Rangers won't help SPL in player payments probe

Rangers have refused to co-operate with the Scottish Premier League inquiry into alleged undisclosed payments to players by a previous Ibrox regime.

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Charles Green
Charles Green

Chief executive Charles Green announced the club would not attend today's and tomorrow's opening hearings of the SPL- appointed independent commission into the matter.

He said the decision was approved unanimously by the board and manager Ally McCoist.

Mr Green said: "The club cannot continue to participate in an SPL process we believe is fundamentally misconceived."

He accused the SPL of hypocrisy and insisted it had no legal authority over the Scottish Football League Third Division club.

Mr Green questioned the independence of the three-man panel, which is chaired by Lord Nimmo Smith and includes two QCs, and threatened legal action if SPL titles are stripped from Rangers.

The commission, due to hold procedural hearings this week but not hear evidence, was appointed following an initial assessment of Employee Benefit Trust transactions to Rangers players from 2000 to 2011, which could breach SPL rules over declaring payments in contracts.

Mr Green's company bought the assets and business of the soon-to-be liquidated old Rangers company and secured the club's SFA membership but was denied entry to the SPL.

"The club ceased to be subject to the SPL's rules when it was ejected from its league," he said.

"Our lawyers have made that point repeatedly to the SPL in correspondence and yet our requests for an explanation from the SPL have been completely ignored. The SPL's silence on these issues is deafening.

"The outcome of the SPL's process will have no legal effect."

He added: "Despite this, the SPL now see the new owners of the company, and the new company itself, which owns all the assets of Rangers FC – including SPL championship titles – as fair game for punishment for matters that have nothing to do with us at all.

"To make it crystal clear, the new owners purchased all the business and assets of Rangers, including titles and trophies.

"Any attempt to undermine or diminish the value of those assets will be met with the stiffest resistance, including legal recourse.

"Rangers Football Club has won a world record 54 league titles, and, whatever the decision of the SPL commission, these titles cannot and will not be taken away from us and our manager Ally McCoist is in total agreement."

Mr Green also questioned the wisdom of the inquiry in the absence of a ruling from the tax tribunal brought by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs.

He added: "Rangers was not the only club in Scotland to use EBTs, yet nothing was done."

Duff & Phelps, still administrating the original club, will also not co-operate with the commission.

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