Despite one former Rangers chairman, Sir David Murray, denying his board issued second contracts to players which were not registered with the football authorities for a period of a decade or more, a more recent chairman, Alastair Johnston, yesterday accepted that the club were guilty of a “breach of procedure” over player payments.
This being the case, Celtic Quick News will not be so quick in future to blindly accept despatches from Sir David as unerringly accurate. If Mr Johnston insists procedure was breached, that’s good enough for us.
The only matter left is what course of action the SPL, SFL and SFA should follow. On all previous occasions when a club has been guilty of a procedural breach over the registration of a player, the result of any game involving that player has been awarded as a 3-0 win to the opposition and the club have been punished.
On assessing the punishment the SPL Commission looking into this matter will consider if Rangers acted with transparency, with information given openly and when asked, or if breaches were hidden, denied to have taken place, and only uncovered after redacted contracts appeared in the press forcing the authorities to set a deadline on the club.
Mr Johnston insists that “Rangers made absolutely no attempt to disguise” the use of EBTs. Attempts to disguise wrongdoing is serious. This claim is correct but is completely irrelevant to the SPL Commission, who are solely concerned with player registration, not whether EBTs were used or not.
Mr Johnston makes no comment on whether Rangers made an attempt to disguise issuing players with second contracts.
He goes on to say, “I suspect that the [SPL] commission will not pursue this avenue of investigation, but it would be interesting whether or not ‘selective amnesia’ would be exhibited by those executives/directors called to testify under oath about their ongoing familiarity with the Rangers scheme.”
The SFA president, Campbell Ogilvie was a director of Rangers for the first five years of the clubs EBT use and benefited from an EBT himself. Despite these revelations from Mr Johnston, Mr Ogilvie still walks the corridors of power, president of our national game. It would be remarkable to see him testify under oath about the scheme Rangers operated while he was legally responsible for their decisions.
Cynics may suggest that Mr Johnston infers that executives at other clubs were aware of Rangers use of un-registered second contracts. It would be quite astonishing if this was the case and an enormous breach of commercial confidentiality by Rangers.
Looking forward to Raith Rovers in the League Cup tonight. Should be an excellent opportunity for Neil to shuffle the pack and try a few things.
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