Sir David Murray denies cheating at Rangers

SIR David Murray has denied cheating took place during his time at the club as an inquiry got under way into alleged undisclosed payments to players and staff.

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The former Rangers owner hit out at the Scottish Premier League (SPL), who appointed an independent commission last week to investigate alleged undisclosed payments to players.

Murray also accused the SPL of attempting to "retrospectively rewrite laws to incorporate items not previously covered".

The probe will determine whether the club breached SPL rules in relation to Employee Benefit Trust (EBT) payments and arrangements for players between 2001-10.

Rangers, who have begun life in the Third Division as a 'newco', face the possibility of being stripped of league titles, a punishment the club has said it would strenuously challenge.

In a statement released yesterday, Murray said: "I urge all those connected with Scottish football to bring this sad affair to a close – now.

"Bayoneting the wounded is neither justified nor proportionate.

"Nevertheless, I cannot be anything other than angered at the suggestion that Rangers should be stripped of titles or other competition victories.

"This suggestion is an insult to the staff and players who achieved these successes thanks to skill, hard work and commitment and for no other reason.

"It is also an insult to the thousands of Rangers supporters who spent their hard-earned money to support the club they love.

"I hope that those presently in charge of Rangers show sufficient resolve when it comes to resisting this move, despite the incentives being offered to do otherwise."

Murray, who bought the Ibrox club in 1988, said during his stewardship of Rangers no rules were breached or circumvented and he rejected and resented any suggestion that anything was done which amounted to cheating.

He added: "It would appear that the SPL is once again seeking to invest itself with a power of retrospective penalty beyond that prescribed in its own rules."

Murray sold his majority shareholding in Rangers to Craig Whyte for £1 in May 2011, before the club was forced into administration in February of this year over an unpaid tax bill accrued during Whyte`s tenure.

Failure to exit administration via a Company Voluntary Arrangement meant the club were consigned to liquidation over the summer, before a consortium fronted by Charles Green purchased the business and assets of Rangers.

Murray said: "I have decided to issue this statement because of the concerns which I have at the continuing attempts to inflict further punishment on Rangers Football Club.

"While the 'newco' Rangers was rejected for membership of the SPL on the publicly stated grounds of sporting integrity, I would question whether this was the underlying motive for many who took this decision.

"I am not totally convinced by the explanation that they were reacting to the opinions of the supporters of their individual clubs. This, in my opinion, is a suitable answer to cover many other agendas."

rebecca.gray@ heraldandtimes. co.uk

Sport

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