY CLUB) that were won during that time. End of story.

    It is neigh time this whole sorry saga is put to bed – some stories are just worth ending because the outcome will never keep everyone happy. End the whole sorry saga and get on with playing football because as it stands, there is a game in this country that could potentially go down the tubes – not because of Rangers 3rd division placement – but because of the sorry state that it has allowed itself to become.

    This summer has seen issue after issue that, although provided for some healthy debate – has made the game a complete laughing stock and verging on bringing itself into disrepute through its constant failings and meanders from taking honest and serious decisions both quickly and decisively

    • Ernesider


      George said:
      ‘the stripping of titles in the event of proven serious misdemeanours is a given’

      You wrote:
      ‘ Justice is justice, but justice should never be discussed until a complete verdict reached as the crime is only punishable upon its findings.’

      But you then go on to give your opinion on possible sanctions, in the event of guilt being established, just as George has done.


      • Not quite – perhaps i should put this in context. Everyone on here, Myself, George – you, we can all give opinions and are more than entitled to do so. If we did not then there would be little point in the creation of such a website.

        When i said at the start we have a ‘problem’; what i was referring to was the fact that there has been a commission set-up to discuss and provide sanctions when as of yet – we await the outcome of the tax tribunal to confirm that there was any problem with legality in the first place.

        That there is a problem.

        What George wants, what i want and what you want is neither here nor there – the authorities must be seen to act without favour and as of the creation of such a commission; a blurred line is forming.

        Although it has been easy to criticise the governing bodies for their failings: mainly for being ‘reactive’ rather than ‘proactive’ – at times ‘reactive’ is the only way to deal with situations and setting up an independent panel to investigate and apply sanctions for a matter that is still at large as a legal matter is not it – in my humble opinion.

    • ecojon


      There are bits I might agree with in what you say but at the end of the day as I have already stated here – Rangers willingly bought the history of oldco.

      You say: ‘As for removal of titles, cups etc….laddyda…..really, it is so massively unimportant now that the horse has bolted it becomes nothing more than a paperwork exercise. So what is lost or gained, gloating rights? because that is the only thing that will possibly come of it.’

      That is what I can’t agree with. It is much more than a paperwork exercise or gloating rights it is about fair play and justice for clubs which follow that ethos and punishment for those who transgress it.

      I don’t know if you know but all Olympic athlete drug tests are now going to be kept for 8 years so that as drug detection technology become more sophisticated in the years ahead then cheats can still be stripped of their titles and the honest athlete rewarded with the glory that was always rightfully there’s

      • Fair enough, i can see where you are going with that, if there are people who feel as strongly as yourself then yeah your right – perhaps i am devaluing the necessity.

        My only point in this, and i thoroughly admit it is pedantic, is where do we stop?

        I know fine well that Maradona handled that ball against England? He cheated – plain and simple, so should we fix that?

        I know fine and dandy that cheating is an integral part of football now, players from all teams are diving to win vital penalties etc. If there is to be fair play and justice in the game then we cannot base it totally on financial corruption.

        As we have seen at the Olympics already – trying to LOSE a game of badminton is cheating and the teams rightly thrown out. A minor issue with crossovers in the cycling sees you dumped from the race that you have trained for years to compete in.

        Football, considering it is the worlds most premium sport – is lagging so far behind in fair play that unless steps are taken at the very top – stripping Rangers of titles begins to look very secular, a drop in the Ocean if you will and prone to creating the ‘why us?’ mentality.

        I’m not saying Rangers SHOULDN’T be stripped of titles etc. i am simply giving a more pedantic viewpoint.

      • Antonious F

        you stated that ‘we await the outcome of the tax tribunal to confirm that there was any problem with legality in the first place’.

        The commission is not there to determine if the EBT scheme was administered correcly or not, rather to determine if players were paid outside the conditions of their contracts as submitted to the SFA. so the outcome of the tax tribunal is irrelevent.

        the key question is – did RFC make payments to players (as part of their salary) outside of what what submitted to the SFA?.

      • ecojon


        I think you raise a number of valid points but there is a way that this can be looked at which might give a bit of perspective.

        Take the badminton and cycle crossovers – it appears to be generally held that in the badminton case there was an advantage being engineered and indeed achieved albeit temporarily until they were booted out. In the cycling it appears that if there was an advantage gained it was miniscule and would not have affected the result and it also appears it was a genuine misjudgement in the heat of the moment and not pre-planned.

        But both took place on the field of play and we would probably be unable to divine whether even the badminton was a previously thought-out strategy but I tend to think if it was it must have been at player-level because surely any coach would realise the catch-all nature of the rules that were eventually applied.

        Justice for field of play offences tends to be summary with the ref as judge and jury in the main – it has to be so with all its imperfections otherwise we would never ever finish a game. Some safeguards are there but as I say things are decided ‘immediately’ and players can win or lose depending on ‘good’ or ‘bad’ decisions.

        But I think that the dividing line must be incidents on the field of play are different from pre-planned ‘cheating’ which might not even have been carried out by players.

        Having met many players at the top levels over the years I just don’t believe there was much chance of them really being able to make the somewhat tenuous linkage at the individual playing level with the ‘financial doping’ benefits that could ensue on the grander scale.

        They may well have known they were cheating the tax man or may genuinely have thought it was a legitimate way to organise their affairs and might have even been told that by people they regarded as being trustworthy.

        But did they think of the overall benefis that industrial scale financial doping brought? I tend to think not but, in reality, it is of no consequence.

        For those in charge of the club were in a position to know the advantage to be gained and even though that might not have been the initial driving force I think the potential would soon have been recognised and with it the increased financial rewards, reduced taxation and increased titles.

        My personal take is that we have to live with genuine field of play mistakes – whilst appreciating some of the more recent innovations especially on the disciplinary front and soon to be goalmouth technology – and just move on and take the rough with the smooth.

        But when a systematic abuse of the system is uncovered, no matter the time scale, from which a club has received substantial benefit then action must be taken and the punishment should fit the ‘crime’ especially taking into account the duration of any offence.

        So to me the dividing line is simple – hot-headed field of play offences and cold, calculating cheating by thos holding real power at a football club. And with regard to rangers all I would say is that Murray could not have acted alone and I would hope that the HMRC tribunal might throw light on that matter which could well be of importance to Scottish Football and I think most people can figure out what I mean.

      • ecojon

        @Antonious F

        You got it in one. I did have a problem earlier in that I believed it would be best to wait for the HMRC tribunal to report but I have given the matter a lot of thought and eventually came to the rightful conclusion IMHO that the two matters are totally different and can be dealt with independently of the outcome of each other. Although I do believe that once the HMRC tribunal reports that we might well have to deal with some individuals who might be named in the report.

        These are unlikely to be players as any action against them is a tax matter but if senior club officials are seen to have organised or helped operate a scheme found to be illegal in Hector’s eyes then they will face possible civil/criminal penalties for that and also football sanctions for bringing the game into disrepute. That is different from the matters to be decided by the Commission and succinctly rehearsed by Antonious F.

  8. David

    Agree with George, McCoist can shout all he wants about not accepting titles being stripped but that should be the least of his worries. For the scale of the alleged offences suspension or withdrawal of membership have to be the only options. And as it is the SFA who deal with player registrations it must be suspension or withdrawal of SFA membership.

  9. iain

    The reality is the only sanction open to the SPL is amending historical titles.

    How on earth can any of the other listed punishments be imposed on a club which isn’t even a member of the league?

    Maybe our gracious host could explain how, for instance a fine or signing embargo be enforced on a club which isn’t part of their league?
    It wpould be like the bowlig club down the street from me fining me six months dues and banning me from teh Saturday medal despite me never being a member! Sure they could minute it…but on what basis could they bill me?

    We know what is going to happen.
    Rangers are going to be found “guilty” and tittles are going to be stripped.
    It’s a done deal

    • David

      The Rangers agreed to accept sanctions imposed if this enquiry verdict went against them. It was part of the conditions for SFA membership.

      • nowoldandgrumpy

        Why was the SFA membership granted when this condition is being dismissed by Green and McCoist as something that they will fight all the way. If these statements are correct and not just bluster, then the membership should not have been given unless there were written guarantees for acceptance and no legal action.

    • Robert D Bruce


      In reality HAD you been a member of the bowling club and they HAD fined you for some misdemeanour; and upon a meeting of the general membership, you had been “Barred Oot”, then the bowling club might just have a wee look at your previous conduct and BAR you SINE DIE.

      Just a thought.

    • ecojon


      quite simple – they bought history and the consequences that go with it – it really is that simple. No one forced that it was a decision Green made because it will suit his AIM flotation and that is all he cares about.

      If Rangers fans wake up to this too late the club won’t even survive in SFL3.

      I am a Celtic supporter but have continuously stated that I want rangers back in the SPL on merit of course so don’t go all bitter and twisted on me.

      • iain

        Titles will officially be taken.
        It is a done deal.

        Talk of any other punishment is pie in the sky.
        How for instance, can the SPL stop Ramgers signing players in the SFL?
        The answer is of course they cant.

        I gues they culd “fine” us and try to hold it as a punishment till we are ready to join the SPL again.
        Tw problems
        1: Even Lawwell and the SPL would struggle to justify a fine on Rangers now for the deeds of a previous company up to ten years ago
        2: Whilst they will publically say otherwise, they want Rangers (and all the mone they bring) back in the SPL as soon as is realistically possile. Hurdles of massive fines aren’t going to help them with that.

        So….our host can produce all the wordy pieces he likes…the unishment will be stripped tittles.
        It’s a done deal

    • Grabthegrass

      Given that New Rangers have apparently promised to take on all aspects of Old Rangers to the SFA (though I have yet to see the actual wording and we may never see it), then all possible actions remain open in theory. In the event that it was decided that, as you rightly note, it is difficult if not ultra vires to punish clubs not in your own organisation, then any fine or other action could be held as a condition of re-joining that organisation in the future.

      I agree tha tthe ongoing debate has a certain assumption that there will be a guilty verdict, but that’s the joy of hypothesising and doing some forward thinking about the impact. I would agree with the thought that stripping and re-assignement of titles is as far as it would go because no-one really wants to get into trying to unwind history that far, not to mention that no-one, including New Rangers, has enough money and the potential legal challenges are just too many.

      I suspect a fine suspended until they rejoin the SPL, posisble other sactions suspended also and re-jigging of history all on the basis that the primae Facia evidence reported holds up to further scrutiny.

      • ecojon


        The very fact that we can debate and speculate is all part of recognising the uncertainty of the final decision.

        in comparison, when you are marched out at dawn for a drumhead courts-martial then there is no debate and no speculation just the carrying out of the only sentence which will be handed down.

        So while we still debate and speculate Rangers should be happy on the basis of the old maxim: ‘Where’s there’s life there’s Hope’ which in future could be amended to read: ‘Where there’s debate there’s Life’.

  10. Excellent Paul

    Can I hereby put myself forward as a potential member of said Commission? My reasoning is that soon the number on the roster of people ‘Rangers’ fans hate will overtake the number of people they don’t hate, and I therefore believe I would be afforded much better protection from the orcs if I was part of an officially protected group.

  11. JimBhoy

    Looking fwd to some SPL football tomorrow and to forget about the Rangers circus..

  12. Richboy

    In answer to some of the points raised above;


    “As for removal of titles, cups etc….laddyda…..really, it is so massively unimportant now that the horse has bolted it becomes nothing more than a paperwork exercise”

    Removal of titles would act as a deterrent for other clubs seeking a quick fix to their lack of success. Knowing that humiliation lay further down the track would certainly make irresponsible boards think twice. BTW love most of your other posts.

    Rob D

    “then the bowling club might just have a wee look at your previous conduct and BAR you SINE DIE.”

    Most relevant point so far. If Rangers refuse to accept the rulings of the panel, and I could be wrong here, then the SPL could refuse them entry for ever. Charlie wouldn’t like that so unlikely to happen.


    I was disapponted to hear of your use of performance enhancing haggis. I fully expect, after these revelations, that the achievements of Scotlands greatest ever Olympian, the phenomenal Sir Chris Hoy, will come under a cloud. (just wanted to give him a mention, absolutely awesome)

    • I see the point regarding deterrent – my only point to this would be, and i admit that i am again (not for the first time on these comments) being entirely pedantic. The use of a mobile phone whilst driving was made illegal and a fine + points penalty was introduced for those caught doing it as a deterrent. So what if there is a picture of me using my phone prior to it being made illegal – should i then get the fine?

      Completely pedantic i know, but it was something that always interested me with the whole EBT thing in general (in the courts). There seems to be a retrospective attitude to the whole thing.

      Anyway, for clarity – i do think Rangers should be stripped of titles should there be any wrongdoing. I’m simply throwing small spanners into the works today to see what people think, cheers.

      • ecojon


        The question of whether you should be fined or not would depend on whether the legislation was retrospective or not – it is in this case.

      • @ecojon

        I knew that really – i was just putting the whole thing out there. It is very rare that i agree with retrospective black letter law.

      • Robert D Bruce


        The legislation regarding EBT’s has no bearing whatsoever on the enquiry about to commence. Rangers although using EBT’s (in their opinion correctly and maybe legislatively correctly at the time) did not disclose to the SFL that they were making payments to players over and above their declared contracts. It is this that is being investigated and for which the SPL say they already have damning evidence. It is this non declaration which is the breach of the rules and it is this breach which will decide the punishments for RFC. It is this breach that will almost certainly have titles and cup stripped from Rangers and have the record books amended.

  13. Robert D Bruce

    Does anybody know whether RFC, when they bought the history of oldco took the responsibility for Craig Whyte’s fine of £200k? He and therefore they, as the registered club, were liable to pay it within 30 days. When Mr Whyte refused to pay it the SPL were to pursue it through the courts (after lodging it with the CofS at the time of the appeal) as a debt. Had they not done this the debt may have died with oldco. If RFC have taken on the responsibility for this, have they paid it and if they have not taken responsibility for it, it would have to be asked why not?
    Punishments can be levied against individuals i.e. players being fined for violent conduct etc, but ultimately the club is responsible for that fine being paid. If RFC want the club football history then, in my opinion they are liable for the £200k owing.
    I know it will stick in the craw of RFC to pay it but the SPL cannot surely be going to pursue Craig Whyte through costly court processes when they have a lever via the SFA / SFL to recover it from RFC.

    Just a thought.

    • ecojon

      @Robert D Bruce

      I have to be fair to Rangers and say that perhaps that’s a bit of the club history they don’t want 🙂

  14. ADM

    @garryjbmacinnes, @ecojon

    Point at issue here isn’t in fact EBTs and their legality – that is (as @garryjbmacinnes says) the remit of the FTT. The question the SPL’s commission is addressing is whether Rangers were using “dual contracts”, registering one with the SFA and then paying the players more through a second, unregistered contract. This is against the rules of the SPL (and FIFA) and has been for a long time (fairly sure it applied at the time as well, so this isn’t retrospective legislation – Paul?), even if all relevant taxes are paid on the second unregistered contract.

    • ecojon


      The only retrospective legislation argument I am putting my hands up to is the driving while phoning one 🙂

      • Ernesider


        Looking at things the other way around. What about all the unfortunate Irish Catholics who are in hell for eternity for the mortal sin of eating meat on a Friday, before it was deemed ok by Vatican 2 in 1968?

      • ecojon


        Well, I reckon they’re still eating meat. I have often enjoyed your posts but I can only assume that tonight much alcohol has been drunk and I’m sure when you wake up you’ll have the grace to apologise for the sh*t you have typed.

      • Ernesider


        There are no sacred cows with me. And if I want to take a poke at what I consider to be ridiculous restrictions previously placed on gubbible people by an organization which has a lot more reason to issue apologies than I have, I will not be asking your permission

        I was poking fun at what i regard as nonsensical superstition in my original post and I would have thought there was room for that in the Broad Church/Commune with Nature beliefs you were epousing a few days ago or was all that just so much bullshit.

        As far as alcahol goes there was non consumed. I do recall you yourself being accused of being pissed for describing yourself as a ‘Proud Brit’ a week ago. Well no matter how pissed I get, I won’t be giving myself that title.

  15. mick

    hi every1 a feel the should be kicked out of the game forever for 15years of cheating trothy stripping is a soft option ,it should be stripped then expelled as sevco cliam to be rfc this is still possible

  16. mick

    will sally ask “who are these people” like before and then the fans can start the bullying to get a soft sentance ,also the sfa knew about the ebts as people from ibrokes got ebts then jobs at sfa ??theres a new website up and running lads annd its to monitor the sfa any1 with any scandal please post here also its a good read and part of the celtic network the only media out let that tells the truth,http://scottishfootballmonitor.wordpress.com/

  17. mick

    although phil , paul and ecojon outed all the drama of the past 6 month there is still lots to come out all the sites and commenters together can out the truth and also have the power to make great change to how our game developes in the future there is still work to be done for me its not over till its tesco still applies also its time the msm (jabba)were held accountable and removed from there jobs for young fresh talent to grow they have failed the readers of all fans and hold no place in scottish sport moving foward

  18. martin c

    On the question of jurisdiction i.e. can a SPL commission rule on a SFL club ; The answer must lie in the umbrella organisation (FIFA), They will have clear guidelines stating what would constitute an improperly registered player and thus expect member organisations to police this, then any SPL commission ruling and associated penalties would be ratified by the SFA and applied to an SFL club as if they, the SFA, had investigated themselves.

    What would be simpler would be for the SFA to investigate and if any penalties, apply them to SFL club and SPL free to take what ever action it likes re SFA investigation.

    On a completely different tack I’ve heard some mutterings regarding the call charges for the “The Rangers” season ticket hotline.

    • ecojon

      @martin c

      I think I might be more worried about what would be charged against my card than call charges 🙂

    • ecojon

      @martin c

      As I have no intention of buying a Rangers season ticket I really don’t care. If you do then I would suspect you can’t afford to buy a season ticket. However, contcat Rangers customer support and no doubt they will be able to answer your questions.

  19. mick

    all this talk of stripping a thought a would add this little vid for all to giggle at

  20. Martin


    I have a legal question you may be able to clarify. My knowledge of the law is sketchy to say the least so please forgive me if in framing my question I come across as a numpty.

    I would assume that there are laws in place which make it a crime to conceal earnings from HMRC for the purpose of evading tax.

    I would also assume that lying about earnings in order to get a loan or mortgage and such is considered wrong and is also covered by law.

    So far too easy.

    There are rules in football governance which require the disclosure of a players earnings in order to meet the registration criteria of the governing body.
    This I believe forms part of a contract between the club and the governing body rather that any legal right that body has for disclosure of earnings.

    Within employment law ( in deep water here, probably out of my depth) an employer has an obligation in law to reveal to HMRC the full earnings of an employee and deduct and pay the tax due.
    A company would have broken the law ( I assume) if they were shown to have underwritten a false application for a loan or mortgage which claimed higher earnings and resulted in a greater risk to the lender.

    Beyond the two requirements I’ve mentioned who else has a legal right to know an individuals earnings? Well I can think of the child support agency and a court order for the pursuit of debt (there are doubtless others).

    Do the SFA possess a legal right to knowledge of a players earnings beyond the terms of the football governance contract (if indeed it is a contract)

    I’ll get to the point. If it is a contract between club and governing body that results in an individuals earnings being revealed, could the contracts legal standing be questioned if the individual player did not give express permission for private information to be made available, without duress?

    If a contract contains in its terms something which breaches an individuals right to privacy ( if such a thing exists, help me out here) or any other law, could the contract in itself be considered illegal?

    • ecojon


      what if, what if?

      I would suggest that you await the findings of the HMRC tribunal hearing and see what bearing that may or may not have not only on Rangers but in other clubs who have used similar EBTs.

      As to all the other issues you raised I’m afraid you would need to draft in QCs and a battery of lawyers skilled in various aspects of the law to give you an opinion which remains an opinion until tested in court and then you can start thinking about your grounds of appeal.

      It might be as well to get started right away on Human Rights legislation because you are sure to end up there in the not too distant future 🙂

  21. Martin


    My point in writing the post is that there are questions beyond the control of the SPL and possible later appeal to the SFA.

    With sharp council and a few quid to spend this case could run and run!


    • Martin


      a further point, human rights were hard fought and hard won. I’d fight for them now, and in the not too distant future or any time beyond 🙂

      • ecojon

        @Martin – well I hope you are currently fighting for them but I doubt if they will be won by continual questioning. IMHO human rights are usually won or secured with the spillage of blood and the courage of those who care and don’t stop to question what if, what if 🙂 They just go out and do it !

    • ecojon

      @Martin – in my experience I have seldom experienced ‘sharp’ councils who usually require sharp counselling imho 🙂

      • Martin


        IMHO asking questions may make you part of the awkward squad but it certainly IS one way of protecting human rights.

        Indeed the freedom to ask the awkward questions is the first thing to defend. When that is a given much else follows. 🙂

      • Martin


        I award a pie for any typo identified 🙂

  22. Star o' Rabbie Burns

    I have long believed m’learned friends have only just started to make hay from the entire Rangers situation, including the matters which the SPL are now investigating.

    Can I go off-topic slightly with a couple of questions:

    1. When do BDO as liquidators, take-over from Duff & Phelps as administrators? This, may well have implications for The (new) Rangers FC’s ability to participate in the SFL this season.

    2. What has happened over Lord Hodges call for an explanation for certain decisions taken by Duff & Phelps? This also, could have further implications.

  23. Martin

    Who gets the silver trophies,

    If Rangers are shown to be cheats they should rightly be stripped of league titles and cup wins.

    So who gets the cups and flags?

    Well lets deal with the most difficult question first…the cups. If Rangers won the cup or knocked any team out on the way to being eliminated themselves we have a huge problem. It is impossible to know how any team that encountered Rangers would have done if Rangers were not cheating. It is also impossible to strike Rangers results from the record and extrapolate to find a winner. Playing the tournament again without Rangers is simply impractical.

    There are no winners.

    In the league it’s seems easier. You could remove any score involving Rangers from the tally and recalculate the league result.
    In other cases a team featuring ineligible players have been dealt with by awarding a 3-0 result in favour of their opponents.
    Lets think about those options for a moment.

    If team A had beaten Rangers in the league striking the result from the record costs them 3 points against their other rivals while giving them a 3-0 win changes nothing.

    If team B lost in the league against Rangers striking the result from the record brings them closer to their rivals (team A who would have been 3 points better off) and awarding a 3-0 in their favour brings them even greater advantage.

    Its a complex world.

    • martin c

      In reply to who gets the silver, why not Ramsdens (I must apologise, couldn’t resist it?)

      • Martin

        No need to apologise I’m sure Ramsdens can turn silver into gold, or at least pound notes 🙂

      • ecojon


        I see your questions yet again – what I seldom see is explanations or ways to deal with the problems that have arisen. It is so easy to continually question but so much harder to advance solutions and argue for them when others raise questions.

  24. briggsbhoy

    Is there any truth in the rumour (I just started) that CW pawned all the old the silverware at ibrox to Ramsdens and their entry into the cup is for the sole purpose of getting it back oot the pawn shop!

  25. Cregganduff

    All becoming a little inconsequential and maybe a little acrimonious.
    Solid subject matter is lacking and same stuff being regurgitated

  26. Paul

    David said at 12:45am.

    My question is, WILl suspension or withdrawal of membership be an option to the current commision (or any future commisions- ecojohn). The tv deal is to show The rangers matches according to reports.

  27. Martin


    you do indeed see my questions yet again. It is good to question it focuses the mind. In my post above I gave a solution to the Cup win scenario.
    ‘There are no winners’ and ‘Replaying the tournament without Rangers is simply impractical’. In the league scenario I pointed out that if anything it’s more complicated.

    I left it to the reader to judge for themselves as to who gets the cups and flags.

    I enjoy this site and thank Paul for it.

    I hope in future If I raise questions people will enjoy responding and asking questions of their own. If not they are perfectly free to do as they will, ignore the question, ignore the view I express or even tell me I’m a numpty.

    If there is a problem with my questioning I can stop. The comments section can be free of questions if you think that will make it better.

  28. Jacko

    There seems to be a total lack of acceptance from rangers fans that the EBTs and player contracts are two independent, albeit linked, matters. The suggestion being that EBTs are legal so therefore rangers are not guilty of dual contracts chrges. Let’s be quite clear here. They maybe found to be operating EBT’s legally and have no liability for this. Likely or otherwise this is a possible scenario. However, if they used these EBT’s without declaring them to the football authorities makes the players incorrectly registered with the possible consequences that brings.

    A club may pay players with tenners. They may pay some and declare them and they pay some in a brown paper bag without telling the football authorities. Paying with tenners is not the issue. Tenners are legal and hence paying them undeclared is not against the rules surely. Wrong. It is not the legality of the method of payment that makes them ok or not to the footballing authorities. It is whether all tenners paid were declared to the authorities.

    And further to simply note in annual accounts that “we paid x to some people in tenners” does not mean you have declared that to the footballing authorities. You need to declare specifically who the tenners were paid to.

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