Celtic work remains below-radar


I like the below-radar way Celtic have operated this transfer window.  Mikael Lustig arrived early without much of a murmur and Rabiu Ibrahim’s trial and signing went through with casual understatement, while Jaroslaw Fojut completed a pre-contract agreement before many of us had even reached his Wikipedia page.

Most of the headlines surrounding Celtic have been in connection with English clubs wanting our players, closely followed by public declarations of ‘I’m going nowhere’ from the players in question.

Compare and contrast with the situation over the city.  Almost daily Nikica Jelavic has to deal with a completely different scenario his club have placed him in, today telling STV, “The manager appreciates me and likes me, but I know the club are in a difficult financial situation and if they decided they needed to sell me, I would accept it.”

If you bump into Nikica tell him he’s talking rubbish.  His club were recently bought by a billionaire, they have no financial difficulties and they are reliably informed they are going to win their tax case.  Rangers players telling the media that their club are in a “difficult financial situation” are miles off-message.

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  1. ‘Ensuring tax is paid on time should be at the centre of a club’s business strategy just like any business,’ said an HMRC spokesman.


    ‘While a winding-up order is a last resort, there is little HMRC can do for a business – be it a football club or not – whose viability is dependent either on not paying the UK taxes to which they are liable, or on special treatment not available to other customers.

  2. fergus slayed the blues on

    KD is coming in for some stick for spending 150m already ,I don’t see him spending another 7m+ on an SPL striker ,unless he is going to play for penalties


    hail hail

  3. The Ghood will prevail on

    James Forrest,


    I am loving it too, and I’m just finding it all (titter) so incredibly (tee hee) FUNNY!







  4. Got an interesting call today – came straight through to my line by mistake and the conversation went something like this:



    Him: Hi – I am so&so from RFC and according to our records your company took a hospitality package at ipox a few years ago (actually it was about 7-8 years ago and I refused to go).



    Me (totally non-committal): – Uhuu!



    Him: We are offering some special deals on hospitality packages (e.g. table of 10 – pay for 6 etc).



    Me: are you looking for money up front?



    Him: Well yes – these are one-off special packages.



    Me (lol): well you couldn’t have picked the worse person to come through to!



    Him: why is that?



    Me (by now in hysterics): cause you have come through to the company’s Token Tim. Hang on and I will put you through to the M.D.



    Me (phone uncovered): hey Rob there’s some guy on the phone looking for money!



    Rob: put him through to accounts.



    Me (phone still uncovered): no it’s some guy from RFC phoning on behalf of the MBB – think he wants to offer you some kind of cut-price hospitality deals at ipox.



    Rob (red faced) having taken the call: hi how can I help you? I know – I know we daren’t mention the football in front of him otherwise he ends up cracking jokes or rabbiting on about the tax case. Just send the details to my private email address.



    Heh! Heh! absolutely made my day.

  5. As we enter the last week of the transfer window, I’ve got a funny feeling the huns will only sell on the last day, if that is anyone wants their players! i know £6-7m is being said for Jellyfish but if there is even a £3-4m for him on the last day the huns are bound to accept it.



    Other than that, I see no action at the bigotdome



    I’m hopeful that we will still see 1 more player come in, preferably a striker, and I’m confident none of our main players will leave this window, and hopefully not the next two at least either.







  6. The Laptop Loyal thought they were well in with ‘Ally’ who told them everything, turns out ‘McCoist’ has been feeding them with p1sh for weeks now…

  7. Has anyone asked these pannelists what their thoughts are on punishment? If you cheat and win titles and medals in athletics, cycling etc. you lose them when found out. No argument. Simple question, is football exempt from what applies elsewhere across the sporting world.



    P.S. Just heard a bit of Radio Clyde and who is advertising? HMRC for people to pay the taxes they owe, you couldn’t write the script.

  8. Evening Celts I hear Victor Wanyama opened his wallet and out popped the Voguepunters armchair, Victor is now wealthier than the Motherwell Born Billionaire.



    More armchair tales to follow Erm follow.




  9. jings crivvens, how good was the advert for HMRC!!!



    when Moira said at the end “….and don’t forget to pay anything you owe”








  10. !!Bada Bing!! Kano 1000 on

    Patrick27-I would be hoping to get rid of a few (with a striker coming in ) O’Dea,Rasmussen,Jaurez,Loovens,McGinn to name but a few.HH

  11. fergus slayed the blues on

    Some saying minties appearance at MP yesterday was to talk Sally out of doing a trialist and packing his bags .


    Now what could Minty possibly have said to Sally to change his mind .What about ,hang on a wee while longer Sally till the real buyers come in .


    hail hail

  12. Can’t help drawing a comparison between what is happening wi the Pilsbury Doughboy and Gordon Brown.



    Tony Blair wanted to get the last of the good times as PM and got out when it was starting to turn sour.



    The Cardigan wanted to finish one more season on a high and realised there would be no more `big’ signings so got out of dodge.



    End result – Gordon B slated and blamed for the entire world recession.


    End result – FatSally (& Whitey) blamed for the demise of Rankers.



    First result – not so good.


    Second result – bliss.






  13. Sydneytim



    You’ve told me that the window shuts on the 24th the 26th and now the 30th. How am I supposed to do my job if you keep feeding me duff information?



    Yours, even more confused peter lieswell

  14. Talking of sir davie at murray park yesterday,


    Did anyone check the roofs for lack of lead this morning?

  15. prestonpans bhoys on

    I can’t believe it, no not that £7m was offered for jellypish, but Lidl’s ran out of haggis!!



    Had to make chicken and oyster sauce instead, weans not amused. Wonder if I should have a whiskey address to the plate??

  16. Ten Men Won The League



    As of Monday lunchtime past, no Russian club was interested in Jelavic at the price Rangers were asking



    Where is the talk of CSKA coming from?

  17. Paddy Gallagher on

    I find it difficult to understand the constant criticism of the way Celtic are run.


    Any business can only be measured against the performance of their nearest competitors.


    Take a bow again Celtic.


    Go away in shame the ‘cheats’ called Rangers.

  18. Athletico Bilbao now on SS2 sporting a smart Green away shirt.


    Currently 0-0, Bilbao up 2-0 from first leg.


    Big Malky McKay and Shay Given in the studio for the L/pool game.




  19. Snake Plissken on

    The trouble with the eejits calling Clyde is basically they honestly believe they have won the last three titles by spending no money and having a huge debt crippling them.



    Thus far in the last three years they have not suffered from this crippling debt and what is happening now is only the beginning as someone else once said.



    The delusion is almost crystallizing.

  20. up_over_goal says:


    25 January, 2012 at 19:28




    Zbyszek says:


    25 January, 2012 at 18:30


    Re. Earlier questions.



    The news from Russia are that CSKA Moscow are interested in buying Nikica Jelavic. No confirmation that bid was made.


    Winter transfer window in Russia was opened today and will last opened for four another weeks.


    CSKA sold Wagner Love and will sell another striker.

  21. Paddy G



    Some sense at last!



    Good to see you back mate hope you enjoyed the excursion.

  22. Lads i am sick of listening to this mob saying they haven’t spent much, surely someone out there has info on this.

  23. Confirmation arrived today that I am definately not a hun.



    HMRC informed me that I have overpaid my taxes.



    Sent me a nice we cheque too.



    I love HMRC.



    Lubo ;-)

  24. Richie



    Russian sports news often just repeats rumours from UK – Talksport, websites etc. Would be interesting to know where Zbyszek got his info from (without getting him into trouble, gulag style)

  25. Snake



    That’s the thing – if all was as they are being told – then losing the odd league to us would not be a problem – who wouldn’t take 1 in 3??????



    But it’s the weight they’ve been counter-balancing – the props are creaking – there’s a reckoning to come.



    The only factors we can’t control is the SFA or the SPL setting new precedents. Which I believe they might/will.



    But first and foremost I think team Whyte(ies) mission is to stay afloat til the end of the season – then see how the dice roll…




  26. If davie did return to the “Bearsden B and Q” perhaps it was to keep the Chubster on message………he’ll know where a few bodies are buried.

  27. Read this report done for Sky Sports by a Kait Borsay on rangers financial troubles, she makes the Tax Case sound like a minor inconvenience to rangers. FF would be proud of this p1sh. HH




    When I first looked into the whir of financial chaos that was threatening to implode the club, from a football perspective all was rosy. Sitting pretty at the top of the SPL and 12 points clear. Now some two months later Rangers are second, sit four points below Celtic and there remains a pretty grim situation playing out behind the scenes: they are involved in a potentially crippling tribunal case with Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs that concluded last week. And that’s only part of it.



    So what’s going on?



    HMRC, the folk that collect our tax to you and I, are aggressively pursuing an unpaid tax demand issued to Rangers for £49million. This comprises of £35m in unpaid tax and interest and £14m in penalties. Suffice to say, for a club that is already in the red (Whyte took responsibility for the club’s £18m bank debt to Lloyds when he purchased the club from Sir David Murray for £1 in May last year, other creditors are said to take the total up to £30m) that’s a panic-inducing amount of cash.



    If the tribunal, which took place last week after postponement last November finds against Rangers, HMRC can demand payment immediately, regardless of whether the club launches an appeal or not.



    The reality, Whyte has recently admitted, is “obvious”; if the club has to pay up he may be forced to take them into administration.



    The club has been hauled up over its past use of Employee Benefit Trusts (EBTs) to pay part of their players’ salaries – Rangers paid money into a trust which then paid out to the beneficiaries (players) as a loan. The loans are not subject to income tax or National Insurance – in fact they’re hardly taxed at all. Where the issue of tax evasion arises is that these payments cannot be made on a contractual basis – this would make them wages and therefore subject to the usual deductions – and that’s the point where the club find themselves in trouble. HMRC say they have proof of the misuse of EBTs in the form of documents and emails between those in charge at Ibrox and players’ agents.



    It’s been suggested that Rangers are one of many football clubs who have used (or misused if found guilty) EBTs to meet the demands of payroll. This could very well be seen by Government as a test case, which, if won, would open the doors to the recovery of millions of pounds from other clubs who withheld in a similar way.



    Rangers deny the accusation of tax evasion and have been to two prior tribunals to fight their case. No decision was reached in either. They now find themselves in a period of inefficacy after what is expected to be the final hearing on the matter. Some will argue that the club made full use of taxation loopholes, HMRC will insist that in paying top earners at the club in the most ‘tax efficient’ way Rangers crossed the divide between tax avoidance – which is legal – and tax evasion, which is not.



    Following the tribunal, which was held in Edinburgh last week, Rangers must now embrace a period of uncertainty. A decision is expected in weeks, if not months, although most expect the verdict to be announced in mid to late March.



    In April last year Alistair Johnston, then chairman of the club was bullish in his optimism of a successful outcome in the case.



    “We continue to vigorously contest HMRC’s challenge on the taxation treatment of the trust and, in doing so, continue to receive reassuring opinion from tax, accounting and legal specialists.”



    Encouraging words. But then the club was about to be sold to Whyte – the lifelong Rangers fan who was completely aware of the tribunal process happening at the time of his 85% purchase from Murray – something that puzzled many as to why he should so fervently persist with the acquisition. A few days after he became the club’s new owner, Whyte was in a defiant mood.



    “Our advice is that we’re going to win the case. I’m confident that we are going to win the case and that there will be no liability there.”



    But last October, Whyte, who was not involved with the club at the time that EBTs were in use, discussed administration in an interview with the Daily Telegraph.



    “It is one of the possibilities we have looked at, yes. The choice in terms of an adverse finding is pretty obvious really.”



    It also appears the club may not challenge the findings of the tribunal, should they be found liable for the tax debt, with Whyte seemingly keen to avoid the issue being dragged out any further.



    “It’s in some ways worrying but in other ways it would draw a line under a sad event and a sad period in history and would be a chance for a fresh start for Rangers,” he said in an interview with Scottish television in October last year.



    By entering into administration the club would incur an automatic 10 point penalty, as well as potentially exposing themselves to other sporting penalties open to the SPL.



    Whyte, having transferred the club’s debt to a holding company he owns is effectively the club’s main creditor, which he claims puts the club and himself in a position of power should they lose the case to HMRC. He could expect to buy the club back from the administrator without its other debts – something commonplace throughout this recession. You can concur that this proposal would cause little disruption out on the frontline and mean little change to matters on the field, leaving the team to concentrate making up lost ground on Celtic.



    Without getting too complicated though, HMRC could block the sale of the club back to Whyte – challenging any arrangement made with creditors. If HMRC win the tax case they could argue they are the biggest creditor, therefore they would have the power to determine who controls the club and when it comes out of administration.



    There has been speculation that Rangers could even have to start again, to be re-established as a ‘new’ club – though this is generally seen as a pretty extreme measure.



    And don’t forget, even if the tax authority has little chance of recovering the money owed to them they may still want to use the case against Rangers to set a legal example to others.



    And just one more coal to add to the flames: HMRC’s recent behaviour indicates that it’s now not shy to use a legal power that it has laid dormant for several years – this holds directors, including those former, personally liable for unpaid tax, particularly National Insurance. What else?



    Think this is purely scaremongering? Well the courts don’t. They are also concerned by Rangers’ financial fragility.



    In launching legal action for breach of contract former Rangers chief executive Martin Bain went to the courts and successfully persuaded a judge to ring-fence £480,000 of Rangers’ money should he win his case. He’s actually seeking damages for loss of earnings of around twice that amount but such was the case for “real and substantial risk of insolvency” the money was frozen ahead of his court case.



    Former finance director Donald McIntyre, pursued a case for alleged breach of contract and successfully managed to have £300,000 of the club’s assets frozen last year – the case was settled out of court in December.



    This has to help paint some of the picture at Ibrox. There is money ring-fenced for the payment of another tax bill – relating to the exposure of another loophole in tax law. This one’s probably too much to go into after all this tax talk but basically it emerged in the club’s accounts in April last year that from 1999 to 2003 they had used a Discounted Options Scheme – a bit like an EBT in that it’s used for the avoidance of paying tax, but works by issuing shares to a beneficiary from a company set up in a tax haven. HMRC state that the club owes £2.8m in back taxes and interest, £2.3m of which has reportedly already been frozen on their behalf. Rangers have just launched an appeal against this charge and the reported £1.4m owing in penalties.



    Capita Trustees, which provides pension services to employers, had taken court action against Rangers in pursuit of an unpaid bill. It was seeking payment of what Capita’s lawyer calls a “straightforward commercial debt for advisory services rendered”. They agreed an out of court settlement.



    Just a few weeks ago the PLUS stock exchange suspended trading in Rangers when the club was found to have failed to publish their audited accounts up to June 30 2011 or hold their AGM on time, therefore breaching the Companies Act (2006).



    So why weren’t the audited accounts published in time? The club say the delay is due to problems in finalising the audit: “Which the board believe will be completed on or around 31 January 2012. The delay in finalising the audit is principally related to the ongoing HMRC tax tribunal.”



    The SFA have confirmed that Rangers have until March 31 to publish their audited accounts and in turn show that they do not owe money to the tax authorities. Without this proof it’s unlikely Rangers will be granted a license to play in Europe next season.



    And there’s more. Whyte failed to disclose to PLUS until November 30 last year that he had been disqualified from becoming a company director for seven years by the UK Insolvency Service in 2000. Such an oversight could cost the club a further £100,000.



    So when you look at the whole picture there’s a very real chance Rangers could be in serious financial disarray later this year; but of course there’s also the possibility that, perhaps for the good of Scottish football, for the competition and commercial side of the whole affair that Whyte may well be able to negotiate himself a tax bill he can cover.



    Over the next month or two Ally McCoist must work very hard with his Rangers team to keep the club together. The farewell to long-standing captain Davie Weir and injuries can’t help. Neither could the potential sale of players such as Nikica Jelavic if Whyte has to keep the wolf from the door. The loss of European football so early this season has also not helped matters.



    Although the latest tribunal with the HMRC has finished, many weeks will pass before the case reaches its conclusion; something which has the possibility to change the face of Scottish football for many years to come.

  28. This will all be played out in the public domain. They cannot hide behind the Scottish Media for much longer. Even the LL can read the writing on the wall.


    It is like peeling off the layers of an onion. The media will peel it and weep tears at the same time.


    I shall laugh and laugh and laugh..hahahahahaha

  29. Paddy Gallagher on

    hamiltontim says:



    25 January, 2012 at 19:36



    It was brilliant mate, loved it. But some on here need a reality check do they not?


    We pay our tax, win playing ‘football, beautiful football’.


    We beat the cheats, the ref’s and the whole corrupt manky establishment.


    We face the bad press mob in total defiance and still we have our in-house critics.


    We buy better, produce better and Neil Lennon must be the most proud and bravest manager in our history.


    They have to watch freebies desert when terms are discussed.


    Our board v their board. HA HA.

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