As a preface to this article I enclose a link – https://t.co/1VPV0NyNTV – to details on the provision of Edmiston House and The Albion Road Car Park as security to a loan from Close Leasing Ltd to The Rangers Football Club Limited(TRFCL) The latter owns the assets. One assumes that TRFCL also owns Ibrox and Auchenhowie or are these still subject to dispute. Liquidating RIFC PLC would be child’s play for the rogue board.
It is not an overdraft. Stewart Robertson was lying through his back teeth when presenting it as such. He was lying through his back teeth when asserting that it was a vote of confidence in the rogue board. One might contend that he is made of the right stuff, a penchant for mendacity, that is high on the list of criteria for the position of Chief Executive at the SFA. Quite incredibly his hat is in the ring. Those who desire a level playing field in Scottish football might as well pack up their tent if someone as compromised as Robertson was selected. Will we return to the revolving door policy that ushered David Murray’s men Gordon Smith and Campbell Ogilvie into executive office at the SFA? The best interests of Rangers Lite will continue to be served by Andrew Dickson, who is the signatory to the loan document. One notes that Dickson had to change the date. Can he not even get this salient detail right? Surely he is destined for a long and fulfilling career at Hampden, unless -horror of horrors – he engaged in crooked submissions to the SFA’s UEFA licence committee of which he was a member. Did Dickson correspond to himself in writing, viz:
Andrew Dickson – TRFCL Director : “I hereby certify that all The Rangers social taxes have been met as they fell due, with the exception of an invoice for two million and eight hundred thousand pounds which is the subject of discussions with HMRC and has not crystallised.”
Andrew Dickson – SFA UEFA Licence Committee Member : “Thank you Andrew. It will be my pleasure to confirm to committee Chair Rod Petrie that all is ticketyboo at Ibrox. Don’t be a stranger at Hotel Du Vin. There’s a very agreeable claret with your name on it.”
One is fully aware that the SFA is an old boys’ club of blazers and brown brogues, but surely corresponding with oneself is beyond the pale? Or is self-certification the name of the game as is the case when submitting the name of a new director? If he’s good enough for Rangers then who are we at the SFA to stand in his way?
My interest was piqued by an article written by Keith Jackson. He was comparing and contrasting the SFA with the SPFL and making a case for Neil Doncaster to not be damned by osmosis to the dysfunctional SFA, despite being a member of the SFA’s Professional Game Board. Jackson highlighted the fact that Doncaster’s 13 strong team yielded a similar quantum of revenue to that of the 180 strong SFA. I’m sure Mr. Jackson will forgive me if I demur as I look at Mr Doncaster and the SPL/SPFL through an extract from the minutes of an interim board meeting which I gleaned from one of my sources. This exclusive was published in jj passim as The Discredited LNS Commission. It can be found in my archive or via a quick search on Google.
Prior to doing so it would be instructive to look at the following SPL rule:
SPL Rule D1.13, in effect from and including 23 May 2005 states:
“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 [of the SPL, within fourteen days of such Contract of Service or other agreement being entered into, amended and/or, as the case may be, extended.”
The Rangers players in receipt of EBT were not eligible to play in official matches from that date. There was nothing imperfect yet eligible as the SFA’s Sandy Bryson might have us believe. This SPL rule is unequivocal.
A fine of 250,000 pounds for numerous transgressions of this rule is a travesty. A travesty not lost on Duncan Fraser who remitted the following to a number of individuals, including Mr. Doncaster:
From: Duncan Fraser Sent: 07 March 2013 16:26 To: Ralph Topping; Iain Blair; Neil Doncaster; Stephen Thompson; Eric Riley Cc: Rod McKenzie
RE: Appeal to SFA
Gentlemen, I wish to put on record to you all my position.</i></b></span>
The circumstances we find ourselves in is that we have been unable to get together to discuss the outcome of the commission findings face to face, which is most unfortunate as we would all have benefitted from that. I am and never would pretend to understand the way the law works let alone pass comment. Ralph “Clapham Bus” being as far as I would go.
I am at pains to point out that I, like Ralph, find the size of the fine and therefore the punishment to be disproportionate to the scale of the actions undertaken.
Although the EBT Tax case has been appealed it would be fair to assume that the somewhat surprising Tax Tribunal outcome, that these undeclared payments fell out with PAYE and NIC and therefore were “legal” had an effect on the Commission. It seems that they viewed the use of the EBT as resulting in no sporting advantage that Rangers would have received if they had been declared. In which case why were they not declared? I truly struggle to understand that outcome but cannot see how that can be appealed. In summary the Tax Tribunal outcome has affected the outcome here to a huge extent.
Rod’s point that we did not suggest a sanction and were clear in leaving it to the Commission rules out any appeal on the grounds of “the punishment fitting the crime”.
In summary, I do not believe that the Commission came to the correct decision in terms of sporting advantage and we have no grounds for an appeal based on the punishment being too lenient or it appears sporting advantage given the narrow line they pursued. Therefore reluctantly I have to draw the conclusion that the process is at an end.
This has left for me a very bad taste in the mouth. The ill informed, vitriolic comments of some suggest that this case was not worth pursuing. Although I was not on the Board at the time but I believe the case absolutely needed to be pursued. Unfortunately I perhaps naively assumed a different, more, in my view, appropriate outcome.
I wrote at that time:
“This fix, and it was a fix, was an amateur production. Nimmo Smith was an inspired choice as he had previously covered up the Edinburgh Judiciary’s arses from their solicitation of under-age male prostitutes. Briefs down in chambers was his specialty. As Regan’s arse was hanging out the window, Nimmo The Dimmo was the perfect go to guy.
Regan’s attempt to isolate Celtic, implying that they are acting out of vested interests, will be his undoing. To put it bluntly he’s fucked. Lawwell will have this corrupt Lite-facing jobsworth’s head on a platter and present it to Dermot Desmond. Regan’s assertions also does a discredit to Duncan Fraser and Aberdeen supporters.
Let’s turn our attention to the Rangers argument. As Charles Green refused to engage with the LNS commission, did the Incorrigible Campbell Ogilvie, who puts the C in Compromised, present David Murray’s defence? McKenzie’s second e-mail in Appendix 2b is instructive:
“Rangers argued that since the FTT had held that the benefits under the EBT scheme were not taxable emoluments and since the loans paid to Players were paid by the sub-trusts and not by the Club then the EBT details applying to each Player were not required to be disclosed and Rangers had been right to consider them as not being requiring of disclosure.”
Duncan Fraser is correct in his contention that the findings of FTT unduly influenced the LNS Commission. The Supreme Court has ruled that the EBT scheme operated by Rangers was Disguised Remuneration. The Rangers’ argument is fatally flawed.
Nimmo Smith’s finding that EBT did not confer a competitive advantage is an abomination. This conclusion was not his to give. His remit had been narrowed down to registration irregularities.
As Duncan Fraser asserted, the conference call did not allow for detailed arguments to be expounded upon face to face. Doncaster designed this fix with precision. He did not need an MBA to work out that Eric Riley was on vacation and could be excluded from the mix. Riley would have run with Topping’s assertion that other SPL clubs had been materially disadvantaged by Rangers’ cheating. This argument might have held sway.
In summary, Rangers have never been held to account for not paying their social taxes and enjoying a competitive advantage for so doing. In other less compromised associations King, both Murray’s and Johnston would be banned sine die. Rangers would have their licence withdrawn. If Doncaster wishes to push continuation will he do the right thing and suspend Rangers Lite?
Topping gave the impression in his Scotsman article that the SPFL would circle the wagons to protect the findings of the LNS Commission. However one cannot defend a position that is built on sand.
The review, be it led by Celtic, Celtic Quick News or this site, will be far- reaching. Rangers cheated. Titles must be stripped. Regan and Doncaster must also be dismissed.”
Regan has been dismissed. Doncaster now has an enhanced remit as Chief Executive of the SPFL. Doncaster is fully cognizant of SPL rule D1.13. He is fully aware of the Supreme Court findings that EBT were means of disguised remuneration. He must also be aware that if Rangers had disclosed EBT disbursements to the SPL, they would no longer be effective. This was not a misinterpretation. It was not an ‘honest mistake’ if you will. This was a calculated conspiracy to evade tax. There were 53 side letters, sub-contracts, which so fatally compromised Paul Baxendale-Walker’s loophole that they rendered these EBT as unlawful.
As Duncan Fraser points out, and the odious Rod Mackenzie confirms, there was no appeal procedure apropos the severity of imposed sanctions. Many of the recommendations in the 42 page report are predicated on FTT findings that have been superseded by The Supreme Court.
Neil Doncaster is unlikely to do the right thing. He is a deluded Continuation Jihadist. How long will he hide behind the Five Way Agreement and The LNS Commission’s report?
He is not just guilty by association with Regan. His guilt is in a class of its own.