SPL chief executive, Neil Doncaster, has until this week insisted that the inquiry he instructed Harper MacLeod to conduct had yet to establish if there was prima facie evidence that Rangers had, in flagrant abuse of league and SFA rules, operated a dual contract system for over a decade.
BBC Scotland’s documentary, Rangers – The men who sold the jerseys, established that at least 38 Rangers players had written agreements to pay them money in connection to playing football and that none of these agreements were registered with the SFA and SPL.
We have gone several stages beyond prima facie. Harper MacLeod can stand down, their inquiry is moot.
Fifa rules dictate that all national associations to hold records of player contracts in order that they can ensure rules are followed and a level playing field is established. These rules are reflected in the player registration process of the Scottish FA and the Scottish Premier League rules.
While every other club in the country was paying tax on player wages, Rangers were able to recruit more and better players for the same amount of money as Employee Benefit Trusts were not taxed. This enabled them to put better teams on the field, win games and win trophies, while their opponents played by the rules and on five occasions lost league titles narrowly.
Rangers told Ronald Waterus’ agent, in correspondence seen by the BBC, was told, using the trust was “in the interests of Ronald as it enables him to receive funds tax-free.
“I can confirm that we will not pay these amounts to [Ronald] unless they are made through the use of the remuneration trust.”
Our game has been rigged since at least 2000. The level playing field some of us were naive enough to believe existed was a mirage. The reach of this practice at Rangers is staggering. 72 staff in total, including seven former directors, one of whom remains president of the SFA.
For corrupting Scottish football on this scale, there can only be one punishment.
The documentary was a triumph of investigative journalism by Mark Daly, Martin Conaghan and the team, who were drawn from news and sport. The BBC is in a class of its own when it comes to complex projects like this. It is incredible that they managed to acquire side letters for 38 players. Perhaps a full investigation by the authorities will reveal more evidence.
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