D-Day for Rangers over SPL title probe

RANGERS could discover the verdict of their SPL title-stripping probe by the end of the month.

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RANGERS could discover the verdict of their SPL title-stripping probe by the end of the month
RANGERS could discover the verdict of their SPL title-stripping probe by the end of the month

An independent commission chaired by Lord Nimmo Smith is investigating allegations the club failed to correctly lodge all details of payments for players' playing activities during the reign of former Ibrox chairman Sir David Murray.

Light Blues chief executive Charles Green has vowed to vigorously defend his club and fight any attempts to wipe several league and cup wins from the record books and, at a meeting with supporters, said the Gers could discover the outcome of the case on February 28, while insisting that no indication had been given as to the verdict.

Despite the club being cleared of the misuse of Employee Benefit Trusts by a First-Tier Tax Tribunal last year, a decision Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs have appealed, the SPL have pressed ahead with their own investigation into the Gers' financial activities between 2000 and 2011.

It is alleged that the Gers breached SPL and SFA rules by not declaring all payments made to players, with Nimmo Smith, Nicholas Smith QP and Charles Flint QC holding a three-day hearing last month to gather evidence and consider what punishment, if any, should be handed down to the Glasgow giants.

If Rangers are found guilty, they will be subject to one of 18 possible sanctions, including the removal of several SPL titles and Scottish Cup wins, but any attempt to take away the honours will be met by fierce resistance from Green, manager Ally McCoist and supporters of the club.

Green has been on a whistle-stop tour of supporters' functions in recent weeks as he meets and greets fans from across the world.

He was joined on Friday night by Newcastle United managing director Derek Llambias, and is set to push ahead with plans to rename Ibrox, with Sports Direct and one other company interested in sponsoring the iconic Glasgow ground.

Green also said that:

*Rangers could sign players on loan from Newcastle as the English Premiership side look to offload some fringe members of their 32-man squad.

*Gers could open an academy in Florida or California and have been working with former Light Blues midfielder Claudio Reyna, with a pre-season tour to the USA that could include matches against Newcastle and LA Galaxy also under consideration.

*The club have signed a lease to open a club shop at Glasgow Airport to sell official merchandise and will announce their new shirt manufacturer and sponsor within the next week.

*Insisted the players who walked away from the club during the summer will never be welcomed back at Ibrox after former captain Steven Davis admitted he would like to play for the Gers again in the future.

*A benefit match for Light Blues legend Paul Gascoigne could be arranged, with possible opponents including Newcastle, Spurs and Lazio.

*Revealed plans to open a club museum at Ibrox and have a fans' representative on the football board.

It is the plight of Rangers' titles that will be of most interest to concerned supporters, however, with the outcome of the Nimmo Smith investigation set to prove one of the biggest days in the club's history.

Sport

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