Rangers could only afford the standard of player on the park IF they did not incur the full cost of employing that player. They therefore engaged in a tax avoidance scheme. This scheme requires payments to be discretionary, not contractual (the nub of the current HMRC appeal). The board feared declaring these contracts to the SPL would make these schemes contractual, fall into the realms of evasion and therefore incur a tax liability they could not afford. They therefore elected to keep them a secret.
In summary – The Rangers Board deliberately concealed the side contracts to ensure that a tax avoidance scheme didn’t turn into a tax evasion scheme. If doing that to ensure you could have better players on the park than you could normally afford didn’t give them a competitive advantage, I’m a Dutchman.
To compound matters the company Secretary, who oversaw this deliberate decision to withhold information from the SPL is now the President of the SFA.
That then gets to the matter of fairness within Scottish football described by Stuart Cosgrove. As outlined in the LNS decision, the rules of the SPL intended that such large scale cheating by Rangers would result in them being thrown out of competitions. The problem was the rules were not explicit and allowed for the interpretation of what is a properly registered player. We all thought we knew where we stood on this, but Sandy from the SFA has given us a fresh insight. An insight I’m sure Spartans and Brechin would be very interested in.
Sandy Bryson told LNS that just because a contract was incorrect, didn’t mean it was incorrect. More or less it’s the intention that matters. Incomplete or incorrectly filled in forms are not, in themselves illegal documents. In effect, a club could register a contract for a £1 player and then pay him whatever they like. Oh really? Tell that to Spartans, famously chucked out of the Scottish cup for having a date in one place on a contract instead of two places. And this was the registration of just one player – NOT A WHOLE TEAM OF PLAYERS!
The whole period of the last year in Scottish football has been a farce, false threats, genuine threats, poorly written rules, misapplied rules and broken rules. A farce from start to finish – all now compounded by the media, RFC and the football authorities all getting in a complete muddle over liabilities and histories of Oldcos and Newcos and wanting to slice and dice each bit to suit an agenda.
I started with a summary of facts and I’ll finish with a summary of facts.
- Over 20 years Rangers spent money they could not afford
- Rangers spent tax payers money to fund the team on the park
- Rangers illegally registered players to avoid further tax liabilities
- Rangers went bust
- Fans of all clubs feel cheated
- No-one running the game has resigned for their part in the fiasco
- The EBT case is still outstanding and we could yet see 50+ players won trophies for a club who couldn’t afford them
I have just one question for LNS;
It is a fact that Rangers undertook tax avoidance AND tax evasion measures over the last 10 years of their existence. Did they do this;
a) To have better players on the park than their revenues could support?
b) Because they don’t like paying for Doctors, Nurses, Teachers Soldiers etc?