Some Thoughts On Conflicts, EBT’s and SPL v Rangers in Reply to Comments

The blog was busy yesterday with comments, for which many thanks to all.

However, I wanted to deal specifically with a few contributors, who made the mistake of asking me for a response either directly or by implication. 🙂

This blog post therefore provides some further thoughts on a few matters – EBT’s, the tax case, conflicts of interest, whataboutery, Minority Report by Philip K Dick, the cultural significance of Rangers and whether there is a point to investigating past offences.

Finally by way of housekeeping, I remark on a recent burst of comments which I have not approved for publication on the site.


First Caldeer Sing posted comments, extracts from which are in bold, with my responses underneath.

Caldeer Sing said:-

(You said) “whenever a prominent person is charged with a criminal offence.”

Neither Rangers the club, nor any individual at Rangers have committed a criminal act. This angle is disingenuous at best or down right malignant at best.”

You know and I know that I was not saying in my post that Rangers FC were guilty of criminal offences.

I am interested however by your confidence that no criminal acts have been committed. What about Mr Whyte who, it is said, is under investigation?

I was simply offering the comment that the alleged “media obsession” on what is perceived as the maximum penalty is exactly what goes on when any public figure faces proceedings, whether legal or regulatory, which offer a range of sanctions if guilt be found.

Does that do?

I also do my best to avoid being disingenuous, and I do avoid malignancy. Please point out to me where I have failed to do so.


Caldeer Sing said:-

 “Do they accept that having players on EBT’s was against the rules, even if only as “technical offences”?” – This is another bizarre statement here.

Legally and also under SPL rules, the use of EBT’s were permitted. I’m not sure if, to give you the benefit of the doubt, that you are perhaps assuming that your readers are aware of HMRC tax legislation and also the SPL rules that member clubs need to abide by hence you have glossed over the finer technicalities of this point.

The crux of the HMRC case is how these legal EBT’s were administered making them invalid as a legal tax avoidance scheme, with HMRC now expecting appropriate payment and penalty if applicable.

I’m not doing very well, am I?

I will try to explain briefly (hah). MIH used EBT’s as a tax reduction device. These were used over a number of years and to the tune of many millions of pounds to the benefit of various employees of Rangers. This included players and executives (and Aggie the tea lady for all we know).

Ruud Gulit and Aggie, the EB Tea Lady #getscoat

The rules of Scottish football require that details in writing of all payments to be made to a player for football related activity must be disclosed in the player’s contract, which must be in a standard form, and deposited with the SFA.

By definition, payments which were intended to be non-contractual will not be declared in the contract (otherwise they would be contractual). Such non-contractual payments might include discretionary loans made to the player by an offshore trust which under no circumstances could be accused simply of paying over money from the employer to the employee to save tax.

However, as far as has been made clear by the BBC amongst others, Rangers managed to make a botch job of the tax reduction scheme. Details were put in writing regarding the amounts to be paid, relating them, it is alleged, to success on the field, almost as if they were bonuses. Secondly letters were provided to the beneficiaries, it is alleged, stating that the loans would not require to be repaid. A loan which does not need to be repaid is not a loan.

HMRC decided that these payments were not in accordance with what was needed to make an EBT scheme valid as a tax reduction scheme. In February 2008 (!!!) HMRC sent its first demand to Rangers for payment in connection with these EBT’s. Rangers refused to accept these determinations and appealed, leading to the long-running “Big Tax Case” and directly causing the creation of the Rangers Tax Case Blog, much to the chagrin of many, and the amusement and enlightenment of many more.

My post from earlier today  might help.

Were EBT’s “illegal” per se? No. Were they “illegal” if operated improperly? Yes, they could be. Was use of them criminal? Possibly, depending on the precise method of use, and whether paperwork was completed with false declarations, or shredded, or many other variables.

Am I suggesting Rangers use of EBT’s was criminal? No.

I referred to “technical offences” as that phrase had been used earlier in a clear effort to mitigate the alleged wrongdoing.

The outcome of the tax case is not directly relevant to the dual contract/illegal registration issue anyway. As mentioned above, did all payments for footballing activities go down on the written contracts lodged with the SFA? If not, the players involved were improperly registered. That breaks SFA rules, and also those of the SPL and SFL. It is a football offence to play an improperly registered player.

As for the suggestion that HMRC are expecting payment – well they are not going to get it as the company liable to pay is going into liquidation, unless Mr Green chooses to make a contribution? After all, he insists it is the same “Rangers”.


Caldeer Sing said:-

One thing that I don’t understand with the SPL’s stance on this is that Rangers paid for these EBT’s to be administered. If rules were broken, then the sanction is that Rangers would be liable for the tax saved. Rangers would then take any appropriate action against an indemnified company or individual if possible. There is, in my opinion here no need for any SPL enquiry as sanction has been met by the extra tax demand and penalty.

Rangers paid MIH to administer the EBT’s. MIH and Rangers allegedly got that wrong.

That means that, should the Independent Commission find that registration rules were broken, then players were improperly registered and I would refer you to my answer/comment above.

You say there is no need for any SPL enquiry as the “sanction has been met by the extra tax demand and penalty.” The tax demand and penalty will not be paid – how does that “meet the sanction”?.

Therefore on your analysis Rangers get off scot-free.


Caldeer Sing said:-

I’m afraid I do see a direct and unavoidable conflict of interest with Harper Macleods involvent. If this panel finds against Rangers and Rangers choose to appeal, the appeal would be heard by the SFA. With HM being the lawyers for the SFA, and also the lawyers that investigated Rangers any fair minded individual would demand that sporting and legal integrity is not only maintained but is seen to be maintained. Could the SFA really turn on the evidence provided by their own lawyers if it did turn out that there was no case to answer. Luckily the statements from Peter Lawwell waxing lyrical about HM on their web site have recently been removed or the potential for egg and face meeting could be rather high.

Did you read the definition of “conflict of interest” I posted?

I have posted a new piece on conflicts of interest.

You will note that HM are NOT the lawyers for the SFA. The issue you raise in the paragraph above is a false premise.


Caldeer Sing said:-

There are other glaring points that I’m sure will be picked apart at others leisure, and I am positive that you did not set out to mislead or distort the truth to play to the gallery.

I would be delighted if you could point out the glaring points you refer to. I am always happy to be educated and corrected. I also did not mislead, nor distort the truth, never mind not set out to do so.


I googled “playing to the gallery” and this appeared!

Caldeer Sing said:-

Always happy to hear a balanced and reasoned response.

I hope you find this balanced and reasonable?


Later Caldeer Sing commented again:-

I was replying to the wording in the blog, which, to me, seems to be trying to suggest that the use of EBT’s is criminal, illegal and against SPL rules. That is simply wrong and should be rightly challenged and corrected at every opportunity. EBT’s were a legal and valid vehicle for tax avoidance. In this particular case with Rangers it is how the EBT’s were administered that is being challenged.

As mentioned above, I was not suggesting that the use of the EBT’s was criminal. There is a prima facie case that they were used illegally, in that HMRC believe they do not meet the legal requirements for successfully reducing tax and there is a prima facie case that player registration rules were broken.


Caldeer Sing said:-

While I can’t disagree with your point about the nature of comments about PL’s daughter, I would hope you would agree that all sides need to calm this sort of thing. There are some comments even on this blog that could be viewed as a desire for ethnic cleansing of Rangers fans. There are no doubt extremists on both sides, the worry for Rangers fans is that some of these extremists are the ones driving what they see as an bigoted attack on their club. Of course bigoted does not have to imply a religious connotation.

A little sprinkling of “whataboutery”. Please direct me to the comments here seeking the “ethnic cleansing” of Rangers fans.

“Bigoted does not have to imply a religious connotation.” True. In Scotland however it has what is perceived as a religious connotation, even if many who attend Ibrox and Parkhead would fail an exam on issue s of theology, religious belief and religious history. Football does not equal religion. In the West of Scotland however many people see them as synonymous (wrongly).

I also note that you have bought into the Charles Green defence of “Just because I mentioned bigotry, why jump to the conclusion it is religious bigotry I am talking about”. We will see if that one convinces an SFA Judicial Panel, if Mr Green appears there for his comments.

Your comment too about extremists on “both” sides sums up much of what is ailing in Scottish football. There are of course 42 “sides”.


Caldeer Sing said:-

The danger in trying to use any rule to ‘hammer’ one club is that a closer look at any club will no doubt uncover blatant breaches. Which already seems to have happened.

What “blatant rule breaches” are you referring to? I assume you mean by teams other than Rangers? Please enlighten us.


Iain chipped in too, asking:-

If anyone could demonstrate once and for all that EBT’s resulted in Rangers getting better players than they otherwise would I would like to see it.

As I say…I keep hearing that EBT’s meant players we wouldn’t have signed otherwise.
So…is there ANY proof that is true?

Performance enhancing drugs are banned throughout sport. EPO, steroids, blood doping, HGH – all of these are banned and users will be punished for being caught.

However the evidence of benefits to athletes from some of these is slim and indeed non-existent.

By your argument, as I understand it, if an athlete took a banned substance, but there was no proof it aided their performance, they should be cleared?

Dwain Chambers took a cocktail of seven banned drugs – did the athletics authorities have to prove they actually helped him before they could impose a ban? No.

Why did Rangers use EBT’s? They did so to reduce what they paid in tax.

What did they do with the money saved? Either they paid it to their players, thus allowing them to afford more expensive, if not necessarily better, players. Or they “invested” it in the club. Either way, they did it in an attempt to benefit Rangers.

If the IOC banned the use of the colour yellow on athletes’ uniforms, would they excuse Usain Bolt for wearing a Jamaica strip on the basis that there was no proof that yellow made you run faster?


Andy raised the following:-

At the end of the day, players won the games, lifted the trophies and have the medals, fans have the memories and you can re-write what you want if that’s what satisfies the masses at parkhead.

If the players were ineligible, then they ought not to have been playing. An Independent Commission will decide if that is the case, and what penalty to impose.

Maybe Ben Johnson feels he still won the 100 meters race in Seoul. However, look in the record books. He came first- broke the rules – and was disqualified.

The memories cannot be removed, but the record books can be corrected.

Ben Johnson remembers winning this race in 1988 – but you won’t find his name in the record books as the gold medallist


Andy said:-

The Spl will no doubt be paying HM and whoever else substantial amounts of money to investigate something that has no true relevant benefit to anyone just now apart from Big Scary partner at HM back pockets. Would it not be better to put any spare funds at the moment to use in the actual game right now, today, rather than spend it on trawling through the past….again.

By definition, unless we are living in the time of Philip K Dick’s Minority Report, any disciplinary action can only take place in connection with events that happened in the past.

Perhaps if the Rangers support had not made such a huge song and dance about the record book being altered, for example indicating that it really did not bother them, then the will of the SPL to investigate might have been less. But the position of the Rangers support to the SPL is (a) do not take away the trophies we won, which you allege were won with illegally registered players and (b) do not waste time and money investigating the matter as it is in the past and does not matter.

That strikes me as a trifle inconsistent.


Andy said:-

At the end of the day were arguing over what players were paid, the route of all this is that Rangers were paying players more money than we could afford. Clearly this is already obvious with liquidation etc, this investigation, is simply another muck-raking excerise to try and bestow further sanctions on the club, because clubs, fans etc feel hard done by because Rangers won titles in many peoples eyes unfairly!! Lets not joke around that it’s about upholding the rule around proper registration of players, it simply isn’t, it’s about Scottish football trying to get it’s own back because they feel hard done by.

“Muck raking”? This is all revenge by everyone else in Scottish football?


Andy continued:-

Yes, Rangers have done wrong, so has Celtic and the rest in the past, my point is we cannot move on with this air of defensiveness (Rangers) and Bitterness (SPL) unless people can forgive and move on..Stripping titles etc no matter what the club only creates a hostile enviroment, whereas spending the money on implementing change to the benefit of all is in my opinion what we should be doing….

When are Celtic or any of “the rest” alleged to have pursued a campaign of tax reduction tactics leading to players being improperly registered over a ten-year period?

Is now the time for forgiveness? I am not aware of anyone connected with Ibrox asking for forgiveness – that requires an admission of wrong-doing first.


Andy said:-

Would it not be better to have said, okay Rangers are in the third division starting again like they should be and the small clubs can benefit as they progress, the rest of us are here in the Spl can set about ensuring youth development actually works and maybe just maybe in ten years we’ll have a top league worth watching and a national team that we can actualy organise our summer holidays around!!

The SFL have embraced our admission as have we in turn and hopefully, 3 years apart can put an end to the majority of the bigotry in this country as a side benefit, Rangers and SFL have started a new beginning, it’s time for the SPL to move on as well…

I appreciate you ending with a vision of how to move forward. This upheaval in Scottish football should be taken as an opportunity, not to bury the game, but to try to breathe new life into it.

I would be delighted if the next three years saw an end to bigotry in Scotland. I am sceptical, but that is for another day.


Colin contributed the following:-

The above article by Paul McC is fundamentally flawed because of the narrow prism through which he seeks to make his point. It singularly fails to take account of the cultural significance of Rangers and their history. Petty bureacratic legalists will always determine that Rangers have transmogrified in to some kind of new body and often rejoice in citing technical definitions rooted in dry corporate legalistic terminology. But a football club is something that has a cultural meaning that reaches way beyond any obscure technical definition. All true fans of football know this in their heart. Rangers might be declared technically dead but they are clearly alive and kicking (quite vibrantly if recent season ticket queues are considered) in a more meaningful cultural sense in the West of Scotland and beyond. Only when those discussing this issue begin their analysis from a more rounded and balanced perspective will we achieve useful progression.

Gosh – Colin is a tough critic. “Fundamentally flawed”. “Narrow prism”. “Petty bureaucratic legalist”. “Citing technical definitions rooted in dry corporate legalistic terminology”. Actually, he has a lot of this blog spot on! 🙂

The comments after Colin’s initial contribution debated at some length the “cultural significance” of Rangers. It is clear both from my blog, and from the infinitely wider perspective of Scottish society, that the “cultural significance” of Rangers is hotly debated, and whether that is positive or negative will not be resolved in this post.

Quite what it has to do with the alleged rule breaking by Rangers however, I have no idea.

Rangers is in a Schrodinger’s Cat situation just now.

Some believe it has ended and that the new company = new team. Others believe that, notwithstanding the name over the door, it is still the same team.

I try to write from a rounded and balanced perspective – if I fail, then I am happy for people to let me know.


Colin added:-

It will be for the SPL’s appointed legal firm to determine innocence or guilt with regard to contractual arrangements for Ranger’s players.

As discussed at length that is factually incorrect.


I appreciate the involvement of commenters in the blog – that is what gives it life. I am happy when people disagree with me and educate me. I claim no infallibility, even when writing ex cathedra.

There is one comment I will make, which is not directed, for the avoidance of doubt, at any of those mentioned above.

Recent days have seen a flood of comments, some short and some long, referring to recent disciplinary action at Penn State University and linking this to a person in Celtic’s past.

I emailed a couple of the commenters who provided lengthy quotes, which I suspect came from Rangers supporting websites, advising why I had not approved their comments but stating that if they wished to write a “guest post” for consideration which met my standards for publication, then I would be happy to put it on the site. As yet nobody has replied to me.

What I would say is that the analogy being drawn is a flawed one in my view, and I cannot understand how the particular topic, which is a deeply sensitive and disturbing one, can be trotted out by people as an example of “whataboutery”.

So, to save people time, do not bother trying to post comments in line with what I have just mentioned, unless you want to take the time and trouble to analyse the issues and place them in some form of context. I have read the excellent coverage of the Penn State situation from over many months, and the Freeh Report too. Trotting out the line that Penn State = Celtic is wrong, and an insult to the victims of crime in each location, by trivialising their suffering in the name of rather unpleasant “point scoring”.

Thank you for your attention, and now back to your regularly scheduled “Petty bureaucratic legalism”. 🙂

Posted by Paul McConville



Filed under Blogging, Football Governance, Rangers

55 responses to “Some Thoughts On Conflicts, EBT’s and SPL v Rangers in Reply to Comments

  1. Mikec

    I do not see how you can change history, for that is what it is …. HISTORY. However if it is proved that dual contracts were used the titles cups etc should be stripped from them and at that instance a new piece of history has been created

    • martinmcm1

      History isn’t simply what happened, it’s the record of what happened and that can be changed as more facts become know. History is constantly being rewritten but in this case let’s hope that it will be rewritten to make clear the full facts of what went on if Rangers are found to have broken rules ( I would hate to prejudge the case)

    • jocky bhoy

      As the old aphorism goes – “History is written by the winners “. If Rangers weren’t the winners, due to breaking of league and cup rules, then we need to write new history.

  2. Greg72

    Paul – another great post. However, was it perhaps – just perhaps – a wee bit naughty to use ‘ex cathedra’ in it? You may have caused some – only a very few, I’m sure – of your readers to become apoplectic! 🙂

    • mick

      “murray infallibility”certianly not now greens incharge and the cops are on the ebts maybe before the net most devo lol

    • mick

      @gregg72 (the police called at murrays flat to discuss the ebts he went apoplectic )lol all this greek my brian is well growing fast on here

  3. riw1

    Well said Sir.

    It is of course essential in any discussion to hear views from all sides. I’m sure many would wish all contributors to be informed, reasoned & balanced in expressing their views. Likewise to understand & empathise opposing views. It is unfortunate you felt moved to comment on an unsavoury juxtaposition. However in my eyes, you were absolutely correct in doing so.

    Like many who have no association with either side of the old firm, I find it ignorant when Scottish football conversation is narrowed to these two clubs. As you say, there are 42 clubs & I am heartened by that. This does not mean I wont share a view with either or both of the old firm. In the main I will support proposals that benefit all 42 clubs & what I consider to be just & proper. Am I so very different in that view ?

    In closing may I leave you with a quote from Aristotle :

    “Dignity consists not in possessing honours, but in the conciousness that we deserve them”


  4. Glazert Tim

    Paul, I’m dizzy just reading that misconception ping pong. Hats off to you for having the patience to sit and wade through it..

    Seems to me that fans from both sides of th Old Firm, have in the past worn green or blue tinted specs when it comes to interpretation of SFA actions, refereeing decisions etc but to coin an old Glasgow phrase ‘get tae grips’ guys.

    These commentators have missed more ‘vital points’ than a blind Rabbi.

    The EBT situation is being snow-stormed with the’legality’ issue and terminology. Just because something is legal doesn’t make it right. However getting that idea of ‘no laws broken’ in the public psyche via the MSM seeds the idea that they have done nothing wrong. It is merely yet another diversionary tactic to distort focus from the true issue…,,side letters which are not illegal but ‘unlawful’ as far as the football regs are concerned.

    Similarly DM’s shit storm about ‘everything was there to be viewed and examined’ is Davros of old.

    I can just see Frank McAvennie in court:

    “Officer. Ah went through customs wi 50 illegal hardcore scud vids, two rare tortoises in an auld vest, a load of osprey eggs in ma trainers and 5 ounce a Charlie. Ah wiznae stoaped, everything wiz there tae see in the open. Ye cannae stoap me in the carpark noo. That wiz in the past, ye cannae go back in time and change the fact customs were away fur their tea at the time.”

    It’s like me submitting a law suit against GM Vauxhall for a ram raid on a PC World. The client taxed and insured the van and put 4 new tyres on before the raid so he believes he’s innocent. Technically it was actually the Vauxhall Combo that broke the doors down, he just happened to be sitting in the drivers seat at the time.

    I despair, keep up the good work, they don’t like it up em Sir!

  5. John Pollock

    The most petty, ill-informed & bureaucratic blog on the web Paul:). Fine retort Sir. I do find it rather disturbing, not sure why, that even those who are reasonably well educated are so blind to all matters rangers. Colin tried to be clever by firstly denying any affection for rangers. Then after dropping in “cultural significance” of rangers, he wrongly and continually accused people of going off topic. If his only wish was to explore possible conflicts of interest, one has to ask why that line appeared in his post? The one thing I will agree with Colin on is that I am a product of my experiences. One of those experiences, at a very impressionable age, was to discover rangers did not sign people like me. Nothing to do with talent I hasten to add. Then throughout my life I was constantly told by my grandfather in particular, that rangers were cheats. There now appears to be a prima facie case that he was right all along. What has this to do with conflicts of interest? Nowt really, but it has everything to do with rangers and how they are perceived Colin!

  6. mick

    paul fantastic read ite only the deluded that think ebts are ok ,the police first stepped in in febuary and have a live ongoing case well up and running there parinoid now its ebt time and they know they are in trouble murray conned rangers and the taxman and soon he will face mensis resisis and resise mensisi the phisical and mental eliment the scottish scales of justice await them the football side is sorted now its the back drop to it all thats in the domian now so ,back to the murray 6mil he took phisical evidence back accounts paper trial,mental elements he admits he took it but thought he was right as a guy in a suit said so so this could be played for shorter sentance 18month micks “preditions” the ebts is a web of cheating and abuse of power by the ibrokes board and every last detial has to come out so we all know the true extent of it all and no 1 escapes the law in it

    • I don't understand what mick is trying to say

      not a clue what you are going on about at mick. Please God, tell me you are also the other Mick and are taking the Michael!

      • mick

        Am basicly saying financial doping is reality, also there is a police investigation in to the thief of tax and ni .which is going to be a court case for Whyte and maybe Murray (i dintunderstand what mick is trying to say )what am trying to say is there is lots of evidence of crime not just cheating via 15 years of financial doping .

  7. mick

    if murray and walter are ebt recievers they are attempting to perfend the course of justice with these statements ???any1 thinking other wise is deluded

  8. mick

    oldco newco sevco tempco tesco

  9. ecojon

    I have no doubt that we are seeing an increase in posters who are pursuing a PR agenda. I first noticed it on some of the Rangers boards with lots of newly registered posters proclaiming that Charlie Bhoy is the best thing since sliced-breed.

    On here, it’s a formula-style approach with no actual attempt to engage in debate but just keep pushing the ‘line’ they wish to achieve. If my suspicions are correct then that is a real compliment for Paul and his blog and the level of danger it presents to their clients by exposing the PR candy floss with cold, hard facts and excellent analysis of them. Most importantly, the reader is given all the info and tools to then make-up their own mind instead of being force-fed pap from the MSM with its hidden agendas.

    It’s all just such a jumble and mish-mash of half-facts and downright lies that the MSM journos just can’t be annoyed trying to cut through the guff and get to the heart of the matter. It could even be believed that they just don’t have the required ability either.

    The acceptance yesterday of Murray’s PR Puff without any pointed questioning, in what is probably the biggest story in Scotland, just proves to me that MSM journalism is on its last legs. And the editors who now preside in once great Scottish newspapers appear to me to have been placed in charge for their cost-cutting ability rather than the journalistic quality of their product which, in the main, is quite simply cr*p. There is just no other way to describe it and falling sales will ensure even more of the same.

    • mick

      @ecojon the msm have been taking storys from here and other blogs for months now the whole industry is finshed due to the west of scotland sport media and the n.o.w.,in scotland a think were ready to just get our news on line due to the lies and cheating that they cover up .

    • Project Walliams

      yes a PR agenda is being pursued
      recall what the voice of the spl neil doncaster said previously about trangers and liquidation – an apologist not a hanging judge
      realise that the season has started – tickets have been bought chairmen have that money in the bank and there is an assumption that the fans have already forgotten about rangers and are refocusing on their own team
      alas the close of the rtc has removed a significant rallying centre for the internet bampots and a concerted attack on scotslawthoughts is a further attempt to soften the opposition
      there is a race on now to push through the spl findings before the bigtaxcase is made public – it will be weak and excuse much of the dual contract nature through accountancy technicalities of ebt procedures and there will be little if any punishment
      will have to come out under the current national euphoria with sunday 12th at 9pm just as olympic closing ceremony gets underway a likely deadline
      the groundwork is being done for restructuring trangers into a new tv deal
      reaction will determine whether trangers are in SPL1 or SPL2 next season
      (just this once all punctuation and capitals removed in tribute to mick – dont know how you do it mate bloody difficult to write)

      • ecojon

        @Project Walliams

        The problem of course for the PR tricksters is that there are at least two main camps with different agendas. They are basically Greens lot and DMs crew. On the surface it would appear that they have the same goal viz soften-up the resolve of the SPL & SFA and the Commission.

        But in reality all the ‘innocent’ people who were around Ibrox and who feature in the Big Tax case are much more interested in ensuring they are not financially held to account in any way for the operation of the EBTs.

        But having walked away from Ibrox and shown little interest since, they can’t make their self-interest too apparent or the fans might spot it. So they use the cover of No Stripping not so cleverly voiced as No Cheating.

        Green of course would be quite happy if the walkers away went down for as much cheating as possible as he would point to the different future he offers the Faithful just as long as they buy shares in the new dream

        The latest rumours about Mike Ashley investing £1 million in Rangers for a 10% stake is interesting in view of his stormy past with Newcastle fans. The tale goes that he will form a joint venture with Rangers to sell its replica kit through Sports Direct stores in which he has a 69% shareholding. Ashley is obviously a shrewd businessman and it sounds a good deal for him but he also sells to Celtic fans as well and I have a strong position he might want Green to cool the bigotry stuff. But it’s bargain basement stuff for the sale rights as JJB – smaller rivals to Sports Direct – paid DM £48 million in 2006 for a 10 year exclusive deal on selling Rangers kit.

        I wonder how the Bolton-based clothing group Ruia who have previously made a £1 million investment for a 10% share in Rangers view an Ashley involvement and any possible impact on their clothing deal with rangers.

        So let’s do the figures: 10% to Ashley; 10% to Ruia Group; 10% to colin Mather and his Sports Consultancy partner. 30% = £3 million. 100% = ?

        And what happens to these percentages and investments come the AIM Flotation given that the Founder Shareholders were promised to be able to double their shareholding.

        And of course what about Blue Pitch Holdings and their 23% shareholding. What does that percentage stand at now?

  10. Stuart

    Paul, Another excellent article, but I assure you that no EBTs were paid to Aggie the Tea Lady. The redoubtable Aggie Moffat was the St. Johnstone heroine who took Graeme Souness to task in March 1991 after the Rangers squad had smashed a kettle and left the visitors’ dressing room at McDiarmid Park in a mess. Souness tried to battle it out but failed to come up with a suitable retort to the accusation “Would you leave your house like that?”

  11. Alex Doherty

    Let us not lose the run of ourself The Tax Man has not got his money? Is it legal to do this Old Rangers New Rangers can we please get an answer.?

    Was it Legal or not the Result is still the same The royal Rangers LET DOWN THERE queen AND her tax man Let them keep the STOLEN titles But please no more we Love the British way of life.

    P S
    The Cat Is Dead Long Live the Just People

  12. mick

    there is two sides to ebts the fairplay(eufa and fifa),then the tax scam to the tax scam is more serious as it happened in a part of glasgow were there is great economic deprivation hotspot any1 doing dogey business in these areas need put in prison simple as that ,the sporting side is still serious and is well out of order and needs fixed fast

  13. mick

    just to recap on the tainted trophys and whos due 1 or 2 ???

  14. been reading the last few days with interest and particularly the relies. Good to see more and more newcomers posting replies, don’t knock them back too hard Paul……they might start learning the truth if they keep reading, even more important they might actually start understanding the truth which until now very few of the bear tribe have done………more night time stories Paul its getting through them thanks as usual for all your efforts.

    • ecojon


      I would not be as hopeful as your goodself as a look at the Darkside does reveal references to their ‘successful’ trolling on what they view as opposition sites. Just another little straw in the wind about the organising going on.

  15. Dhougal

    WOW!!” Best ever Paul . Ye canny tell them though ……they dont listen ……….coz ..They WERE the peepuuuulllll

  16. michaeljamesroy

    Mick, I love your passion and I know you are a regular contributor. But if you want to be taken seriously in a prominent blog on Scots Law then you’re going to have to start writing in sentences. That means using full stops, capital letters, spellcheck and everything. I honestly don’t want to come across as a patronising dick, but I simply can’t understand what you’re on about most of the time.

    On Paul’s blog: an excellent forensic piece, as would be expected. The flurry of demented bears who can actually string a sentence together have thankfully gone away again. As expected there was little or no actual analysis or (God forbid) “journalism” actually undertaken on the statements made yesterday. I honestly wonder why they bother? It must have cost actual money too if they got their old chums at Media House involved. But if they wanted to successful in their offensive then it has to be sustained, surely? Guerilla warfare involves persistent, gruelling, damaging, sustained activity against a much more powerful adversary. Or is it that they think that they still hold all the cards? That they remain “the peepul” despite everything? I despair, I really do.

    • padraigocuinn

      lol I doubt mick cares about being taken seriously.

      but yea the odd full stop wouldn’t go astray mick lol

    • Stuart

      Personally I couldn’t be bothered getting involved in an argument with “The flurry of demented bears who can actually string a sentence together”. The well articulated and reasoned arguments combined with an inflexible stance on obviously unsustainable foundations screamed “wind up merchants” at me very loudly.

    • ecojon


      Well apparently Jardine’s address to the faithful at Ibrox last night was drowned out with the roar when he told them: ‘WATP’.

      Nothing has changed and actually they are getting worse – what putty they are in Green’s cynical hands.

      I wonder who’ll be next in line to dupe them – certainly the pickings will be a little thin on the barren landscape of Ibrox but I’m sure they’l be something.

      • Totally agree ecojon, and thank you, you’ve strengthened the point I was trying to make.

        And Stuart – “wind up merchants” suggests they have their tongue firmly placed in their cheek. I’m not convinced they have a grasp of irony at all.

    • Al ross

      Hold on it has taken me I will admit some time to get the flow and pace of Mick’s posts but I’ve now cracked it. Please Mick leave them as they are.

  17. Clearly, a number of people did not take the trouble to read or understand the previous Blogs by Paul McConville – particularly on the definition of Conflict of Interest (and which persons or bodies it applied to), and on the difference between HMRC’s FTTT into EBTs and the SPL’s investigation into whether or not the registration of players included all the required information re. method(s) of payment. I suspect some readers did not read.

    • ecojon


      I don’t think the problem is not reading – it’s that they either can’t read or can’t mentally process the information. Why that is – who knows? What I do know is that a closed mind certainly doesn’t make it any easier.

  18. Geddy Lee.

    Sad to see that even those Sevconians who can sting a few words together
    still suffer from the same delusion and denial as their more primative brothers.

    Fascinating also to see that FC Sevco no longer sport their 5 Stars(Snigger) on their shirts. Mc Coist of course still has them on his track-suit.LOL

    Has something happened that they are just too scared to tell their fans?

  19. charliedon

    @ecojon at 09.11am
    I’ve been particularly disappointed by Sandy Jardine’s recent antics. I thought he was a fair football player and, without paying too much attention, I had an impression that he was a fairly decent human being. More importantly, he is my all time favourite spoonerism!
    So his recent behaviour and utterances have greatly saddened me. He displays a woeful lack of understanding of the technicalities of the situation, particularly for a person in an apparent position of responsibility. His rhetoric really has descended to the level of the most ignorant bigots.

  20. iain

    Fame indeed!

    I’m afraid though…you never answered. Just fell back on the now tired and clichéd analogy of drug taking athletes.

    I asked where the proof is that the use of EBT DIRECTLY lead to different players being signed than would have otherwise. You couldn’t provide any, because frankly there is none.

    I do not disagree that so-called “dual-contracts” are against the rules. It would be silly to be honest to disagree.
    All I look for is some proof of the oft-repeated line that those dual-contracts meant we could have better players than if there weren’t “dual-contracts”

    The EBT was simply a mechanism to mitigate tax. You obviously say that this meant they could spend more on better players.
    But where were the EBT’s in the previous era when SDM simply ran up debt in Rangers before (via a rights issue) simply moving the debt to MIM and Murray Sports?

    Whats to say that in the absense of EBT’s he would not simply have done the same again? (remember of course that he would not have the benefit of hindsight to see the world financial crash coming)

    So…as I have said several times on this blog. Rangers will be found guilty on the contract issue. They will have titles removed due to this administritive technicallty. That is a done deal.
    BUT to say that better players were signed as a result is no more than an assumption from agenda driven haters.

    Unless of course there IS some proof after all?

    • The downfall of your “argument” Iain is that, unlike in a criminal enquiry, nobody has to convince anyone beyond reasonable doubt. The weight of evidence suggests, on the face of it (and at first inspection – prima facie) that there is a considerable weight of evidence of Rangers gaining a competitive advantage by flouting the rules over a period of 10 or more years.

      It follows a causal logic:
      Rangers paid less in tax than other clubs
      And this meant they were able to use that extra money to pay higher salaries and pay more in transfer fees than other clubs
      This meant that good players played at Ibrox that (on the face of it) they otherwise probably couldn’t afford
      Other clubs didn’t

      I know this is hard to follow, but can this in any way be “an assumption from agenda driven haters” or it is it more like simple common sense that a child could follow? It has very reasonably been labelled “financial doping”. You have a competitive advantage that others don’t enjoy by doing something against the rules. It’s not just against the rules, by the way, it’s morally abhorrent too. Hence the whole “sporting integrity” arguments.

      Forget the “what aboutery” and “what’s to say” hypothetical nonsense, Iain. Please, for your own sanity. Accept it. Move forward.

      Oh, and thank you for agreeing about the dual contract position. To be honest, that’s the only thing that actually matters to having all of Rangers’ results nullified and titles stripped, in all likelihood.

      • iain

        Still no proof then? Prima facia or otherwise.

        Thought so.

        As I have said…if they have used dual contracts then they are guilty of a administritive technicality which will see tittles stripped.

        That does not constitute cheating.

        That’s why those “agenda driven haters” like to extrapolate it to claim in means we had players we couldnot afford… they can use the word cheat.

    • padraigocuinn

      I’m surprised that some people cannot grasp something as simple as this.

      – Paying tax costs you money.

      – Buying and paying Football players costs you money.

      – The more money you have at your disposal, the better standard of Football player(in regards to the wage they command) you can afford.

      – Not paying tax(tax evasion) saves you money.

      – Money saved from tax evasion can(and was) be used to pay players.

      Now, the whole idea of RFC deciding to use EBTs as a form of tax-evasion, was to save themselves MONEY. RFC DID NOT WANT TO PAY THE SAME TYPE OF TAX AS EVERY OTHER CLUB IN THE LEAGUE. That was their INTENT and that is indisputable.

      If RFC were forced to pay the same type of tax as every other Club in the league, then the budget they had available for players wages would have meant that they would have had to sign players that commanded a lower wage than the players they actually DID sign.

      If EBTs did not exist, then RFC would have had to pay an extra £49million to pay the players that had dual contracts.

      Are you seriously trying to suggest that RFC would have been willing to fork out an extra £49million, when the very existence of dual contracts at the Club shows quite convincingly that they were not willing to part with that type of money?

      Without the use of dual contracts/EBTs, RFC would have had to sign a LOWER standard of player(in regards to the level of wages they command)

      Anyone who believes that had EBTs never existed, that ALL of the (30-50??) players that had dual contracts at RFC, would still have been at RFC is a loonball. It defies belief, it’s actually bordering on down-right hilarious, that there are people who do believe it.

      • iain

        “If RFC were forced to pay the same type of tax as every other Club in the league, then the budget they had available for players wages would have meant that they would have had to sign players that commanded a lower wage than the players they actually DID sign.”

        And there is that assumption again.

        As ever you are adding 2+2 and getting five.
        As I have previously stated. In the previous era, Rangers did not mitigate their tax exposure in this way. Yet their budgets were still higher. The reason then was that SDM simply allowed the debt to build up before transferring it to his other company’s.

        Why would he have stopped doing that had he not decided to mitigate his tax instead?

        “If EBTs did not exist, then RFC would have had to pay an extra £49million to pay the players that had dual contracts.”

        As chance would have it…almost exactly what he had allowed to build up as debt in the previous era.

        “Are you seriously trying to suggest that RFC would have been willing to fork out an extra £49million, when the very existence of dual contracts at the Club shows quite convincingly that they were not willing to part with that type of money? ”

        See my previous responces. SDM had history of doing EXACTLY that.

      • iain

        Incidentally…can you post a link to all these “dual contracts” you have obviously seen? As you talk of the “very existance” etc?

  21. padraigocuinn

    They exist, don’t worry about that.

    So you are saying that if EBTs never existed, that EVERY SINGLE PLAYER WHO HAD ONE, would still have been at the Club?


    • iain

      Despite claims to the contrary everywhere, I’ve yest to see any proof that they wouldn’t.

      • Paul, Glasgow

        Iain I applaud you defence which on the surface is quite logical, i.e. Prove that sdm would not have spent the extra £49m.
        Here is my attempt at a reasoned response as to why this would not be possible.
        You have to look at how banks lend money. During the ten years under dispute, rfc debts reached levels of up to £80m. The club had book values on their assets of a maximum £120m during this period. These valuations in the accounts do not necessarily imply that a bank valuation would match this, however let us assume that it did, even though rfc maximum Market valuation peaked at circa £80m. The question is, how much more would BOS have funded rfc at this time. Again you would argue that there is no proof that BOS would not have lent the money, so instead let’s just fast forward to 2008 when it is beyond debate that the bank insisted successfully that the debts be reduced. So if the debt had reached £120m by 2008 then the club would have entered administration many years earlier than 2012 or it would have had to sell the majority of it’s squad to satisfy the lenders and would have had a squad similar to the one that mr mccoist describes today as inadequate for the purposes of winning sfl3 and sfl2 titles.
        Now it impossible to prove that today’s rfc would have not won the spl on the three occasions that it did between 2008 and 201 but most honest men/women would have to admit that to suggest they would is a stretch at least.

        In summary, it is impossible to be certain about what might have been, but what we know for sure is that had rangers not used ebt’s, then the last ten or so (maybe less) years would have been very different for the club both on and off the pitch.

        The only question left then, and this is the one we all want the answer to, is this:

        Were the use of ebt’s legal or not and did they affect the eligibility of players to play for the club during this time?

        Once the verdicts are in, we can all debate/argue whether any punishments are proportionate to any proved wrong doing. To be clear I am not at this point saying they are guilty, only that guilt OR innocence MUST be established for football to prosper.

        Without suggesting guilt, surely were you to think that had rfc lost titles due to the ‘cheating’ of any other club, you be first in the queue to demand justice and retribution?p

  22. John Pollock

    Linfield are the most successful club in the world now Iain get over it. I’ve also heard it said that Celtic stand to be the main beneficiaries if rangers are stripped of titles. How so? We don’t want your tainted titles. A simple entry saying withdrawn shall suffice. Its stretching it to say the least that the figures involved over such a prolonged period of time could be explained away as “administrative technicalities”. Just be glad you still have a club kid.

  23. padraigocuinn

    If RFC wanted to pay 50 million extra to pay those players, then I’d imagine they would have paid at least that much to save the Club from liquidation? Where was DM then eh? That’s right, ran away, pretending he was duped by CW. He knew what was coming and he got out any way he could.

    DM used EBTs because he DID NOT WANT TO PAY THE SAME TYPE OF TAX AS EVERY OTHER CLUB. That is indisputable.

    You are seriously trying to suggest that by evading 50 million in taxes, that RFC had ZERO advantage over teams that did not evade tax? Come now, don’t put yourself through this anymore.

    It is you that is adding 2+2 and not paying tax on it, then claiming your still on a level playing field with everyone else.

  24. It’s a complete waste of time and energy trying to reason with people who stubbornly refuse to be reasonable.
    Their sole purpose is to derail the discussion by disrupting the process of reason itself.
    They’re called trolls.
    They feed on reaction but they wither away when nobody rises to them.
    Ignore them.

    • iain

      For “troll” read : Someone who doesn’t fall into line with prevailing group think.

      How is your call to arms against the SFA going out of interest Henry?
      Or your claim that Rangers wouldn’t be playing any football, anywhere this season?

    • Plughole

      I was just about to respond to ‘it’, on another post because it annoyed me. I cancelled, realising it’s purpose. It will be ignored, until Paul stops ‘it’.

  25. Night Terror

    Oh iain, you are funny.

    Ignore those troll-haters and keep posting. I love every single one.

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