SPL FINE RANGERS 250,000

sfa PIC

Rangers oldco have been fined around £250,000 by the Scottish Premier League after being found guilty of failing to correctly register players.

An independent commission, chaired by Lord Nimmo Smith, has ruled the club breached SPL rules by failing to disclose to the league all payments made to players for playing activities.

In its reasoning, the commission states players were eligible. It states: "Rangers FC did not gain any unfair competitive advantage from the contraventions of the SPL Rules in failing to make proper disclosure of the side-letter arrangements, nor did the non-disclosure have the effect that any of the registered players were ineligible to play, and for this and other reasons no sporting sanction or penalty should be imposed upon Rangers FC.

"Although the payments in this case were not themselves irregular and were not in breach of SPL and SFA rules, the scale and extent of the proven contraventions of the disclosure rules require a substantial penalty to be imposed."

The fine is payable by the old company, now in liquidation, and not Charles Green's new company, which purchased the club's assets in July 2012.

The club faced being stripped of up to five league titles by the commission but will remain as SPL title winners in 2002/03, 2004/05, 2008/09, 2009/10 and 2010/11.

The commission had the power to impose any of 18 available sanctions, including the annulment of results and/or withdrawing titles.

SPL sanction G6.1.3 states: “Upon determining that a breach of or failure to fulfil the Rules has been established, the Board or, as the case may be, a Commission may…impose a fine.”

The guilty verdict is in relation to the club’s use of Employee Benefit Trusts to reward players. Payments made through the scheme were not declared in their contracts, with Rangers arguing they did not require to be as per SPL rules.

Rangers have the right to appeal the Commission’s decision through the Scottish Football Association.

If the club register an appeal at Hampden, the governing body would convene an Appellate Tribunal under the terms of their Judicial Panel Protocol.

The Appellate Tribunal would consider all evidence submitted but could also ask the interested parties to appear in person to answer questions. No timescale for a decision is specified in the Scottish FA rules.

In a statement, the SPL said of the verdict: "The SPL Board appointed the Independent Commission to consider all aspects of the above matter and at no point provided any direction to the Commission on any aspect of the case.

"The SPL Board notes that the Commission has upheld a number of complaints against Rangers OldCo and that Rangers OldCo has been found to have breached SPL and Scottish FA Rules over an 11-year period in relation to the non-disclosure of financial arrangements involving many of its Players.

"The SPL Board are assured by the integrity of the process followed and thank The Rt Hon Lord Nimmo Smith and his colleagues, Nicholas Stewart QC and Charles Flint QC, for their time and effort.

"The Board wishes to give the detail of the decision further consideration at its next meeting."