Improper registration issue closes in on Murray


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. If RFCiA revert to TFOD for a while, it would be great to see MBB walking back into Poundland until Admin Day 2.



    Wonder how the MSM would spin that one?

  2. Awe_Naw_No_Annoni_Oan_Anaw_Noo on

    Is the technicality due to the fact that Craig Whyte appointed them but as he is no longer considered owner (someone please qualify that for me how this can happen as he owns 85% of the shares) that they need to get the court to either put them back into administration with Craig Whyte in situ or remove him …. and if they did remove him …. who replaces him ?



    I think the court might chew on D&P backside for a while



    hail Hail

  3. If RFC in administration (maybees aye maybees naw) are indeed not in administration, does anyone think the Whytey boy will pay them for their services? Or does he just tell them ‘Bolt ya Rocket’

  4. TBB, will be at the game on Sunday but unlikely to have the time to meet up – so you’ll just have to write the next article by yourself.



    Awe Naw, that iPad video is hilarious.

  5. If they’re not in administration for a technicality – any idea what the technicality is?



    One of their creditors (HMRC) asked for administration yet somehow either Rangers, D6P or the court have messed it up?



    What will these superstars feel having reluctantly taken a 75% pay cut to find that actually, they’re not in administration’



    Is that why they tried to register Cousin, because they had rigged it to not really be in administration?


    So many Qs. have to go out for a couple of hours so will catch up later. Hope there are some answers by then.

  6. celticrollercoaster says In Neil we trust on 14 March, 2012 at 16:26 said:



    Perhaps CO’s EBT follows the rules and is therefore exempt from tax, after all he never made an appearance for the Huns on the pitch. It is just ahem, all the players’ EBT that are illegal?




    Sorry, slow typer.

  7. Awe_Naw_No_Annoni_Oan_Anaw_Noo on 14 March, 2012 at 16:30 said:


    Why would a Scottish employee who resided and worked permanently in Scotland need any use of an EBT ?



    Tax avoidance






  8. The best bit of CO’s statement is:



    “As confirmed by Sir David Murray today, it was never my role to negotiate contracts during my time at Rangers.”



    He was clearly so desparate to deny something that he had to plump for negotiating player contracts, something that is completely tangential to the discussion at hand.



    Campbell, when you were “the main point of contact between the club and the respective league and governing bodies” were all payments made to players of the club declared to the respective league and governing bodies as per the rules with which we are now all intimately acquainted?



    If Rangers aren’t in administration and I was HMRC I’d be requesting a winding up order right about now.

  9. Actually what Campbell Ogilvie said today was this:



    “I am soon to be toast”



    And Campbell, ye knew, ya cheeky wee SFA head honcho ye….




  10. RalphWaldoEllison-is Neil Lennon Season 2011-12 on

    It is very simple (he said laughingly).


    It’s all about two separate but connected issues;


    1. EBTs and tax liability.


    2. EBT payments to players being disclosed to SFA/SPL



    1. Properly administered EBTs are not problematic, but in the hands of the unscrupulous they provide a loophole that some exploited for tax evasion reasons.


    RFCIA were clearly running their earlier EBT as a tax evasion device and thus admitted liability for 2.8m in dodged taxes.


    Their second scheme was more sophisticated and refined, clearly in an effort to sail as close to the legal wind as possible, while maximising the tax saving/evasion benefits to them and to the players. However, HMRC assessed their scheme and viewed it still as tax evasion and presented them with the assessment.



    2. From Paul’s piece, and directly from SFA/SPL artciles, any payments to players (caveats included) need to be disclosed to the SFA/SPL, so as to avoid the under-the-counter culture for which football was infamous. IF, and only if, those EBTs were not disclosed to the SFA/SPL, there is a prima facie case to answer of improperly registered players by RFCIA. From McGill’s first strike defence as quoted by Paul, he makes it very clear that since RFCIA took the view that the EBT scheme was non-contractual, they did not reveal their existence to the SFA/SPL. Explaining that they were in the annual accounts actually makes McGill sound pathetic. It’s like saying to the cop who finds you with four bald tyres, “Well they were fine when I checked them.”



    RFCIA’s whole tax evasion defence strategy is based entirely on the premise that the EBTs were non-contractual, and so were not liable for tax. They are also presenting this as their defence to improperly registering players.



    Murray’s statements that have all the precision and credibility of Clinton’s Lewinsky defence, and he too presents himself as a pathetic figure who was a victim.


    Ogilvie’s statements via Chick embarrassed him,Young and the BBC, but he did throw Murray’s organisation under the bus vis a vis the players contracts.


    McGill’s defence that he acted in good faith after advice means simply that he is passing the buck.



    Murray ran a dictatorship at RFCIA. We have plenty of evidence of that from Hugh Adam, Alistair Johnson, and others, plus of course the fawning MSM. They only fawned because bogie man Murray ostracised those who pushed back in away, and in the little world that is Scottish football journalism, being on the outside usually meant you were finished. Journalists, directors and managers who failed to tow the Murray line were persona non grata in Murrayland. Hugh Adam spoke of this ten years ago, and the outgoing board’s protests about MBB last year were ignored for precisely the same reasons. They were inconvenient to the grander Murray plan. All of this is the kind of passice aggresive behaviour and victimisation that dictators and bullies go in for.



    Nothing that happened in Murray’s extended empire occurred without Murray’s explicit sanction, and the mutterings from yesterday by all of them make that abundantly clear. All the evidence points back to Murray being heavily implicated and the excuses trotted out yesterday endorse that point.



    So, for fans of their club, everything that has gone wrong was accidental, the fault of others, and incidental to the otherwise excellent management of the club. The owner isn’t to blame, neither were/are the directors. The club will carry on, but only of you give more of your money.



    David Murray – liar, conman,still lying. Implicated in wrongdoing, not fit & proper


    Craig Whyte – liar, conman, still lying. Implicated in wrongdoing, not fit & proper


    Paul Murray – liar and puppet, still lying. Very conlicted, not fit & proper


    Alistair Johnson – dupe, puppet, very conflicted and not fit & proper


    John McClelland – dupe, puppet, very conflicted and not fit & proper,


    RC Ogilvie – liar, puppet, dupe, incompetent. Very, very conflicted. Not fit & proper.




  11. Eyes Wide Open on

    Well thats it then, Sammy Jardine, looking up at the reporter for BBC NI spoke with an elegance from 4 feet off the floor when asked do you think Rangers will go into liquidation….



    “im more than happy to say I dont think Rangers will go into liquidation”



    As far as I see it, the rides over and karma has moved on to pastures new.



    Keep moving, nothing to see here, keep moving people…..

  12. Due to having the worst hangover in the history of sport I would like any post


    from myself (DJBEE) made last night redacted and treated as an EBT or second contract. Nothing to see here scroll along like good poodles.

  13. Is Mise Neil Lennon on

    Thanks to Timbhoy for last night’s Cheltenham tips. Your analysis was very accurate.


    Will you be the final day?

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