SPL Panel verdict….

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Lord Nimmo Smith etc have earlier today given their verdict on the Rangers ‘EBT’ case. A summary is below, but basically we have been fined £250k for ‘Admin errors’ around 5 players. That being that although we declared our EBT payments in the annual accounts, we should have also sent copies of the letters re payments made to each individual.

Summary
[1] For the reasons which are set out in detail below the Commission has unanimously decided:
(1) Between the years 2000 and 2011 The Rangers Football Club Plc (now known as RFC 2012 Plc (in liquidation) and referred to in the decision as “Oldco”), the owner and operator of Rangers Football Club (“Rangers FC”), entered into side-letter arrangements with a large number of its professional players under which Oldco undertook to make very substantial payments to an offshore employee benefit remuneration trust, with the intent that such payments should be used to fund payments to be made to such players in the form of loans;
(2) Those side-letter arrangements were required to be disclosed under the Rules of the Scottish Premier League (“SPL”) and the Scottish Football Association (“SFA”) as forming part of the players’ financial entitlement and as agreements providing for payments to be received by the players;2
(3) Oldco through its senior management decided that such side-letter arrangements should not be disclosed to the football authorities, and the Board of Directors sanctioned the making of payments under the side-letter arrangements without taking any legal or accountancy advice to justify the non-disclosure;
(4) The relevant SPL Rules were designed to promote sporting integrity, by mitigating the risk of irregular payments to players;
(5) Although the payments in this case were not themselves irregular and were not in breach of SPL or SFA Rules, the scale and extent of the proven contraventions of the disclosure rules require a substantial penalty to be imposed;
(6) Rangers FC did not gain any unfair competitive advantage from the contraventions of the SPL Rules in failing to make proper disclosure of the side-letter arrangements, nor did the non-disclosure have the effect that any of the registered players were ineligible to play, and for this and other reasons no sporting sanction or penalty should be imposed upon Rangers FC;
(7) As noted in the Commission’s earlier decision made on 12 September 2012 there is no allegation that the current owner and operator of the club, The Rangers Football Club Limited (“Newco”), contravened the SPL Rules or could be held responsible for any
breach by Oldco;
(8) In all the circumstances the Commission has imposed a fine of £250,000 on Oldco

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