Rangers Oldco Not Guilty of Fielding Ineligible Players – Why?

I wrote earlier about the “deliberate non-disclosure” as opposed to “clerical error” aspect of the Nimmo Smith decision.

Now to the next part – how, despite the rules being broken, did Rangers receive a “not guilty” verdict on fielding ineligible players?

I repeat below my summary, and then on to the issue in question.

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Click on the link below for the full decision.

Commission Decision 28 02 2013

The Commission has found Rangers Football Club PLC, (now RFC 2012 PLC) which is in liquidation and which the Commission referred to as “oldco” as will I, guilty on all four counts, namely three of breaching the rules regarding non-disclosure of information regarding payments to players, and the fourth of failing to co-operate with the SPL by providing information when requested to do so. Oldco was not, for reasons I will come to, guilty of playing ineligible players.

The Commission imposed a fine of £250,000 on oldco.

No finding was made against the football club, which was also a party to the case.

No finding was made against newco, as newco was not a party to the case, but which did appear as the owner of the football club, and, as per the Preliminary Ruling of the Commission, had an interest in any penalty imposed on the football club.

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How, one might ask, can the rules about disclosure of documents tied in with player registrations be broken, and yet the players remain eligible?

The answer is simple, although I have already seen some expressions of astonishment at the implications of the reasoning behind it.

The matter is dealt with in paragraphs 84 to 89 of the decision.

First of all, as a result of the way the Notice of Complaint was phrased, the Commission did not consider that Rangers had been properly “charged” with the offence of playing ineligible players in the period before 23rd May 2005. Accordingly it was only the period from that date which was considered.

The relevant rule as regards ineligible players states:-

“Any Club playing an ineligible Player in an Official Match and the Player concerned shall be in breach of the Rules.”

The key to the Commission’s decision on this point, which in fact changes how the rules regarding registration were thought to act previously, comes from the evidence of the SFA Head of Registrations, Alexander Bryson.

He said that once a player had been registered with the SFA, he remained registered unless and until his registration was revoked.

Therefore, according to his evidence, even if there had been a breach of the SFA registration procedures the registration of a player was not treated as being invalid from the outset, and stood unless and until it was revoked.

At paragraph 87 the Commission noted:-

Mr McKenzie explained to us that SPL Rule D1.13 had hitherto been understood to mean that if, at the time of registration, a document was not lodged as required, the consequence was that a condition of registration was broken and the player automatically became ineligible to play in terms of SPL Rule D1.11.

He accepted however that there was scope for a different construction of the rule, to the effect that, as the lodging of the document in question was a condition of registration, the registration of the player would be liable to revocation, with the consequence that the player would thereafter become ineligible to play.

He accepted that no provision of the Rules enabled the Board of the SPL retrospectively to terminate the registration of the player. It became apparent from his submissions that Mr McKenzie was not pressing for a finding that Issue 3(c), together with the concluding words of Issue 3(b), had been proved.

So, as the hearing proceeded, and as Mr Bryson’s evidence made clear, the Commission formed the view that, despite how the football authorities had acted up until now, once a player was registered, they remained validly registered until that registration was revoked. They state that Mr McKenzie did not press for a finding that ineligible players were played, one assumes because he was told in the hearing that even if he did press for it, he was not going to get it!

The commission continued, at paragraph 88-

In our opinion, this was a correct decision by Mr McKenzie. There is every reason why the rules of the SFA and the SPL relating to registration should be construed and applied consistently with each other.

Mr Bryson’s evidence about the position of the SFA in this regard was clear. In our view, the Rules of the SPL, which admit of a construction consistent with those of the SFA, should be given that construction.

All parties concerned – clubs, players and footballing authorities – should be able to proceed on the faith of an official register. This means that a player’s registration should generally be treated as standing unless and until revoked.

There may be extreme cases in which there is such a fundamental defect that the registration of a player must be treated as having been invalid from the outset.

But in the kind of situation that we are dealing with here we are satisfied that the registration of the Specified Players with the SPL was valid from the outset, and accordingly that they were eligible to play in official matches. There was therefore no breach of SPL Rule D1.11.

So, the position now is, that as long as a player has been registered, he remains eligible, subject to issues such as suspensions, until that registration is revoked.

So, for example, if a football club seeks to register a player without international clearance and, in error, the player is registered by the SFA, they are eligible to play, because they are on the register.

Where, as in this case, the reason for the player not being properly registered is “deliberate non-disclosure” by the football club applying, then one wonders, with due respect to the Commission, how the SFA or SPL could determine that!

On the other hand, the Commission’s job was to deal with the rules as they stood, and not as they might think they should be.

It will seem very odd that the very factor which is at the root of the case, namely the “deliberate non-disclosure” is in fact the factor which leads to an acquittal on the “ineligible player” part of the case.

I suspect that the SFA and SPL might be looking to revise the rule books again!

So we have a situation where Oldco is found guilty of breaking rules about the papers to be lodged with the football authorities to allow players to be registered but because the players were registered, they are not ineligible.

So a registration, no matter how flawed, is a registration, until the SFA/SPL revoke it.

As the Commission’s interpretation stands, should a player who has been banned for life be registered by mistake and by hiding that he is so banned, then he will remain a properly registered player until that registration is revoked.

It is similar to the issue last summer where Oldco held the SPL Share, even though they were no longer owners of a football club, and as such had no right to hold it. But as, in fact, they did hold it, they were entitled to use it to vote until the SPL decided to remove it from them.

This will be seen by some as a technicality, and perhaps it is. It might be seen too as being against the spirit of the rules, but the letter of the rules trumps the spirit.

Let’s see how quickly the football authorities try to being the letter back into line with the spirit, shall we?

Posted by Paul McConville

 

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218 Comments

Filed under Football Governance, Rangers, SPL

218 responses to “Rangers Oldco Not Guilty of Fielding Ineligible Players – Why?

  1. Paddy Malarkey

    Are Harper MacLeod (AKA Celtic’s lawyers )the good guys or the bad guys ?

  2. Marching on Together

    Some thoughts from reading the judgment of Lord Nimmo Smith’s Commission:

    The Commission is at pains throughout to refer to Newco and Oldco as being “the operator of Rangers FC”.

    Para [1](3) – “the Board of Directors [of Oldco] sanctioned the making of payments under the side-letter arrangements without taking any legal or accountancy advice to justify the non-disclosure”. I wonder if any other Murray vehicle took such advice? His previous statements on the subject of EBTs seem to indicate that they did. If so, was this shown to the Board of Oldco? It appears not. Seems to me that the Board of Oldco might be in breach of their fiduciary duty in not asking to see such advice.

    Para [7] – “On 14 June 2012 a newly incorporated company, Sevco Scotland Limited, purchased substantially all the business and assets of Oldco, including Rangers FC, by entering into an asset sale and purchase agreement with the joint administrators”. The club is treated as an asset of Oldco capable of being sold. I had always understood from statements by the administrators that the sale and purchase agreement was concluded with Sevco 5088 Ltd, not with Sevco Scotland Ltd, but no doubt incorporating the usual rights of nomination in the agreement, allowing title to the various assets to be transferred to Sevco Scotland Ltd. Perhaps the Commission just got this point wrong?

    Para [8] – “These events were reflected in an agreement among the SFA, the SPL, the SFL, Oldco and Newco, which was concluded on 27 July 2012.” So we have confirmation that this agreement was in fact actually concluded – there was always some residual doubt that in the rush to get Rangers into the SFL that this was never actually done. I wonder if the clause that the SFA was looking for that Newco would by contract take responsibility for the football debts of Oldco was included in the final version, and if so, whether the definition includes the penalty imposed by this Commission, as the SFA sought to have included?

    Para [17] – “Mr Mure explained it was only recently that the liquidators had been able to take stock of the position, and to decide that Oldco should after all be represented.” Was it the threat to the pot of money available to be distributed to the creditors that convinced the liquidators to spend the money to be represented at the tribunal, whereas for the administrators that was a minor consideration?

    Para [56] – SPL Rule D10.2.3 (in effect prior to 23 May 2005) provides that “Any Club failing to detail a Player’s full financial entitlement in the Contract of Service shall be dealt with as the Board [of the SPL] may decide.” It seems to me that this can be looked at separately from whether or not the registration of such a player is valid or not, and that the SPL Board could still revisit this issue, if it had the will to do so.

    Para [85] – it is clear that the SPL messed up in preparing the Notice of Commission i.e. the charges that Rangers were facing, in not detailing pre-23 May 2005 instances correctly. Therefore the Commission could not consider those charges in relation to the eligibility of players prior to that point. I suspect that the SPL could refile those charges if they wished, but I also suspect that there is no chance of that happening.

    Para [105] – “we have received no evidence from which we could possibly say that Oldco could not or would not have entered into the EBT arrangements with players if it had been required to comply with the requirement to disclose the arrangements as part of the players’ full financial entitlement or as giving rise to payment to players. It is entirely possible that the EBT arrangements could have been disclosed to the SPL and SFA without prejudicing the argument – accepted by the majority of the Tax Tribunal at paragraph 232 of their decision – that such arrangements, resulting in loans made to the players, did not give rise to payments absolutely or unreservedly held for or to the order of the individual players.” I have to ask what exactly the solicitor for the SPL was doing at the tribunal if NO attempt was made to show that Oldco would not have signed such players without the EBT arrangements. You would have thought that this would have been a crucial part of the SPL’s case?

    Conclusion – Rangers have got off through a technicality, through the poor drafting of SPL rules, but those are the rules, and it may well be that some smart Rangers bod spotted such a possibility at the outset. It is also clear from the judgment that the Scottish football authorities and rules consider that Rangers under Oldco and Newco are one and the same i.e. a continuing club.

  3. ocuilte

    I agree with the sentiments of most. I will not be spending any more of my hard earned money on the SPL. This is a typical establishment cover up, using the space that always exists inside rules to get the answer they want. Of course they cheated, of course the players were not registered, of course they should have been docked titles which would be the only punishment that would have any impact on the “new rangers”. In a number of places the “by the way” outcome is that new rangers = old rangers so long as there are no negative implications.

    As many have said, the wee ara peepul have won – cheated and got away with it.

    The lesson learned is that so long as you are the establishment you will never be caught, so cheat away. I await EBT mark 2 under Green.

  4. Marching on together , mate , can I call you mate ? I don’t have any ! Please listen I doesn’t matter what you say the hatred , bile , vindictiveness and ignorance of the haters will continue , you seem to be a reasonable chap and your input is very welcome , but please for your own sanity DO NOT TRY AND REASON WITH THE LYNCH MOB ! You will be labeled , hun , anti Christ , non believer ect , but don’t take it personally we have to suffer them on a daily basis .

    • Marching on Together

      Carson

      My club has always been Leeds United, although growing up in Scotland it was necessary to have Scottish (or diddy) team, and for me that was Celtic. This was because Celtic played attractive attacking football, whereas Rangers just hoofed it up in the park in the hope it would skite off Derek Johnstone’s head and into the net.

      I have been to many Celtic games, but stopped going in 2004 partly after a salutary experience with bigoted racist Celtic fans in Milan (and being a Leeds fan, that must have been bad for me to be shocked by it).

      I have no liking for Rangers, but to clarify:

      1) it is clear to me that they breached the spirit of the rules in relation to disclosure of the contractual payments, and should have been punished with having 3 points deducted for every game in which an ineligible player played – I did not expect the SPL’s incompetence to extend to not drafting their rules correctly, not applying them as drafted, and not prosecuting the case before the Commission properly.

      2) Rangers the club is the same club whether under oldco or newco, as LNS has clearly confirmed. Prior to the Rangers administration the concept of a club dying if it entered an insolvency event had never been heard of in British football.

      • don

        think if you look at Airdrie and Gretna’s situation, then you’ll find that their clubs died and were informed by the sfa they are not the same clubs.

  5. cam

    MICK!,,,,drag your old cheatin, bleatin heart in here for your well deserved skelping.
    No hiding,take yer lumps like a man.

  6. Proud Scot

    Lord Nimmo Smith explodes the myth that club and company are separate entities

    Taken from today’s report

    History
    Rangers Football Club was founded in 1872 as an association football club. It was incorporated in 1899 as The Rangers Football Club Limited. In 2000 the company’s name was changed to The Rangers Football Club Plc, and on 31 July 2012 to RFC 2012 Plc.

    Ergo the CLUB was incorporated as Ltd company and then the name was changed. No mention of any company that owns the club etc.

    However LNS then immediately refers to the Oldco that runs the club; contradicting himself I believe.

    The plot thickens? Or has the plot been lost forever?

    • Marching on Together

      You clearly have not read all 42 pages of the judgement. LNS makes it perfectly clear that the company which operates the club and the club itself are two distinct things.

      • Michael

        one point to remember is that the commission is referring to SPL rules, which is itself a limited company and can only contract with limited companies.

        If athe same analysis was done with regard to another set of rules what would the view be.

        I don’t care one way or the other, but done hang your argument on a shoogly peg!

        • Marching on Together

          “which is itself a limited company and can only contract with limited companies” ROFLMAO. So you are saying that limited companies cannot contract with individuals?

          “If athe same analysis was done with regard to another set of rules what would the view be.” What other set of rules are relevant? The Zimbabwean FA? It is the rules of the SPL that matter here and these were the rules which were analysed and show that the club and the company which operates the club are different.

          ShooglyPegs’r’Us from the sound of your post.

      • Proud Scot

        MOT

        He makes if clear from the statement I quote that club and company are the same and then proceeds with no evidence or explanation to discuss separate entities.

        I have read he whole document and it contradicts everything he defines under History in para 4

        • Marching on Together

          “He makes if clear from the statement I quote that club and company are the same and then proceeds with no evidence or explanation to discuss separate entities.” No he does not.

          “I have read he whole document” Reading it is not the same as understanding it.

          • Proud Scot

            No perhaps I don’t understand it. That’s because it is contradictory. He spells out the history of the club / company as an entity then talks about separate operator / owners of the club which contradict what he said.

            No I don’t understand, please enlighten me because I want to know. I really do.

      • @mot

        “Rangers Football Club was founded in 1872 as an association football club. It was incorporated in 1899 as The Rangers Football Club Limited.”

        The second sentence makes it clear that the “company” was the “club” rather than there being 2 seperate entities – from 1899 onwards “Rangers Football Club” was in fact the body Corporate, ergo if the company dies it means the end of the club, as they are one & the same.

        • Marching on Together

          You clearly are so desperate that you are hanging a meaning on one phrase which the phrase does not support. Do you even know what actually happens when in Scotland an unincorporated voluntary association (as ran Rangers prior to 1899) “becomes” incorporated?

          There is not a magical process under which waving a wand magically converts one into another. What actually happens is that the new company is formed, the association then resolves in terms of its constitution to transfer its assets to the company, such a transfer of assets is then carried out (possibly evidenced in writing, possibly not). Then the association may decide to dissolve itself in terms of its constitution (sometimes that step is forgotten about).

          So what we actually have at “incorporation” is in fact an asset transfer, in the same way as when the administrators of Rangers oldco sold the assets of Rangers FC to Rangers newco. In 1899 the assets which were transferred from the association to the new company included the team kit, the player registrations, any heritable property and any other moveable property such as cash and the intellectual property rights to Rangers i.e. all the things that make up the club.

          So the company is not and never has been the club. Even in 1899.

          • Eddie

            Are you actually being serious? Incorporation is to join one entity with another. The club formed in 1872 was incorporated and therefor established AS A LEGAL ENTITY in March 1899. That’s why on the gates of Ibrox is says “The rangers football club LTD”. Yes LTD means limited company. So with your example, the club were never really a club at any point but just a bunch of individual assets? Give us a break with this complete nonsense will you.

            • Marching on Together

              So Mr Know-It-All. How many times have you “incorporated” an unincorporated voluntary association? Unlike you, I have done it several times.

              “Incorporation is to join one entity with another.” ROFLMAO. Complete an utter ignorance of what is involved.

            • Eddie

              So bearing that in mind. You are confident that Charles Green’s “Rangers 2012″ are in receipt of records of the club’s agm’s going back to 1872? Are they also in receipt of records of the club’s committee members going back to 1872? Are they also in receipt of records of the club’s membership lists going back to 1872?

              Stop deluding yourself. This was no “Unincorporation” whatsoever. Unincorporations are indeed voluntary. Rangers fc 1872 were refused a CVA was rejected. A forced sale of assets were sold on. At this point the “Club” founded in 1872 were sold off in parts. Rangers plc were placed into COMPULSORY LIQUIDATION.

              GO HAVE A NAP. i KNOW THE TRUTH IS HARD TO TAKE AS YOU ARE EMOTIONALLY ATTACHED TO THE CLUB. BUT THAT CLUB IS GONE.

            • Marching on Together

              You really have no idea what the grown-ups are talking about do you? An “unincorporated voluntary association” is the legal term for what Rangers were pre-1899, and what many bowling, golf and amateur football clubs still are today. An association of its members with a committee running things.

              “Unincorporations are indeed voluntary” That is the legal and linguistic equivalent of declaring that “Celtic are fish”. Makes no sense whatsoever, unless to babbling idiots.

              “At this point the “Club” founded in 1872 were sold off in parts.” i.e. all the parts that make up the club – history, player registrations, IP, goodwill, the brand, player registrations, the kit, the ground etc etc were sold in one, therefore the club was sold.

              “YOU ARE EMOTIONALLY ATTACHED TO THE CLUB” My club is Leeds United, which is alive and kicking and always has been. Away you go back to watching Bigots’R’Us and leave the discussion to those who understand what is being said.

            • Eddie

              “At this point the “Club” founded in 1872 were sold off in parts.” i.e. all the parts that make up the club – history, player registrations, IP, goodwill, the brand, player registrations, the kit, the ground etc etc were sold in one, therefore the club was sold.”.

              1. History – Cannot be “Bought”. To suggest otherwise it utter fantasy. Could I go and buy Lance Armstrong’s Tour De France titles? Quite.
              2. Player registrations – So what happened to Naismith, Ness and Davis amongst others?
              3. Goodwill – What is that? Did RFC 1872 that owed £55m at time of liquidation have any goodwill left to give. Perhaps your talking about the riots in Manchester 2008.

              Your idea that the club was sold as one is incorrect. The club lives or dies by the stability of the entity which was Rangers football CLUB Ltd. When David Murray bought the club for £6m, it was the Club he bought. When Craig Whyte bought the club from David Murray for £1, he bought the Club. At no stage did Charles Green buy a club. He bought “Assets”. Rangers football club no longer existed.

              At no point in the run up to the CVA was it reported that it was only the “Holding Company” that was in jeopardy. Charles Green admitted himself that he was bemused by Dave King’s proposal to let the club go into liquidation. Green quote – “Why would a Rangers fan say that and allow 140 years of history to end”. What changed his mind?

              For example. What if the Morton chairman bought the “Assets” and moved Morton into Ibrox. Would Morton of been Rangers?

              As I said before. Charles Green is not in receipt of all the relevant records of agm’s, members lists stretching back to 1872. Why is that?

              You really are thick as shit. Go lie down, take a deep breath and take it easy.

            • Marching on Together

              “History – Cannot be “Bought”. “ You confuse titles with history. I could go out and buy the Coca-Cola brand, and I would be buying its history, no doubt about that.

              “ Player registrations – So what happened to Naismith, Ness and Davis amongst others?” If they had chosen to go with the club to newco then so would their registrations. It is just that the TUPE regulations allows them the choice, because a change of the company which owns the club is involved.

              “Goodwill – What is that?” Do you really not know what that basic concept in ANY business is? If so it is pointless talking to someone who has no understanding of business, law, football or finance.

              “When David Murray bought the club for £6m, it was the Club he bought.” The principal asset of the company he bought was the club.

              “When Craig Whyte bought the club from David Murray for £1, he bought the Club.” No, he bought the shares in the company that owned the club.

              “At no stage did Charles Green buy a club. He bought “Assets”.” All the assets he bought collectively made up the club.

              “At no point in the run up to the CVA was it reported that it was only the “Holding Company” that was in jeopardy” At no point in the history of British football has it ever been argued before that an insolvency event like Rangers suffered automatically kills the club. It was only when you and the rest of the bigots arrived that that became a very novel and very erroneous argument.

              “Charles Green admitted himself that he was bemused by Dave King’s proposal to let the club go into liquidation” It is well established that Green talks a lot of guff.

              “You really are thick as shit. Go lie down, take a deep breath and take it easy.” You lie awake dreaming about reaching the lofty heights for you of being as thick as shit. Away you go back to preaching your bigoted bile and hatred to your fellow bigots, who clearly have the same inability to understand ANYTHING about business as you. Or gonnae tell us the one about “Incorporation is to join one entity with another” again. That had us rolling in the aisles with laughter and pity.

            • Eddie

              If you buy into Coca Cola just now then of course you buy everything that comes with it. Same way Murray and Whyte bought Rangers football club using their respective “Holding Companies” MIH and Wavetower Ltd. Once the CVA proposal was rejected out of hand by HMRC, Rangers FC 1872 were no longer a going concern. Rangers Football Club operated as a business since 1899. This is the first time I have ever heard the tosh about a “Company that runs the club”. No other club in the world is spoken of in using that term. The history red herring is complete and utter nonsensity. If Charles Green is claiming that he “bought” the history, titles and trophies, does that mean that in fact he bought them from the company that you are claiming is separate from the club? And therefor the trophies in fact do not belong to the club. Are you claiming that Rangers FC is not a club but merely a franchise. Companies do operate franchises so perhaps I have picked you up wrong. Think I will head to a shop that sells history tomorrow and see what I can pick up. Laughable.

              The players can obviously be tuped so why would Green have to buy their registrations? I was Tuped some years ago from government to Serco Denholm Ltd. Serco Denholm did not “Buy” my contract of employment. Serco Denholm offered me and others the same terms that we were on for a period of 5 years before it was up for negotiation. I had a right to leave. And on that score. Why is it that Green didn’t sue the players like he claimed he was going to? I think we know why. Another red herring..

              As for the Goodwill. What goodwill was transferred? The club had just shafted creditors for millions. What a nice bit of goodwill that was. The club’s name is mud and only people willing to pay peanuts would deal with a new club using the Rangers brand.

              Charles Green bought Ibrox Stadium, Murray Park, an option to purchase Albion car park, and the Rangers “brand.” It has never been mentioned that he bought a club. Or should that club be called Assets FC? I see you body swerved my example of Morton buying the assets and moving into Ibrox while competing in the first division and called themselves Glasgow Morton FC. Where would that have left Rangers 1872 and their history? The timeline was broke.

              Liquidation means the end. Firesale of assets to highest bidder. Don;t get me wrong, I would probably be saying the same if it were Celtic but my thoughts and wishes would be contrary to facts. Like your analogy quite clearly is.

              Your peddling more myths than a medium.

          • Bawsman

            Interesting then that Brian Stockridge stated on Radio Clyde yesterday that “I don’t understand how people could expect the CLUB to make a profit in its first year”

  7. arb urns

    where was the sfa’s head of registration when ict enquired about an elligible player registration recently with his ‘ tough we cocked up so ye canny complain’ instead we were treated to an explanation why said player was elligible totally irrelevant given todays findings in my view.

  8. AntoniousF

    Maybe all fans of Scottish football should start at Scottish football fighting fund to challenge this unbelievable decision. There are surely plenty of examples that would suggest that The SFA apply Different rules according to the transgressor

    • Michael

      antonius f, please don’t tell me you’re another paranoid delusionist – read the conclusion and tell us where they should have made a different decision (by the rules)

  9. Micks hiding under the blessed Margarets skirt ! He still says though ” yooose are aw still cheats ” …… Mick only joking mate ! But on a serious note there is still time to save yourself … do it Mick go on , go on , come over to the enlightened side , leave the dark side Mick , come on , don’t listen to them look at the myths , half truths and fairytales they have told you , Mick there’s still time … save yourself Mick …. before it’s too late .

    • Michael

      carson, it is blatantly obvious that Rangers were attempting to be cheats – but the rules actually clear them-ish, even though they were desperately trying to hide the info re side-letters.

      Being right by accident is some victory!

  10. BB

    I see the SPL claiming their integrity is intact then. As if! It is in absolute tatters. The whole sorry episode has been shown up for the witch hunt it is. These people have no accountability whatsoever. They prejudiced this enquiry from the outset with their hamfisted and shameful attempt to blackmail Rangers into submission in July. They tried to impose what has now been proven to be an unjust punishment on the club without any proper investigation. Once again, like the tax case, a shocking lack of natural justice has been allowed to poison the game in this parochial small minded and bigoted little country.
    We have heard a lot recently about the need for everyone to be aware of all the facts before coming to a conclusion, this ethos was never afforded to Glasgow Rangers Football Club. It has also been stated recently it is wrong to exploit the sins of some to mercilessly denigrate an institution, again, this outlook obviously did not apply where Rangers were concerned. Yes, if a crime has been found to be committed re the takeover then Craig Whyte should be dealt with accordingly. However, the cynical exploitation that followed by many has to be looked at. A lot of people, fans, club reps and media alike, should be taking a long hard look in the mirror, as their pitchfork mentality, for a variety of reasons, has seriously damaged the game for years to come. Even now, the usual suspects like spiers cosgrove grant etc are bemoaning today’s judgement, why? People simply cannot accept a ruling, justice doesn’t really come into it, it’s about besmirching Rangers, and nothing else. Anyone saying otherwise is having a laugh. I’m thinking Colonel Jessup here…’you can’t handle the truth!’
    Rangers were cleared of cheating. Deal with it.
    LNS clearly stated the SPL and ‘their’ lawyers didn’t know their own rules. In their zealousness to have Rangers deemed as cheats, they tried to cobble a case together which showed Rangers fielded ineligible players and it was thrown back in their face. Who was driving this, and why? Who was responsible for this title stripping business in July, and why? This should be investigated. Why, even now, are the BBC blatantly contradicting LNS with their bulletins saying Rangers fielded ineligible players? Was it not enough for them to re-write history re the big tax case, when they wrongly reported it as tax evasion? Why is this not a good day for football? No cheating was found to have taken place, I would have thought that would have been a positive outcome for the game’s wellbeing, but then again, the way those in positions of influence have behaved in this whole sorry mess, the game’s wellbeing was never the issue. It was burn Rangers at the stake, guilty or otherwise!
    Apologies for the accusations of financial doping etc should be forthcoming, it’s the decent thing to do.

    • Vega

      Witch hunt? You were found guilty.

      Try and remember that The Rangers are lucky to be in the league at all. There were more deserving cases.

    • AntoniousF

      because everyone knows they fielded ineligible players…. doh

    • alexander

      There,s not even been an apology from anybody connected to Rangers old or new to the people who really deserve an apology and THEIR Cash, The CREDITORS! They are owed Millions,as well as HMRC. who are also owed Millions, Last years Tax and Insurance was not paid Either,Hence the old club were LIQUIDATED! and you think an apology should be forthcoming! about a verdict where the old club were found Guilty,Your Highly Polished Brass Neck, must have cost you about 4 tins of Brasso! Or did you just get some some from Charlie Chuckles? That most certainly would have cost you! STILL SHAMELESS!

      • BB

        Who should apologize exactly? The manager? He paid his taxes and NI. The players? Likewise. The tea lady….the kit man…..the fans? they pay their money, martin bain? he told all not to trust the man whyte, as did the board, and they were sacked or walked, an the sfa did …nothing. you want an apology, you chase whyte for it, he owes Rangers one as well, a big one, as does murray for landing us with the cretin, as do lloyds, for forcing murray to sell. Meanwhile, if, i suspect, you happen to be a disgruntled Celtic fan due to the days events, i suggest you get back to cheering on your team, and be happy for the season they’ve had, like any other normal football fan would, or should, and stop being obsessed with Rangers, for once.

  11. Vega

    Vega doesn’t do hate but if he did it would be days like these that he hates most.

    On the one side we’ve got The Rangers fans all goin raj celebrating a guilty on all counts verdict because they got off lightly (ie. scot-free). What did anyone expect? We’ve been led to believe that the worst that could have happened was that they’d have to pretend to have slightly less titles, but as we know they wouldn’t have accepted a reduction in pretence.

    On the other side we’ve got the Celts (of which i’m one) all acting like its the end of the world (of which i’m not).

    The Rangers have found out that not everyone is against them. We’ve discovered someone else that (apparently) is.

    At the weekend we’ll be playing in the quarters of the Scottish Cup, and hopefully better than we did against Motherwell whereas The Rangers get to have a crack at the other Stirling.

    Next week we’ll be playing CL football and The Rangers won’t.

    We’re in rude financial health however they’ve got more questions than answers regarding their finances…by ‘eck.

    Let them celebrate cos they’ll wake up tomorrow in the same mess but with a hangover.

    • cam

      Two years of being called sporting cheats,having the media buy into the unfounded allegations,listening to endless snide remarks by Celtic fans with typewriters(ok computers) in the press and on the internet.
      Every football phone in hogged by bampots reading from the same hymn sheet,the Celtic manager sticking his ugly mug in with financial doping statements and old General smug face the Coyote having a pop.
      Going raj?
      You better believe it.
      I’m gonna haunt every CFC site and drive the lot of ye mental.
      I’m gonna make it my life’s work to punish the doomsayers.
      24/7 sponsored by Red Bull i’ll be clattering to ma,,,,,,

      Sorry,Mrs Cam wants me off my orange box so that Carson has somewhere to sit.

      • Vega

        Whatever floats yer boat.

        I take it you didn’t think much of Paul’s last post on deliberate non-disclosure then? You know…lets not mention the side letters in case the authorities act to stop us operating our tax management scheme that allows us to get players we otherwise couldn’t afford and hence gain a sporting advantage? And breathe.

        Just saying.

        • cam

          I think if Paul had been presenting the SPL case then he may have addressed this weakness.
          I blame the more informed CFC fans for not forming a CFFF and hiring a lawyer who knew the steps of this wee birlie roon the dance floor.

        • iain

          You mean the tax management scheme ruled to be perfectly legitimate?

          • Vega

            That’s the one.

            When I said “just saying” I really was just saying…

          • “You mean the tax management scheme ruled to be perfectly legitimate?”

            So “perfectly legitimate” that there is liability for PAYE/NIC on 36 of 81 sub-trusts (45%).

            Whether that liability is slightly less or significantly less than HMRC claimed is neither here nor there, it exists.

    • alexander

      vega, They remind me of all the Sloths you see outside a court wae their suits on ,waiting on their pal coming out, who,s just been found not to be guilty, for stabbing somebody in the back,and when he appears they hug shake hands and laugh! we got away with it YESSS! SLOTHS by the way are a Group of Bears!

      • Vega

        Indeed.

        Rangers feel they’ve been hard done by overall. Fans of other clubs may feel they haven’t been treated harshly enough.

        Personally, four years ago I would never have imagined that Rangers would be playing in the third division in 2012/13 but realistically if they’d managed to worm their way into the SPL it could have been a car crash.

  12. cam

    If i get to see Mr Whyte in the back of a Reliance wagon then its party time again.

  13. Hello there – A lurker here with some phone issues, Can someone please help me out here with some technical advice , I downloaded the commissions verdict earler on my device pdf . Since then it keeps repeating the download on its own accord everytime I click on any link on twitter or when accessing sites from my home screen shortcuts.I am on a Samsung S3, any advice/help regarding this would be much appreciated.Thanks in advance HH ★

    • cam

      The Samsung S3 is notorious for synaptic gaps in its hyper threading processor.
      I assume your on Orange network which is down temporarily due to nobody being able to do their job for laughing.
      If you drop the phone into a pint of Guinness and drink it then that usually fixes it.
      Give it at least 10 attempts and if it doesn’t work then get a new phone.

      • Clarkeng

        @Cam
        Naw Cam you are totally wrang.
        It’s nuthin tae dae wi the hyper drive although a lot of people are just lookin tae be beamed up.
        The sellik fan on the other end of the line keeps sending it hoping the next version gives a different verdict.

  14. Scott Mc

    cam
    February 28, 2013 at 8:14 pm

    Two years of being called sporting cheats
    ———————————————————————————————–
    So what do you call deliberately withholding details of contractual payments to several players when the regulations quite clearly state they must be declared? Not paying PAYE and NI? Spending money they didn’t have and didn’t pay back? Withholding monies due to other clubs?

    The big tax case isn’t over yet either.

    If it walks like a duck etc

  15. Old Auditor

    Paul
    Para 88 in the The decision focuses on the interpretation of D1.13 (See below) and in particular the question of Registration, majoring on the fact that registration runs until revoked and if not revoked then eligibility is not in question. However, the rule deals with registration and eligibility separately. While I can understand that the SPL/SFA may have registered players in the absence of the deliberately withheld information and LNS says that registration stands until revoked, surely the failure to comply with the conditions meant that players failed to achieve eligibility?

    D1.13 A Club must, as a condition of Registration and for a Player to be eligible to Play in Official Matches, deliver the executed originals of all Contracts of Service and amendments and/or extensions to Contracts of Service and all other agreements providing for payment, other than for reimbursement of expenses actually incurred, between that Club and Player, to the Secretary, within fourteen days of such Contract of Service or other agreement being entered into, amended and/or, as the case may be, extended.

  16. cam

    It is awfy quiet in here,looks like some folk cannae take their lumps.
    Givers but not takers.
    Probably away to digest LNS’s findings and spot a flaw in his ruling.
    Amazing what a library card does for some folks estimation of themselves.
    Yes Rangers officials were remiss in paperwork.
    But 11 men took to the field of play against another 11 and won the day.

    As a legal aside and juicy titbit my mole in chambers allegedly heard the following from the ante room from which Rhod the bhoy McKenzie appeared rather flush faced, with Lord Nimmo’s word’s ringing in his ears;

    “Nimmo: [angrily] Wrong, sir! Wrong! Under section 37B of the contract signed by him, it states quite clearly that all offers shall become null and void if – and you can read it for yourself in this photostatic copy – “I, the undersigned, shall forfeit all rights, privileges, and licenses herein and herein contained,” et cetera, et cetera… “Fax mentis, incendium gloria cultum,” et cetera, et cetera… Memo bis punitor delicatum! It’s all there! Black and white, clear as crystal! You STOLE Fizzy-Lifting Drinks! You BUMPED into the ceiling, which now has to be washed and sterilized, so you get… NOTHING!!! You lose! GOOD DAY, SIR! [returns to work]

    Burp!
    Oompa loompa loompadee doo!

    • Michael

      cam

      you surely have better arguments than the 11 men v’s 11?

      You know fine well that two tribunal/commission’s have shown Rangers deliberately hid evidence of the side letters. This shows a knowledge that the EBTs were suspect and were done for a reason – to save money.

      Rangers spent what they could during the EBT period, but it was designed to save them money, money which they could then either spend in buying better players or more players to strengthen the squad.

      The FTTT and today’s decision did not find in favour of Rangers not cheating on the field – they found that Rangers were not acting against the rules: first the tax rules, then the SPL rules.

      Words are important and they should not be twisted to make one decision = another, different, decision!

  17. Chas W

    the commissions verdict is that the the players were registered. The club did nothing wrong in then allowing them to play. The wrongdoing was withholding information – which was contrary to the rules but this in itself does not make the registration invalid. All fair enough, however, couple of points – are there any rules which, if knowingly broken,would invalidate a registration (such asaybe altering date of birth ). Secondly if there was a deliberate withholding of information – by whom? Surely the individuals should be fined banned. Otherwise it’s a bit like the Dylan song ” they got him on conspiracy, but were never sure who with’

  18. Paul

    So what we have as usual with the ‘law’ is a nice wee dance around the formation of language and absolutely no reference to justice or ‘right’? From an esoteric perspective that may be ‘interesting’ to someone like yourself who is steeped in the ‘dance’. You may also smile at the ‘cleverness’ of it all and perhaps toast yourself for guessing the legal interpretation in advance. But, for those of us who pay hard cash to watch a sporting competition, and are less interested in playing legal cluedo, the use of ‘law’ to find ‘justice’ has been found wanting if not completely abandoned.

    I think this fiasco truly does prove that the law is an ass. Law without justice is as useful as lawlessness itself.

    To draw the conclusion that being able to recruit players you would otherwise have been unable to afford (LNS statement) does not derive you any sporting advantage is cognitive dissonance at its best.

    Like those in Liverpool, what we need is justice which the ‘law’ seems determined to thwart at every opportunity.

  19. AntoniousF

    For a while now i have been loosing faith in those people who are supposed to protect the rights of citizens. ministers expense scandals, bank bail outs by the government while bosses get millions in bonuses and so on. this is just another example of corporate cheating, protected by those in power. the man in the street knows it’s wrong but in most cases is powerless to stop it.
    S=Say
    F=F@@k
    A=All

    S=Shall
    P=Pay
    L=Lipservice

    L=Levy
    N=No
    S=Sanctions

  20. Wasp

    Thought it might be busy on here today !

    What a fascinating judgement. Quite a bit of interesting stuff on a number of levels.

    Few things I wondered if anyone had any information on:

    1. Is this the biggest fine a Scottish football club has ever had for breaching rules or are there other cases which top this ?

    2. Is there anyone else out there who had never heard of Tero Penttila ?

    3. Was anyone else staggered by the sums involved in this ? No wonder the players wanted Side Letters as in certain cases that was how the bulk of their “salary” seems to have ben received !!

    4. Can anyone explain why Rangers prevaricated in providing the evidence that had been requested of them, given that they had already been given a ticking off from the gax authorities for that ?

    I think it will be interesting going forward as the football authorities have set a number of precedents over the past year which, with the Hearts situation for example, may provide the backdrop for decisions they will need to take in the very near future. With their past approach very clear in everyone’s mind, it will make it well nigh impossible for them to deviate from these in dealing with other clubs.

    One last thing that struck me was that, if you had a club with enough financial muscle to pay any likely fine which would be received, I wonder if it could make sense to breach SPL etc rules if the upside was that you had more success (and made more money) than you would have otherwise. It appears to me that this may be achievable by making it very clear that the rule breaching was being carried out by the holding company but not the club itself -unless I am picking up that aspect of the decision completely wrong ?!!!

    • Budweiser

      wasp

      RE. 1 – The ‘club’ wasn’t fined, the oldco was fined. Pity St. mirren and spartans didn’t have an oldco when they were penalised.

      • Wasp

        Bud

        Point taken. That seems to mirror the thinking in my final paragraph (i.e. there may be means by which clubs may avoid sporting penalties).

        Re point 1, I would still be interested in determining the severity of this fine (albeit it will not be paid) in relation to others which have gone before (whether for clubs, companies, players, club officials etc).

        • Budweiser

          Wasp

          Spartans thrown out of scot cup re incorrect paperwork.
          St. Mirren fined £25k reduced in appeal to £12.5k. At the time it was said that £12.5 k was at the very least,one weeks wages for the whole first team squad. That was for one player in one game.

    • I think Celtic were fined £100, 000 for ‘tapping up’ Tommy Burns (RIP) and had to pay circa £200, 000 compensation to Killie.

      Not being a legal type but surely the SPL will throw this report out, considering the slating the Rangers have had over side letters, obstruction of justice and basic corruption of all disclosure rules?

      They are ‘banged to rights’ surely.

  21. Exactly. The exact letter of the rules, while breached provide no mechanism for deeming a player ineligible. A bit like Craig Whyte passing the fit and proper person as it is upto the applicant to be upfront about all the details. If you happen to miss a few things out, then as long as you get in or registered then your ok. In the case of the rangers player, they are no longer at the club so can’t have their registration revoked.

    It reminded me of neil lennon case when he challenged the 8 match ban ruling received, which pointed to serious defencies in how the football rules were written.

    I assume that all the rules/guidelines have been written and confirmed by lawyers. Seems to me that the lawyers have been getting money for nothing. Either that or they just believed that all clubs would be forthcoming with all relevant information, what was there to hide!!

  22. “But 11 men took to the field of play against another 11 and won the day.”

    The 11 men who represented Rangers could only do so because their pockets were stuffed with untaxed taxpayers money – BUNGS!!!

    It was not a level “field of play”

    They may have “won the day” but like Lance Armstrong or Ben Johnson, their victory’s are tainted.

    They know it, we know it.

    Disappointment is temporary, Liquidation is permanent.

  23. “Yes Rangers officials were remiss in paperwork.”

    Like Harold Shipman’s bedside manner lacked somewhat?

  24. Excellent summing up. I see it as this, your club submits your details to the relevant authority, this is then registered as being your details and you are a registered player, eligible to play.
    it seems that retrospectively you can’t deem that a player was ineligible, therefore carrying out the investigation after the deed had been done and all players had gone meant they were always eligible. The rules and the people supposed to implement them are not fit for purpose.

  25. shiltrum

    Maybe Dundee who are this seasons relegation candidates should go and get a team of ringers and save themselves but just make sure they are all registered then when they safe just revoke their registration status and oot the door they go simples. 😉

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