Digging The Hole Ever Deeper

Reblogged with kind permission of RTC as his blog is closed to posts. RTC will be writing a related blog for SFM in a day or so. Paul McConville has also prepared a new blog which will be posted in a day or so.

Our thanks to both RTC and Paul for their creative input.

Rangers Tax Case

This week has seen strident denials from David Murray that Rangers have done anything wrong in paying 83 employees  through the Murray Group Management Remuneration Trust (MGMRT). According to Murray: “No rules were breached or circumvented, and I reject and resent any suggestion that anything was done which amounted to cheating.” This blog-post will provide an illustrative example that demonstrates just how absurdly untrue Murray’s claim really is.

First a quick recap of the rules. For the MGMRT, an Employee Benefit Trust (EBT), to be operated legally for tax purposes, money is deposited in the trust by the employer. Thereafter, the employer must have no control or involvement in the disbursement of funds. Employees can then apply to the trust for loans. The loans must be discretionary i.e. contractual obligations or wages (of any kind) cannot be paid tax-free through an EBT. Any payment through an EBT for wages or…

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About SFM
The Scottish Football Monitor is following the lead of RangersTaxCase in an attempt to hold the Scottish mainstream media to account and to question. If they do not ask the difficult questions, we will.

77 Responses to Digging The Hole Ever Deeper

  1. blu says:

    Thumbs up to TheBlackNight and Danish Pastry for actually reading the (unattributed) Scotsman article with the sub-heading “League Cup wins remain with Rangers, says SFL chief”. This is the kind of nonsense that TSFM should discuss and challenge and it’s a shame that a number of posters just swallow it whole. Within the article content David Longmuir is quoted noting that the SFL currently reflects an accurate position with regard to the number of League Cup wins attributed to Glasgow Rangers FC. The writer provides no evidence for his/her assertion that that will remain the case should Glasgow Rangers FC be found guilty following the SFA investigation into player registrations in the period 2001-2010. I’d expect Mr Longmuir to have been quoted verbatim if he’d given this commitment on behalf of the SFL board.

    Keep up teh good word TSFM.

  2. longtimelurker says:

    Charlie Brown says:
    August 10, 2012 at 10:06
    14 3 Rate This

    ________________________________________________________________

    Great post and thanks however the league set up was changed because Celtic were too successful.

  3. jammy dodger says:

    Charlie Brown says:
    August 10, 2012 at 10:06

    A great post, which sums up the situation brilliantly. (Why it immediately attracted 2 TDs is just one of life’s little mysteries)

    The SPL “experiment” has been an abject failure, an unmitigated disaster for Scottish football. Those who disagree with that statement need to look at the standing both of our clubs and the national side at the international level. Where it really went wrong was the SDM idea that he could replicate the Man Utd model in Scotland by buying in star players on stellar salaries. Of course there never was, never could have been and never will be enough money in the Scottish game to support such a model. The desperate attempt to buy European success lead directly to the taxpayer paying £100m for Sir David’s folly.

    Why isn’t there enough money in the Scottish game? Well that’s easily answered, Scotland has a population of under 6 million. And all of the money in the game (TV money and sponsorship included) has to come, in effect, from that base.

    So we have to live within our limited means, and that means creating a healthy, fair and competitive league setup. Perpetuating the current setup can only result in a Celtic procession to the title until such time as Sevco arrive in the SPL, at which point it’s back to business as usual. That is the heartfelt desire of the Sevco chorus in the MSM. Which is just one more good reason why I don’t want a return to the old days.

    What we should do is have a look at those countries in Europe which are close in size to Scotland, and still manage to be successful internationally. Holland and Portugal stand out immediately. What are they doing right? How are they structured? Both these countries seem to have an endless supply of talented players coming through their system. Sure, the best ones quickly go abroad, but they don’t seem to struggle to find quality replacements from within their own country.

    I don’t know enough about football in either country to supply any answers- maybe someone on here can help? But I see the finished product, at club and international level, and I think, why can’t Scottish football be like that? Either the Scottish gene pool has gone to pot over the last 30 years (unlikely!) or our game is currently structured in such a way as to hold us back.

    Time for a radical rethink, and if nothing else, this whole Sevco saga should stimulate some thought about where we are, and where we want to be. Where I for one certainly don’t want to be is back to where we were a couple of years back. Yet that is exactly where the MSM want to take us.

  4. Charlie Brown says:

    Jammy Dodger

    You could fairly say that the whole Souness & Murray revolution was built on the following 5 things

    1. Expensively assembled football teams by paying in Scottish terms exorbitant wages & transfer fees.

    PAID FOR BY

    2. 45K-50K full houses and retention of 100% of gate money – the Souness revolution would have been much harder to afford and finance had gate-sharing never been abolished and Rangers had to hand approx 40% of these huge crowd receipts to the away team as thye did only 5 years previously. They wouldn’t have been able to put as much clear blue sky between themselves and Celtic / Aberdeen / Hearts / Dundee Utd etc over whom they became immediately and completely dominant until Fergus McCann arrived and rebuilt Celtic along a similar scale.

    3. Debt – David Murray’s seemingly never ending line of credit with Bank of Scotland enabled Rangers as a stroke to buy success or borrow their way out of any trouble.

    4. Champions League money – this was both a blessing and a curse for Rangers as it provided financial cover for (and initiated) a multitude of sins and poor financial management.

    5. Tax-cheating, financial doping and undisclosed payments to players – the subjects of the Rangers Tax case that hastened their financial downfall, eventual liquidation and newco beginning in the 4th Division of Scottish Football and could/should see them stripped of many of the trophies they won by their misuse of EBT’s and flouting football rules.

  5. ghirl1888 says:

    The SFL chief says rangers (IA) titles will remain, isn’t this an SPL investigation? what does Longmuir have to do with an SPL investigation?

  6. john clarke says:

    I append the text of an email I have just sent to ‘The Scotsman’ and forwarded to the SFL contact email address ( but personally addressing Longmuir). I have, of course, put my identifying details on the originals, but have removed them from this post.

    Dear Editor,
    I read with absolute disgust the reported statement by David Longmuir, CEO of the Scottish Football League in which he said that Ibrox club’s excellent League Cup record would be allowed to stand whatever the outcome of an independent investigation into whether the Ibrox team had fielded players who , allegedly, were paid sums of money that were, against the the Articles of Association, not disclosed to the SFA in the contracts relating to their terms and conditions of service.

    This contemptible statement is further proof that some elements of Scottish Football administration are bereft not only of principles, but of common savvy.

    There will be many members of the SFL who will be enraged at the arrogation of a decision-making power that is not in his personal gift.

    And, with the general public’s heightened awareness ( due to the coverage of the Olympic Games) of ‘fair play’ and the impartial application of sporting rules, Longmuir will be seen as being ready,in principle, to defend sporting cheatery..

    I urge his fellow-members in the SFL to call for his immediate resignation on two counts: first, because his message is utterly unacceptable in itself, and secondly, because by his crassly partisan statement he has probably done more to hasten the death of Scottish Football even than RFC(IA) has done.

  7. Carl31 says:

    Speculation on outcomes in the event that oldco are found guilty by the independent SPL commission …
    1. no action – deemed to be not practicable/ not in the best interests of the game.
    2. Action in line with the practicable options of the action deemed available to the SPL. RTC has posted on the nineteen listed sanctions/punishments and deemed two as the most likely – removal of titles and/or fines imposed.
    Its important to note the principle behind removal of awards/titles etc. The retrospective application of the rules occur to recognise that the achievements were not made whilst in compliance with the rules of the game (nor indeed within the spirit of the game – see an earlier post of mine). In effect, the titles never belonged to Rangers as they were not won in compliance with the rules, IMO.
    In this respect, its not totally accurate to describe removal/stripping of titles as taking place – the titles were never fairly won. Correcting the history books might be a better description.
    The titles never belonged to Rangers. Ben Johnson never won the 100m, it was Carl Lewis. He physically passed the line first, but he never fairly competed. Lance Armstrong never fairly competed when he used drugs to enhance his performance during that Tour de France that he finished first. Rangers were deemed at the time to have accumulated more points than opposing teams in those relevant seasons, but, again, they never fairly competed and the victories were never truly their’s.
    Again, as speculation on Rangers oldco’s guilt, I would like to see the history books corrected.
    Back to the possible outcomes…
    1. I would see this option possibly argued as an option by a few of the SPL members, or by Rangers oldco representatives , but an unlikely outcome. The eyes of Uefa/fifa are on the SPL and SFA in this regard. Doing nothing at all isn’t an option really. If Uefa deemed it necessary to take action due to the inaction of the nation association or league, it would make Scottish Football the embarrassment of Europe. Rangers newco – and, speculatively, whoever is due to represent Scotland in Europe – could face a ban. IMO this option won’t happen. Action will be taken.
    2. The practicable options explained as likely by RTC have been discussed on a number of fora. It is most notable, IMO that correcting the history books hardens support for Rangers Newco amongst their supporters but financially costs them nothing (given that nothing would occur except a straightforward correction of the history books and, in terms described above, the titles never belonged to Rangers oldco, this isn’t really a punishment). I would think this outcome the most likely.
    The other likely option is a fine, but it’s a blind spot to me whether Rangers newco have agreed to abide by any financial punishment meted out in regard to Rangers oldco.
    Qs: Is there a general SPL/SFA rule on how long a club has to comply with a financial penalty?
    Would it be the case that any fine imposed would need to be paid by the Rangers oldco Administrators/liquidators?

    More speculation…
    If another/other clubs during upcoming seasons of SPL play repeat any or all of the events that Rangers oldco did, i.e. pay inflated wages undeclared to SPL, field ineligible players, enter administration, go into liquidation, what consideration is being given to the precedent now being set re the punishments/actions to take?
    Chairmen of other SFA clubs will be watching closely at the precedent of running up huge debts to fund fielding ineligible players that could win them the SPL/achieve trophies (bear in mind this could be achieved without necessarily requiring any EBT arrangement) to then face a punishment which is essentially no punishment. Is the title/trophy this year worth a ten point deduction for administration next year? They would keep the title/trophy entitlement in their history but then face a period (relatively short – one/ two/three seasons?) of rebuilding. Aberdeen have gone for quite a long period trophyless – might the chairman consider it a price to pay?
    With this in mind, I cant see how the SPL can leave the Rangers titles intact considering the ‘correct the history books’ argument, and the ‘sets a precedent’ argument.

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