SCOTTISH FOOTBALL it seems could be heading back to the Court of Session if today’s SFA ‘source’, quoted in the Daily Record is to be believed. And the football authorities could face humiliation at the League Cup semi final on January 31,2016 being broadcast live on television from a deserted Hampden Park.
Mike Ashley has shown the way this week by challenging what he sees as unfair decisions taken by the SFA in the Court of Session. The Rangers International Football Club shareholder, who is currently seeking repayment of an emergency £5M loan from the new club, is challenging the SFA on the procedure the game’s governing body followed in passing the convicted criminal Dave King as a ‘fit and proper’ person to hold office in the new club.
He is also returning to the Court of Session to challenge a £1000 fine that the SFA imposed on him regarding percentage share ownership in the new club, given his ownership of Newcastle United. Ashley is quoted as being prepared to spend £100,000 on this action and noises are already emerging from the SFA regarding their concern over the costs of defending these cases.
In this morning’s Daily Record an un-named SFA source, who the newspaper claims is ‘close to the situation at Hampden’ opined that Rangers – either old or new – cannot apparently be stripped of the titles they ‘won’ during the EBT years – ‘because they’ve already been found guilty of failing to disclose side letters issued to players who used the tax avoidance scheme and were fined £250,000 by the Lord Nimmo Smith Commission in December 2013.’
Before we go any further it is worth noting that Rangers (2012) have NOT paid this fine, or the associated costs and stated in their recent accounts, that they have appealed to the SFA and are confident that they will not have to pay! With associated costs involved in the Nimmo Smith commission, the total due is over £400,00 and this could in itself be enough to sink the new club by forcing it into insolvency.
The SFA source apparently went on to tell the tabloid that told us that Craig Whyte was a billionaire, that there is no mechanism to allow a ‘retrial’ in the wake of last week’s victory for HMRC in relation to the Employment Benefit Trust scheme operated by Sir David Murray between 2001 and 2010 – a period in which five titles were won by the Ibrox club.
The Record are also keen to remind its readers that last week’s decision in the so-called ‘Big Tax case’ could be subject to an appeal ‘by liquidators BDO’.
In actual fact the five defendants in the case, four of which are in liquidation, may seek leave to appeal. It is interesting that the paper seem to have narrowed down the potential ‘Appeal candidates’ to BDO, thereby ruling out Sir David Murray. Parties have until December 2 to seek permission to appeal and BDO would have to be extremely confident in being able to overrule the ‘common sense’ decision by 3 senior judges at the Court of Session before committing huge sums of money towards such an appeal.
Remember too that when Craig Whyte succeeded in getting to choose the Administrators for Rangers in February 2012, he scored a victory over HMRC whose preferred administrators were none other than BDO!
So while we have to wait until December 2 passes, as Celtic suggested in their own statement yesterday, it seems unlikely that there will be any further delay and the day of reckoning for the Scottish football authorities will be upon them.
Obviously they are facing intense pressure, with up to 41 of the longer established clubs wishing the rules to be enforced and one new club wishing Scottish football to move on – or else!
The Record described this in today’s story saying that the title stripping moves would lead to “a furious response from new current Ibrox regime, which claims it is ready to go to war to defend its history.’
Not a NEW regime. Not a CURRENT regime. It is apparently A NEW CURRENT regime! That’s almost as confusing as the holding company wot owned the club that went bust stuff. (Google the words ‘Rangers’ and ‘Holding Company’ and there are no results older than the second half of 2012).
Here’s what the ‘close to the action’ SFA source told the Record: “There is no need for Rangers to take such a stance and there is no point in people calling for titles to be stripped because it can’t happen.
“There is no legal vehicle for it to happen. They’ve already been found guilty – it’s double jeopardy, if you like. They can’t be re-tried for something they’ve been found guilty of.
“So many people on both sides of this argument are speaking without knowing the facts or the legalities.
“And on top of that, it is my understanding that there is little appetite from other clubs to strip Rangers of their titles, even if they are not coming out and saying it.”
Celtic’s statement yesterday afternoon indicates, as do CQN sources ‘close to the action’ that the SFA source may well be underestimating the appetite out there. Clubs well remember the load and clear messages given to them at season ticket renewal time by their own supporters when the Scottish football authorities tried to keep a dead football club in the SPL then when that failed tried to propel them into the first division. Where were the SFA rules for all of this, Mr SFA Source?
Earlier this week CQN published a widely read article about the documents that were deliberately withheld from the Nimmo Smith Commission and if you haven’t read this you should do so now. It is important.
Here is the link: LORD NIMMO SMITH DUPED & THE BANNED NEWSPAPER AD….https://www.celticquicknews.co.uk/?p=20191
Lord Nimmo Smith was NOT given documents relating to the WEE TAX CASE, which should have been considered by the Commission. At the time LNS considered the limited evidence given to him by the Scottish football authorities, the Big Tax Case had gone against HMRC so the retired Judge was able to find that as the scheme was deemed lawful at that time, it was also open to other clubs to use it if they wanted to, thus no sporting advantage.
So two things are going to trouble the Record’s SFA source:
1. Why was this evidence not given to the LNS Commission and what impact would it have had on sanctions imposed on Rangers, which LNS found to be guilty, given that at the time they had already lost the Wee Tax case. LMS was denied the opportunity to consider the UNLAWFUL tax avoidance schemes from the Wee Tax Case. This also has the effect of taking the title stripping starting point back to 1998.
2. Given the ‘common sense’ judgement in the Court of Session in the Big Tax Case, in the event that none of the parties on the losing side, seek and is granted leave to appeal, then it is clear that the premise of the LNS decision is flawed and has been overtaken by the second appeal decision by three senior judges in the Court of Session.
The ‘no legal vehicle’ argument to look again at this goes out of the Hampden windows when you contrast it to the attempts by Regan, Doncaster and maybe the Record’s ‘close to the action source’ to force a new club into the Premier or First Division back in summer 2012. And despite what Doncaster said at the beginning of this year they clearly area new club. Mr Brown, representing Mr Green, also in the Court of Session earlier this week, made that very clear. We await Lord Doherty’s thoughts on this matter but if you haven’t already read this CQN feature, perhaps it is worth catching up HERE:
SEVCO & THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM…https://www.celticquicknews.co.uk/?p=20223
Shamefully the Scottish media decided to sensor Mr Brown’s dramatic revelations in the Court of Session. You would think that they had an agenda!
The top two clubs in Scotland (according to current league placings) both have AGMs approaching and supporters of both Celtic and Hearts are likely to grill their Boards on these matters. Aberdeen supporters too are vocal in their anger and other clubs, including Hibs and Dundee United are sure to have noted the direct threats against them by a Rangers employee on local radio earlier this week.
Derek Johnstone on radio Clyde claimed that Aberdeen, Dundee United and Hibs were among the 3 or 4 clubs that ‘had it in for Rangers’ and that they would seek appropriate revenge. Last night he also said that anyone wishing to see the rules enforced in Scottish football should ‘crawl back under their stones’ and this is without considering the threatening Dave King statement, which surely must be of interest to the SFA Compliance Officer. Pigs might fly.
So according to the Daily Record, ‘irrespective of the outcome, it is the view in Hampden’s corridors of power that no titles can be or will be at risk.’
No wonder Celtic supporters are openly discussing a complete boycott of the League Cup semi final against Ross County at Hampden on 31st January 2016.
And this is only one option open to the football supporters in Scotland, who are also openly discussing taking the Judicial Review route themselves and taking the matter to the Court of Session.
HMRC know it. Mr Brown representing Mr Green knows it. Mike Ashley knows it. You have to go to the Court of Session to get ‘common sense’ in Scottish football.