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Improper registration issue closes in on Murray

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Sir David Murray and former Rangers director, Mike McGill, who is also a director of Murray International Holdings, gave a press briefing yesterday.  Much of what Murray said relates to his disappointment at the actions of Craig Whyte, whom he sold Rangers to last year.  Throughout the years Rangers were for sale Murray maintained he would only sell to someone with Rangers best interests at heart.  Whyte has, by many accounts, fallen short on this measure, however, it is far from clear that Sir David had much choice in the matter.

The club were dependant on the support of Lloyds Banking Group and had a potential liability of around £49m to HM Revenue and Customs hanging over them.  Whyte offered Lloyds the opportunity to relieve themselves of crica £18m of debt, potentially rising to nearly £70m, which would have subsequent consequences for Rangers budget and earning potential.  When you are £70m in debt with contracted structural costs which cannot be changed quickly, while income can vary on the bounce of a ball, £80m is within touching distance.  In truth, it could be argued that even Lloyds, 43% owned by the taxpayer, had little choice but to force through the sale.

Murray will take responsibility for putting the business into the position if was when Craig Whyte’s £1 offer won the day.  He and his board elected to utilise the Employee Benefit Trust (EBT) that has caused so much turmoil.  He and his board elected to press ahead with multi-million pound player purchases after HMRC first raised the alarm about EBTs in 2010, instead making immediate cutbacks to provide for a potential loss of the First Tier Tribunal.

What Murray said about the on-going tax case or Craig Whyte is irrelevant.  Let’s instead take a look at what was said about player payments.

Murray said:

“There was no double contract. There was categorically no dual contracts.”

“What I would say is this. We went through 10 AGMs. We signed off accounts by Grant Thornton, the remuneration trust was always mentioned in the account. It was never hidden, and that’s a fact.”

Accept there was no double contract, thank you.

Accept the remuneration trusts were mentioned in the accounts and not hidden, this is, indeed “a fact”.

Mike McGill, said:

“The other, larger [EBT] scheme, started in 2001, involves a payment into an offshore trust, but there is no contractual entitlement on the part of the players.

“The whole basis of an EBT arrangement is that there is not a contractual entitlement. That is key to the defence, and key to the allegations made by the SFA [sic].”

Accept there was no contractual entitlement on the part of the players.

The EBTs not being subject to contractual entitlement is “key to the defence, and key to the allegations made by the SFA”.

Ah.  We’re getting somewhere.

Scottish Premier League, Rule D 9.3:

“No Player may receive any payment of any description from or on behalf of a Club in respect of that Player’s participation in Association Football or in an activity connected with Association Football, other than in reimbursement of expenses actually incurred or to be actually incurred in playing or training for that Club, unless such payment is made in accordance with a Contract of Service between that Club and the Player concerned.”

Scottish Football Association, Articles of Association, Article 12.1:

“Furthermore, all payments, whether made by the club or otherwise, which are to be made to a player solely relating to his playing activities must be fully recorded within the relevant written agreement with the player prior to submission to this Association and/or the recognised football body of which his club is in membership.”

The SFA’s Registrations Procedures go on to state:

Rule 2.2.1

Unless lodged in accordance with Procedures Rule 2.13 a Non-Recreational [professional]Contract Player Registration Form will not be valid unless it is accompanied by the contract entered into between the club concerned and the player stating all the terms and conditions in conformity with the Procedures Rule 4.

Rule 4

Such agreement shall be signed by the player and by the secretary or an accredited official of the club concerned and shall be witnessed by 2 other parties and lodged with the Secretary [of the SFA]together with the Form.

If Mr McGill is correct that players not having a contractual entitlement to EBT payments is key to the defence in the SPL inquiry (or SFA as Mr McGill suggests), it would appear that corresponding player registrations are not valid.

No Player may receive any payment of any description unless such payment is made in accordance with a Contract of Service.

All payments, whether made by the club or otherwise, made to a player relating to his playing activities must be fully recorded within the relevant written agreement with the player prior to submission to the SFA.

No matter how often the SFA president and former Rangers directors brief journalists on issues which sound a bit like the Improper Registration of Players allegation, but are, in fact, the on-going tax case, this matter is not going away. The Association are now actively involved in this matter, as Alex Thomson of Channel 4 News and Chick Young of the BBC testified to yesterday, but not in the way you would expect.

In football parlance, they are competent to investigate this matter and to provide subsequent appeals process if required, and have a duty to do so at the earliest opportunity. SPL football will resume on Saturday and we require clarity on who is, or is not, correctly registered to play.

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  1. BABASONICOS71 on 14 March, 2012 at 14:39 said:

     

     

    I didn’t like to say that :O)

  2. Murray was duped by Whyte? Or he was just the first one who promised to take the club off his hands?

     

     

    Murray said something along the lines of – Whyte was disqualified as a Director for seven years so it was hard to get any information on him.

     

     

    So the fact that he had been disqualified and the reasons why he was didn’t give any clue as to what sort of person he is?

     

     

    I think the whole “two contracts” thing is semantics. There were probably not two different written statements of terms and conditions for each player. So Murray can honestly say that there were not two contracts.

     

     

    There would have been a basic contract that was filed with the footballing authorities. But there were also letters relating to additional payments – discretionary payments according to Murray.

     

     

    Now in employment law terms the letters would have amounted to amendments or additions to the players’ terms and conditions, whether the payments were discretionary or not. And therefore the football authorities should have been informed of the matter.

     

     

    In tax terms the discretionary or contractual issue is key to the Big Tax Case. Murray thinks he will win – HMRC seems to take a different view.

  3. From Michael Grant in the Evening Times. Murray (P) will bring back Walter Smith and John Grieg. New manager and captain anyone?

     

    More due diligence on the event horizon as the Blue Knights prepare their bid. And you know how the last episode of due diligence ended.

  4. Great article. Thoroughly enjoyed reading it!

     

     

    I have seen fleeting references to Zheng Zhi, but don’t have time to go through all blog posts; what is this all about? has he re-signed or something? is there a registration issue with him?

  5. Murray is using double speak again. He is referring to the literal meaning of a 2nd contract, or a hidden contract. One that involves another whole document that is the real one. The inference here is that Rangers supplied the SFA / SPL with false documents. This is the obfuscation being used and being grabbed at by the compliant poodles.

     

     

    What looks like has happened is that Rangers have lied by omission. The 2nd contract is merely a letter making an addendum to the contract lodged at the SFA/SPL. The letter itself is a contract between the 2 parties as it is an undertaking to pay the player for his activities, as the one published in The Sun clearly shows.

     

     

    If the one in The Sun is accurate, then that reference to the appearance fee invalidates the registration for whatever player that was and the letter published IS the famed 2nd contract.

     

     

    Don’t fall for the smoke and mirrors and the plausible deniability rubbish. Minty knows he is up the creek as all of these wee side letters seem to have been produced by HMRC.

     

     

    The “2nd Contracts” will be in the public domain soon enough I think.

  6. themightyquinn on

    PAUL67

     

     

    The point that Moonbeams et al are making is that the payment do not relate to (D9.3) “…that Player’s participation in Association Football or in an activity connected with Association Football”

     

     

    This is how they plan to escape.

     

     

    It’s laughable that any payment the player gets is not in relation to football.

     

     

    But that’s what Moonbeams is insinuating.

  7. (More) Great stuff, Paul. Thanks.

     

     

    I must say I have been chuckling away today, reminiscing on Chick Young’s account (given last night on BBC Shortbread) of this ‘exclusive’ dialogue with his old mucker, Campbell Ogilvie.

     

     

    I’m struggling to think of an expression that beats ‘you couldn’t make it up’ …

     

     

    Not least, I have been humoured by Ogilvie’s assertion that he is prepared to answer questions before any proper investigation (or words to that effect) into the unfolding saga of EBTs, dual contracts and like matters. After all, that’s how things have traditionally been dealt with at the SFA.

     

     

    I understand that in SFA speak ‘proper investigation’ is a euphemism for an appearance before the Worshipful Master, ably supported by a select band of Senior and Junior Wardens, with perhaps a few budding Tilers, Deacons and Stewards thrown in for good measure/educational reasons.

     

     

    What could possibly go wrong with that … ?

     

     

    FF

  8. Agent Craig "Green and" Whyte!! on

    Did anyone watch Goals on Sunday.

     

    Chris Kamara asked neil mccann what he knew of 2 contracts.

     

    mccann spluttered something about knowing nothing about them, then went on to answer a question he hadn’t been asked.

     

    I think Kammy got to close to the bone and asked the question none of the laptop loyal want to ask any ex huns.

     

    Also i wonder if we will ever know who had 2 contracts and if mccann is hoping no-one recorded GoS last week.

     

     

    LET THE PEOPLE SING!!

  9. Paul67

     

     

    The more they try to deny and deflect, the more they tangle themselves up in a web of lies.

     

     

    If they are found not guilty by the SPL or SFA when the facts are there to see, I will call it quits on Scottish Football. Not Celtic I might add, but the rest will never receive a penny again.

  10. When David Murray was insisting there were no dual contracts, did none of the assembled blood-hounds think of asking him to explain the redacted letter that everybody has now seen?

     

     

    He may argue it’s not a contract, and presumably his legal team has tried to argue this to the FTT, but the FTT was in private at Rangers’ bidding, so it seems obvious, given the opportunity and given his insistence, to ask him to explain the difference.

     

     

    Did they all just nod and eat their Winalot?

     

    Has the guy perfected the Imprerius curse from the Harry Potter books?

  11. If FPLG is on a rudderless ship does that mean he is doomed to go nowhere? Perpetually lost at sea?

     

     

    Minty and his colourful admiralty metaphors.

     

     

    Is FPLG a dog without teeth?

     

    A ragman with too many balloons?

     

    A clown without makeup?

     

    A violonist without a bow?

     

    A miner without a mine?

     

    A business that disnae pay tax?

     

    A Galileo with no telescope?

     

    A dummy without a ventriloquist?

     

    Ice cream without jelly?

     

    Well you get the idea…

  12. Eyes Wide Open on

    Have to say Murray’s ‘You have to take someone at their word, what else can you do’ remark about not having a baldie what kind of man and credentials Whyte had or did not have to be one of the most proposterous statements of all.

     

     

    When discussing multi million pound take overs, you find out everything including shoe size and historical family pets before getting into bed with them.

     

     

    Any number of half decent credit check facilities could have provided any amount of historical information on Whyte, previous CCJ’s (county court judgements) brought against them.

     

     

    The fact is Murray sold to the first interested party in 4 years of attempted selling.

     

     

    His need for getting out may have far outsripped his want for getting out – but thats as close to compassion as il go.

     

     

    He had to sell and he didnt give a damn to who.

     

     

    It was internet sites like this one, that bloggers questioned the wealth of the man and if Joe Bloggs could have done that then I think multio millionaire lawyers and accountants might have had a sniff.

     

     

    Once again the article is written in a sympathetic tone where Murray, whose accident 30 odd years ago was brought into for a bit of good measure just incase they hadnt been heavy enough with the sympathetic undertones.

     

     

    The guys couldnt investigate who farted in the room during the 2 man interview.

     

     

    Pathetic.

  13. themightyquinn on 14 March, 2012 at 14:46 said:

     

     

    Such an assertion would be completely at odds with the redacted side letter we’ve all seen.

  14. Paul after reading this article and how clear the rules are, my guess would be they are doomed.

     

     

    The ? no one is asking here, what happens if this drags on after the split, ie will they be relegated to the bottom of the league ? SPL rules state that once a team is in the top 6 after the split it can’t be demoted to a lower position in the league, is this correct guys.

  15. Hi Paul,

     

     

    Your interminable fortitude is bearing fruit.

     

     

    They are going from rattled to desperate.

     

     

    The SPL are supposedly investigating the improper registration of RFC players, this should be progresing post haste, the SPL splits in a weeks and the findings must be published and any penalties imposed before the pre-split League positions are finalised.

     

     

    It is freely admitted that patmets were made to players outwith their main contracts – fine – were these payments scheduled and lodged correctly with the SPL;

     

     

    Yes – No Issue

     

     

    No – The players were not regisered correctly.

     

     

    What’s so difficult!

     

     

    Mr Doncaster get it done please.

  16. Eyes Wide Open on 14 March, 2012 at 14:49 said:

     

    Have to say Murray’s ‘You have to take someone at their word, what else can you do’ remark about not having a baldie what kind of man and credentials Whyte had or did not have to be one of the most proposterous statements of all.

     

     

    ——————————————————-

     

     

    It’s like something Fat Tony from the Simpsons would say. ‘I ama simple man, I take people at their word.’

     

     

    Pathetic. Laughable.

  17. The Moon Bhoys on

    Apologies guys – I’ve got a ragin hangover and the stupid zing zee jokes were doin my head in – off for a wee lie down to see if I can shake it off,

  18. I think Murray played a blinder with the Why(i)te sale. Why(i)te was exactly the sort of person Murray needed to sell to if he was to deflect a lot of the flak from himself.

  19. Awe_Naw_No_Annoni_Oan_Anaw_Noo on

    So, goodbye

     

    Please stay with your own kind

     

    And I’ll stay with mine

     

     

    There’s something against us

     

    It’s not time

     

    It’s not time

     

    So, goodbye, goodbye, goodbye, goodbye

     

     

    I know I need hardly say

     

    How much I love your casual way

     

    Oh, but please put your tongue away

     

    A little higher and we’re well away

     

    The dark nights are drawing in

     

    And your humour is as black as them

     

    I look at yours, you laugh at mine

     

    And “love” is just a miserable lie

     

    You have destroyed my flower-like life

     

    Not once – twice

     

    You have corrupt my innocent mind

     

    Not once – twice

     

    I know the wind-swept mystical air

     

    It means : I’d like to see your underwear

     

    I recognise that mystical air

     

    It means : I’d like to seize your underwear

     

    What do we get for our trouble and pain ?

     

    Just a rented room in Whalley Range

     

    What do we get for our trouble and pain ?

     

    …Whalley Range !

     

    Into the depths of the criminal world

     

    I followed her …

     

     

    I need advice, I need advice

     

    I need advice, I need advice

     

    Nobody ever looks at me twice

     

    Nobody ever looks at me twice

     

     

    I’m just a country-mile behind

     

    The world

     

     

    I’m just a country-mile behind

     

    The whole world

     

    Oh oh, oh …

     

     

    I’m just a country-mile behind

     

    The world

     

     

    I’m just a country-mile behind

     

    The whole world

     

    Oh oh, oh …

     

    Take me when you go

     

    Oh oh, oh…

     

    Take me when you go

     

    Oh oh, oh …

     

    I need advice, I need advice

  20. Any tips for Cheltenham today?

     

     

    I wish I had followed my own advice and put it all on ‘Keep yer money in yer pocket and stop making the bookies wealthier’ which would have seen me break even.

     

     

    I am £3 down and intend to chase it.

     

     

    Seriously, any tips?

  21. philvisreturns on

    I’m the storyteller, and my stories must be told,

     

    I have many stories, tales for both the young and old

     

     

    MurrayBook International

     

     

    (thumbsup)

  22. After what seemed like an eternity of due diligence by both parties the outcome is:

     

    Whytey actually couldnt pass wind never mind a fit and proper person test.

     

    and

     

    Murray continues to do what he always did.

     

    He tells porkies and gets the media poodles to polish it up to look like the truth.

  23. RobertTressell on 14 March, 2012 at 14:54 said:

     

     

    RT

     

    was one posted earler, may have been on the previous masterpiece of Mr 67s

  24. What Murray and co want us to believe is that Rangers players were paid for playing football. They got a wage and probably bonuses for things like winning, scoring or even appearing in a match. And probably further bonuses if they won leagues and cups. And all of these payments, every last one of them, was detailed in a written statement of terms and conditions of employment that was duly lodged with the footballing authorities.

     

     

    But, totally seperate from the above, and purely out of the goodness of their hearts, the club also decided to make additional payments to players. And these gifts were nothing at all to do with the players’ football activities. No sir, they were just payments made because the club thought it would be nice.

  25. Agent Craig "Green and" Whyte!! on

    Hold on here fholks.

     

    If the spl sanction the huns before the split and therefore they sit bottom of the table with zero points, in the bottom six.

     

    That means no hun game in april at Paradise when we will give them a right good bitchslappin.

     

    So for me let them finish top six.

     

    Then we bring out the dvd of the game “Whtyes Men Get Pumped”

     

    Relegate them after that anytime you want.

  26. Gordon_J backing Neil Lennon on 14 March, 2012 at 14:57:

     

     

    Sounds about right.

     

     

    they were a gallant bunch then, not like his current mob who are reliant on OAPs handing in £20 off their pensions.

  27. philvisreturns 14.55

     

     

    “In Germany I’m Johan, in England I am John”

     

     

    (In Scotland I am David)

     

     

    Thumbs Up

  28. Gordon_J – why is that so hard to believe? They look after their own, it doesn’t matter if they are Scottish or from oversees, all Rangers legneds are treated to this sort of charity.

  29. philvisreturns on

    Gordon_J – Those payments were “loans”, not remuneration.

     

     

    :)

     

     

    (thumbsup)

  30. A bond is my word…sounds like a fairytale.

     

     

    Imagine trusting that odd regiment of weird brothers we know as the hun board members on the currency of their word! A word of that lots would be as useful as a ten franc bit!

  31. Paul67 most excellent….

     

     

    “Though the mills of God grind slowly, yet they grind exceeding small; Though with patience He stands waiting, with exactness grinds He all.”

     

     

    (Trans Longfellow)

  32. I have to be honest I have found some of the posturing by bloggers on the failure of the MSM to accurately report on the tax case to be a bit unfair. Bloggers do have the benefit of anonymity when they post. It does matter, and RTC in particular seems to have had the benefit of inside information which nobody else seems to have had. I could be wrong, but the generalisation that the entire journalistic fraternity can be blamed for sitting on its hands, and being complicit in the Rangers scandal, when all they are ordinarily required to do is report on injury lists and hat-tricks seems to me to be a bit unfair.

     

     

    Since the story broke in the Sun about two contracts, however, I have to say I have been stunned by their inability or lack of willingness to ask the correct questions of anybody of relevance. For instance, why haven’t ex-rangers players been sought out and asked to explain what contractual relationship they had with Rangers? Why hasn’t Campbell Ogilvie been asked if he was responsible for signing off player registrations at Rangers? Why the inability to expose SDM’s naked emperor parade in the herald this morning for what it really is? Why not ask him “were all payments made to rangers players in relation to their performance as football players, whether by the Trust or the club, declared to the SFA and the SPL?” follow that up with “who were the relevant members of staff empowered to sign off player registrations during your tenure at the club”. In relation to this question I would be stunned if it was some low level functionary and not someone at Director level who undertook such an important corporate task, so a plea of “I cahnnae remember guv” would be lamentable. These are not difficult questions to devine if you have an understanding of the alleged regulatory breach. Since this is the biggest story in Scottish Football in a generation, if any of our assembled sporting journalists are incapable of grasping the relevant regulations, then they are, unfortunately, unfit for purpose in my opinion, and unworthy of my money.

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