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SPFL: No fresh tax scheme sanctions against Rangers

Wed 26th Jul 2017 | Money & Finance

The SPFL Board today announced, following legal advice from eminent Senior Counsel, Gerry Moynihan Q.C., that there will be no further disciplinary proceedings taken by the SPFL connected with the use by Rangers of EBTs and other tax schemes.

The SPFL Board further announced that it supports the calls that have been made for an independent review concerning the way in which Scottish football’s authorities have dealt with non-payment of tax by clubs, have applied their rules and regulations, and the sufficiency of changes made to their rules and regulations in this area over the last few years.

The SPFL Board of directors has considered carefully the judgement of the Supreme Court in the unsuccessful appeal by the former Rangers Football Club PLC (in liquidation) ("Rangers OldCo") against the decision of the Inner House of the Court of Session finding that OldCo acted unlawfully in failing to deduct and pay over to HMRC, PAYE income tax, from payments made by it to EBTs for many of its registered players.

Gerry Moynihan Q.C. has confirmed that:- (i) the breaches of Scottish FA and SPL Rules and Regulations arising from the failure of Rangers OldCo to make the required notifications in relation to registrations and contract disclosure requirements are now closed and cannot be re-opened by the SPFL nor can the Commission or a new Commission now impose further or different sanctions. The SPFL has no power in law to re-open these issues and the Commission has no power in law, assuming it wished to do so, to modify or supplement the sanction previously imposed;

(ii) there were not and are not in the SPL/SPFL Rules and Regulations any other provisions which can be or could have been pursued in relation to the failures of Rangers Oldco to make payments of PAYE tax to HMRC in relation to its employees who benefited from EBTs; and

(iii) there were not and are not in the SPL/SPFL Rules and Regulations any other provisions which can be or could have been pursued in relation to any alleged damaging effects on the reputation of the game resulting from any acts and/or omissions of Rangers OldCo in relation to the failure to deduct and pay over PAYE tax.

In short, Senior Counsel has advised that there are no disciplinary proceedings, beyond those already taken and concluded before the Lord Nimmo Smith Commission, which were at any time or are now open to the SPL and/or SPFL in relation to the failure of Rangers OldCo and/or its officers to deduct and pay over PAYE which Rangers OldCo was obligated to deduct and pay over but which it failed so to do.

Since 2010, the SPFL has brought in a number of rule changes dealing with non-payment of tax.  These were further bolstered at Monday’s SPFL Annual General Meeting.

The detailed advice given by Gerry Moynihan Q.C. to the board of directors of the SPFL as regards the options, if any, open to the SPFL in relation to further disciplinary action by the SPL/SPFL, is provided.

Ralph Topping, independent non-executive Chairman of the SPFL, commented: “The Board of the SPFL has noted the calls that have been made for an independent review and report concerning the way in which Scottish football’s authorities have dealt with non-payment of tax by clubs, application of their rules and regulations and the sufficiency of changes made to their rules and regulations in this area over the last few years.

“The Board of the SPFL supports those calls for such an independent review and will seek to facilitate such review and the publication of its report with and to the Scottish FA. The SPFL will seek to agree terms of reference with the Scottish FA and the identification of appropriate independent reviewers.”

Image: Action Images / Lee Smith

Posted by: Kev Howland 

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