Tax, rules, Juninho and EBTs


The SPL yesterday released a statement concerning the Employee Benefit Trust payment Celtic made in 2005 to Juninho, in response to what sounded like unfounded allegations made earlier this week.

The league noted, “we have seen reports regarding an EBT in relation to a former player of Celtic FC.  The SPL has investigated the arrangements and documentation in that case and has determined that there is no evidence of any breach of SPL Rules”.

Many good employers have understood the benefit of assisting individual members of staff during times of crisis or personal hardship.  One very practical way of doing this is to lend them money, which happens in businesses up and down the country every day.  When the nature of these transactions involve either a company of sufficient size, a lengthy repayment period, or a high value loan, a formal structure is needed to establish the terms of the transaction, not only for the benefit of employer and employee, but also for the tax authorities – who authorise tax-free payments of this kind.

These tax rules were not established to allow wealthy individuals to escape their social duty.

Not long after Rangers first operated an Employee Benefit Trust Celtic were approached and offered consultancy to establish a similar scheme.  The promised benefits were huge, vast quantities of cash would no longer go to HMRC and would be freed up to spend on new players.

Celtic were not convinced.

Loans would need to be repaid and if not, contractually binding transactions would need to be documented in accordance with SPL and SFA rules, and this very documentation would make them liable for tax.  For Celtic, EBTs could only be used in limited circumstances, would be unable to deliver a significant impact on the business, and would introduce a further layer of professional costs.

“How can these work?” That was the question. How on earth can a club pay millions of pounds into a Trust none of which is contractual? Players, and their agents, like to have things written down. If you write it down and inform the authorities, you’re taxed on it. Celtic were not prepared to enter any written agreement and not declare it to their auditors, HMRC or the football authorities.

What was the cost of this principled stance?

In season 2004-05 former World Cup winner, Juninho, arrived at Celtic from Middlesbrough on a straightforward contract, his only contract with the club, which was correctly registered with the football authorities.  He only lasted eight months before agreeing to terminate his deal.  Celtic made a payment of around £750k into an EBT the player had from before his time at the club.

Celtic informed HMRC of the details of their EBT transaction with Juninho and were told this was regarded as income, not a loan, and that they would need to pay tax.  Celtic then paid tax due on top of the £750k which went to Juninho.  It was a pointless and expensive exercise for Celtic, but they dealt with it honestly and openly.

The club’s understandings of EBTs from five years earlier were confirmed, this was not a way to avoid taxation by filtering part of a player’s income away from PAYE.  Board members of any other club which understood how to make this work were clearly a lot smarter than our guys.  They were also able to buy players and win leagues while our board were hammered daily for their prudent values.

I bet directors at that other club are sounding pretty contrite now, humbled by the emerging news. There will be no self-serving vainglorious rabble rousing.

Far from Celtic being subject to criticism on this matter, scrutiny of their actions will only reveal the stark cost of following the rules when others don’t.

Congratulations to the campaigners who for 23 years sought Justice for the 96.  We all watch the game in a safer environment because of the loss endured by the families bereaved at Hillsborough.  Yesterday’s report condemns the actions of many: some senior police officers, sections of the media, one or two of who should never work in the industry again, and a former MP, whose actions were truly appalling, and who remains a knight of the realm, but those running the game, those responsible for Health and Safety standards, and various governments have a responsibility to bear.

Dangerous crushing inside and outside football grounds was a fact of life in the 1980s, including at the Janefield St entrance to Celtic Park.

You can continue to read CQN Magazine FOR FREE, or can subscribe for £10 or £20 and our sponsor, Executive Shaving, who offer an enormous range of grooming products, are offering readers a £20 voucher for all £30 CQN Magazine subscribers.

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  1. Key points for the newco huns to receiving a licence.



    1- The Scottish FA has received all necessary information and documentation from Sevco Scotland Ltd, including details of the company structure, shareholders, financial projections and business plan.



    2- Sevco Scotland Ltd has agreed to accept all conditions relating to RFC (IA)’s charges of bringing the game into disrepute, namely the 12-month transfer embargo, beginning at 0.01a.m on 1st September 2012, and payment of all outstanding fines and costs.



    3- Sevco Scotland Ltd has agreed to settle all outstanding football debts to other members of the Scottish FA plus clubs under the jurisdiction of other Football Associations.



    4- The Scottish Premier League and Scottish Football League have reached agreement on the purchase of a package of broadcasting rights which will allow the former to include The Rangers FC matches in contracts with broadcast partners.



    5- The Scottish Premier League has reserved its position in relation to the on-going investigation into EBTs.



    Point 2.


    I have no idea if they have paid the fines and costs.



    Point 3.


    As yet they have not paid football debt to the likes of Rapid, Arsenal et all.



    Not being a lawyer, but no being stupid, if they have not fullfilled points 2 and 3, they have breeched the terms of their licence agreement.



    They should have their licence recinded.



    If it were any other club, they would not be playing football anywhere.

  2. 67Heaven … I am Neil Lennon..!!.. Ibrox belongs to the creditors



    When Sir Minty underwrote the share issue to the tune of £50 Million and the huns only took up about £1 Million. I remember saying to my wee da that they were F***ed and it was only a matter of time.

  3. saltires en sevilla on



    15:51 on


    13 September, 2012


    Ordered Downfall pre publication with Amazon and now have a late Sept delivery estimate versus the 11 Sept when originally ordered. Have now cancelled.


    Went into local WHSmith in Greenock, asked for book and was told they were not stocking this title.



    Anyone else having the same trouble?





    bought in Waterstone Argyll St Tuesday morning -box kept behind counter and girl told me she ‘found’ the box as they thought had sold out on Monday – she had personally sold 30 copies since Monday.



    not sure if it was on ‘open’ sale-didn’t check




  4. Saltires….



    Many thanks . Will get my son to collect in Glasgow. Amazing that the bookshops are behaving like this.


    On second thought, maybe it’s not. I suppose employers have to consider employee safety at all time but what a very sad indictment on our little pond.

  5. Yes, their completely failed share issue set the alarm bells ringing. But why would their fans feel the need to buy into RFC when the press was full of stories about who rich and clever Murray was?



    I remember even when their money troubles became known, they were explained away with the meaningless caveat “due to the downturn in the football economy”



    The MSM shielded their fans from the truth for years. Ironically, if they had done their job, raised the alarm, and asked some difficult questions, RFC would probably still be with us…

  6. saltires en sevilla on





    i suspect if the book was ‘Downfall -Celtic..etc’



    WHSmith would be organising prizes for best window display..

  7. I think my moment of realisation that they were doomed for all eternity was when Paul67 began to edjumacate us yins on amortisation….



    Mind you, when Murray tried to have the ole share issue which utterly failed and when they sold Boumsong for a fortune to Sounness shortly after getting him for nuffink, something stank to high heaven.



    Lang may they languish and may they take the likes of Ogilvie, Broadfoot and their other placemen, who have been destroying Scottish football, to eternal perdition.

  8. jimmci


    Bought a copy in Waterstones in Ayr yesterday no problems. Seemed to be on open sale but didn’t really check I just asked at the counter when I was buying another book. The woman who served me was surprised to hear that other branches were not selling it openly.

  9. Neil canamalar Lennon hunskelper extrordinaire on



    another misinterpretation by me :o)


    I took it stoke as the selling club (shilton), thats why stoke paid up for future services, sorry my mistake.



    however my last point that, the money in lieu, is on the understanding that the contract would be terminated only through expiery, rather than termination by either side not honoring the contract, which IMO is crystal ball gazeing.


    The money paid to terminate considered in lieu of contract expectations is proof all footballing activities will cease, therefore as soon as the termination deal is agreed the severance is no longer football related.

  10. JIMMCI



    I remember putting a formal complaint in to their head office as the WHSmith in Queen Street Station had Union Jacks and red, white and blue up all over the place.



    Jubilee? No. Rangers in the UEFA Cup Final.



    I asked if they were supporting rangers in an official capacity and why had they not shown the same support when Celtic had reached the UEFA Cup Final. I got an e-mail an hour later telling me the shop had been informed to remove it all.

  11. No doubt poor old Ian Blair will now be in the firing line from the SevCo support



    Chris McLaughlin ‏@BBCchrismclaug


    In response to questions re #SPL investigation into #Celtic EBT, SPL say secretary Iain Blair investigated and reported to board.




    Reply Retweet Favorite

  12. I have already said I couldn’t get Downfall at WH Smith’s at the Fort last Monday. Has anyone tried RS McColl’s. Didn’t the founder of the chain play for thon deid team back in their favourite period, the mythical days of yore?

  13. Today, from ATOS (the disability denying wing of I.D.Smith’s private and personal fiefdom within Govt., The DWP):


    ” It is with some satisfaction that we can announce today that any disability benefits paid to Stephen Hawking will be removed forthwith after his sterling performance at The Opening Ceremony of The Paralympics where we were a major sponsor. After a thorough assessment of Stephen, we have decided he is fit for work and will have his DLA terminated immediately. As he no longer requires the middle or full-rate DLA, we will also be removing Carer’s Allowance from his primary caregiver.


    These sanctions will also apply to all other British Paralympians and any disabled person seen performing at The Paralympics. These subjects are all currently being assessed by our approved medical personnel, based on recorded evidence from the games.


    As major sponsors of The Paralympics we felt it right to use this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to use the games as a mass screening assessment process. We feel it has been a successful operation for our company, achieved in a superb cost effective module.


    Therefore, we are expecting to roll out this model in the coming months.


    Iain Duncan Smith has given us the green light, subject to approval from Cabinet colleagues.


    With not inconsiderable pride in our methodology, we would like to assure the taxpayers of Great Britain that their hard earned taxes will less and less be handed out to undeserving spongers,wasters, and the dross of society,and instead will be used to handsomely reward our ongoing programme of Eugenics.


    We are immensely satisfied with the role we have played in bringing the most succesful Paralympics to you, our most valuable resource : the people. We hope you will support us in our efforts to streamline society, and that you continue to inform us of anyone you think is getting benefits they do not deserve. We look forward to your continuing support. Without it we could not do as we have done, are doing, and will continue to do so until our aims are reached and a final solution is found to the problems of society which are a drain on our resources and an irritation to us all.


    Thank you.


    As a complimentary bonus we will be sending DVDs of The Who’s ‘Tommy’ to all our clients.


    If a deaf dumb and blind kid can play such a mean pinball, then many of the so-called ‘disabled’ will certainly have to have their aspirations reassessed.


    We hope this is a motivational gift and that you benefit from it ; because it’s the only benefit you are ever likely to receive once we have interviewed you, assessed you, and sanctioned you on a permanent, no appeals ,no quibble basis.

  14. On WH Smith – I could be wrong, but I don’t think they will exactly be at the cutting edge of new book releases, especially those of predominantly ‘local’ or specialist interest. They probably have a number of new books each week which will be stocked across all of their branches nationwide. They’ll be aiming at the mass appeal market.



    A bit like Tesco’s CD new releases. If its not by wee Rhianna, One Direction or the Military Wives then forget it.

  15. 67heaven



    I have never thought that they were doomed or anything like that.



    The very fact they are still playing football, tells me that every rule in the book has been broken to accomadate them.



    They can punish the old huns till the cows come home, matters not a jot to the newhun club.



    Aye, they will be spitting a bit more bile than they are spitting presently, but at the end of the day, they will still be around to polute the planet.



    IMO, too many people are putting their hopes into the basket that the sfa/spl/uefa will do something about them.



    Not going to happen, the sfa/spl have colluded so they are playing football, uefa will not get involved with internal matters.

  16. Neil canamalar Lennon hunskelper extrordinaire on

    My first hope was ignited when I started reading this blog and the relatively forensic studying of their books.


    This was set ablaze when the city of london police confiscated the computer.

  17. ** QUIZ NIGHT **



    Tickets priced £5 are selling fast for the wee Oscar quiz night.



    This will take place in The Phoenix bar (previously Eastenders) on the Gallowgate on Saturday 29th September from 7-12am.



    We’re looking for teams of 4/5 but don’t worry if you can’t make up a full compliment we’ll sort you into teams before the event even if you’re coming alone.



    This is an easy and enjoyable way to help ensure that this wee bhoy gets the treatment he so desperately requires.



    Please contact us at weeoscar4life@gmail.com to book your tickets.



    OVER 18s ONLY.

  18. canamalar



    Mine to.



    But, I will no be holding my breath.



    Political pressure has been brought to bare/bear, why else would a request from a high court judge have been ignored, or put on the back burner without any explanation.



    Again I think we are putting too much hope in them, time will tell mi amigo.



    The only hope I can see is that our new found friend Chuck, has a plan, and the plan involves a share issue, which will be used to run the club in the short term, and they will go bust again.



    Then my fear is a government bail out.

  19. Read back about the masonic references in Alastair Johnston’s speech and I think it’s been over played. He seems on the level to me.

  20. Neil canamalar Lennon hunskelper extrordinaire on



    I’ll try and clean that up



    first point was, how can they apply in lieu, when its also possible the contract could be terminated through dispute\default



    second point was about timing, when the agreement is made and before money changes hands, it is no longer about football activities.



    I’m chasing my tail :oD)))

  21. Neil canamalar Lennon hunskelper extrordinaire on



    BDO are appointed from london and have very strict regulations and procedures to follow, if they are seen to deviate, they will be setting a precedent which will be used by others, this has to go by the book, I hope :o)

  22. Glendalystonsils likes a mr whippy with his lime green jelly on

    Another great article Paul. Principles before pilfered prizes indeed.



    On the subject of crowd safety and the old Janefield st. exit, I remember after the 5-1 new year game (1966 I think) being swept out in a mass of bodies hardly able to breathe and my feet didn’t actually touch the ground until I was about 100 yards out the stadium. Scary.

  23. TET – fair point. He might get in trouble with the SPL over some of his comments though.


    I don’t know how he’s going to square that circle.

  24. The Exiled Tim



    If there is a government bail-out, it will have to be in the open and the government will have to explain its actions.



    Once the findings of the dual-contracts investigation are made public, it will be very hard for anyone to express any sympathy whatsoever for them.



    It’s a giant charade. The SPL is completely motivated by money. In the joint statement, the rubbishy quote from Doncaster quickly references broadcast rights, as though that were the key point. He just wants money.



    The SFA is annoying me much more. What does it for me is the hypocrisy of the SFA being one of five members of the IFAB, basically dictating to the world game what fair play in football is all about, while showing itself to be at best incompetent and at worst corrupt in its own backyard.

  25. As regards Juninho, if anything,and I mean anything, such as a misplaced comma or forgotten fullstop had been missing from the EBT or whatever the SFA and the SPL and the rest would be crowing like a cock on a dunghill. The dunghill bit is a rather apt analogy for what passes for football authorities in Scotland. With the dice loaded in so many ways, referees, disciplinary panels, and the rest, it’s a wonder Celtic ever won anything. I just hope the board are making their thoughts known as regards any sort of coverup.

  26. canamalar



    It’s being played out through the High court in Edinburgh.



    I can see where you are coming from, but trust me, the influence from scotland will take presidence.



    HMRC had they had real influence would have had BDO in there in the first place.



    That was rejected for Duff and Phelps, who have proceded to administer the most baffeling administration ever seen.



    Not a single redundency, not a single one.



    They have racked up millions in costs.



    Not5 a single penny has been paid to any of the creditors.



    They have sold a 100 million asset for 1.5 million.



    I could go on, but you get the drift.



    This has gone way, way beyond what is right and wrong.

  27. Charle says that as his mob are not members of the SPL, they shouldn’t be punished and the trophies must stay.



    What is different from a team that cheated for a couple of years, won titles and then were relegated due to poor footballing results rather than financial troubles.



    They would still have the titles removed, if found guilty.

  28. Glendalystonsils


    Aye! Dangerous street that….my mind takes me back to a cavalry charge by the polis on horseback that could have had consequences ……well I don’t want to say, given recent news.


    Teuchter ár lá

  29. tomtheleedstim



    16:36 on 13 September, 2012



    Read back about the masonic references in Alastair Johnston’s speech and I think it’s been over played. He seems on the level to me.




    What exactly did he say this time?



    I know about the past pleas (Pre admin).



    Then he said with regard to the assessed amount of unpaid tax due by Rangers F.C. (Big Tax Case): “It’s a standard situation where an assessment is presented, some with hope and faith and charity involved by the Revenue, and we then either accept, or reject, or appeal it.”



    Has he been at it again?

  30. What is different from a team that cheated for a couple of years, won titles and then were relegated due to poor footballing results rather than financial troubles?



    (question mark missing CSC)

  31. jeez_I_thought_blinker_was_pants on

    Benfica Away Game



    Anyone any idea about the ticketing arrangements for 20th Nov?



    I was buying my 3 match package last week in the Ticket Office and the bloke behind the counter said they haven’t had word from Benfica about how many tickets we are getting, I thought these things would have been sorted by now?



    If the worst comes to the worst, if there is anyone on who went to either of the last two games in Lisbon, is there scope for buying tickets (Benfica End)once I get over?



    Haven’t been back over since seeing mad Jorge Cadete score against us in the old Alvalade stadium.

  32. Celtic_First



    They are already involved, the political and masonic influence is there for all to see.



    I find it hard to comprehend that an institution that is the fabric of the nation will be allowed to die, Salmonds words.



    They will never allow carnage on the streets, it would be cheaper and safer to keep them alive, they will find a way.



    As for the sfa, totally incompitent and corrupt, but even a blind man can see that, and uefa also can see it, and yet they choose to ignore.







    AJ doesn’t give a jot what he says, just like Chuck or sally, they can say what they like with total impunity.



    I will eat myself if he brought to book for his words :>)

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