Retiring SPFL chairman Ralf Topping addressed the issue of Rangers EBTs in the light of the recent Supreme Court ruling in an interview today with The Scotsman. It is clear he is well-briefed on what is ‘in the post’ for the football authorities in Scotland from “fans groups”:
“There are a lot of wealthy people who support football clubs who will fund certain activities around challenges. The authorities just have to accept it and be measured in their response.”
Topping told The Scotsman, their solicitor, “the finest in the land”, made sure they were “ready for any challenges subsequently”.
The SPFL would save themselves and everyone else a lot of time and money if, instead of briefing friendly journalists who would refrain from asking the pertinent questions, they would address the matter in hand.
Why did the SPL (now the SPFL) set the parameters for what became the Lord Nimmo Smith (LNS) Commission to examine from 1998, then, when it became clear Rangers would admit guilt for offenses between 1998 and 2000, change that date to run from 2000?
Why did the SPL not lead evidence to the LNS Commission on the five players Rangers admitted guilt to the First Tier Tribunal, for offenses committed during the period in question (after 2000)?
Why did the SPL not reserve the right to appeal the LNS decision, which was predicated on EBTs being executed legally, pending the HMRS appeal?
Other questions, like who made the above decisions and why, can be addressed later.
If only the SPFL would “be measured in their response”, if only they would respond at all! There has been no response to these questions, only prevarication, misdirection and evasion.
The more those at the top of Scottish football speak, the more they sound like Sepp Blatter, who for years set inquiries and boasted about his robust legal advice on the running of Fifa.
Frankly, Topping and his cronies are not in Blatter’s league. They are not career criminals, but their briefing of selected journalists while studiously avoiding the question every fan would like to see answered, increasingly looks like a cover-up.
Celtic’s call for action will be ignored by the SPFL and SFA, but that must not be the end of it. Just do the right thing, Ralph; answer the questions.