Neil Doncaster has uttered the words “Prima Facie” more often than any other figure in public life since February when Celtic Quick News first asked if Rangers EBT payments were declared to the football authorities, almost always after the words “we don’t know if there is a”. While we are all assuming the SPL have now established Rangers have a case to answer for illegally registering footballers for over a decade, it’s important to hear the words.
Rangers refused to submit information to the SPL for three months and only did so under the duress of a deadline, but we don’t know what they have submitted. I have been concerned that Rangers would simply try to brass the entire episode out, submit the contracts the SFA and SPL already had, and deny having any record of side agreements.
Consider the clubs modus operandi in recent months and years. Sir David Murray provided cover in March, categorically denying side contracts existed, while the current men in charge have been too busy to spare much time researching the issue. A response of “We don’t have any information” would not have surprised me. Rangers submitting full information – including details on the side letters which exist but which the BBC do not have – would surprise me.
The SPL should have realised months ago they would get nothing from Rangers without a deadline but they are in awkward position if the answer from the club is not what is expected. It’s far from clear that they can take evidence from the BBC and may require information from the First Tier Tribunal verdict to substantiate what everyone knows. The verdict is unlikely to confirm any names.
Until Mr Doncaster says “Prima Facie evidence exists” we should not assume this episode is on track to be dealt with.