Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Rangers vow to snub SPL probe

Charles Green

Rangers have refused to co-operate with the Scottish Premier League inquiry into alleged undisclosed payments to players by a previous Ibrox regime.

Chief executive Charles Green announced the club would not attend the opening hearings of the SPL-appointed independent commission into the matter, due to take place today and tomorrow.

Green said in a statement: “The club cannot continue to participate in an SPL process that we believe is fundamentally misconceived.”

In a lengthy statement, Green accused the SPL of hypocrisy and insisted they had no legal authority over his Irn-Bru Third Division club. Green questioned the independence of the three-man panel, which is chaired by Lord Nimmo Smith and includes two QCs, and threatened legal action if SPL titles are stripped from Rangers.

The commission, due to hold procedural hearings this week but not hear evidence, was appointed following initial assessment of Employee Benefit Trust transactions to Rangers players from 2000 to 2011, which could breach SPL rules over declaring payments in contracts.

Green's company bought the assets and business of the soon-to-be liquidated oldco Rangers and secured the club's SFA membership but was denied entry to the SPL.

“The club ceased to be subject to the SPL's rules when it was ejected from its league,” he said.

“Our lawyers have made that point repeatedly to the SPL in correspondence and yet our requests for an explanation from the SPL have been completely ignored. The SPL's silence on these issues is deafening. The outcome of the SPL's process will have no legal effect.”

Green added: “Despite this, the SPL now see the new owners of the company, and the new company itself, which owns all the assets of Rangers FC — including SPL championship titles — as fair game for punishment for matters that have nothing to do with us at all. And let's be very clear about what this commission is.

“Although the SPL goes to great lengths to emphasise the independence of its commission, the commission is not independent of the SPL.

“I don't question the impartiality of the individual panel members but whatever decision they reach is a decision of the SPL.”

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