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Jim Spence hits out

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Jim Spence has claimed that many Scottish football fans are convinced that the game is fixed.

The former BBC Scotland reporter is developing a reputation in his Courier column for speaking out about the issues that the state broadcaster, despite it’s vast resources, won’t go near.

Last Saturday he commented on the We Are The People mentality at Ibrox with today’s column looking at sporting cheating.

Leading off with the Chris Froome cycling scandal he turned closer to home explaining: “In football we’ve seen with Rangers how damaging the breaking of rules can be to the reputation of the game.

There, the Ibrox side broke the rules and concealed from the football and tax authorities, Employee Benefit Trust, side letters, indicating the true financial nature of players’ contracts, revealing that they’d signed players who were otherwise unaffordable.

That gave them an unfair advantage over other clubs who obeyed the rules and resulted in damage to the integrity of Scottish football, with many fans now convinced that the game here was fixed.”

According to the rules of both the SFA and SPL details of all payments to players must be registered with the football authorities.

For over a decade Rangers (IL) enticed players, such as Alex Rae, Steven Thompson, Barry Ferguson, Billy Dodds and Neil McCann to the club by providing them with massive payments into EBT accounts.

Ferguson returned to Rangers (IL) in 2005 from Blackburn on a contract of less than £10,000 per week, much less than his previous Ibrox deal, yet no one at the SFA or SPL asked any questions about the matter.

Effectively the players weren’t eligible to play because of the undisclosed payments but while other clubs have had 3-0 defeats awarded, points deducted or been removed from cup competitions no punishment was given to the Ibrox club.

Covering the issue earlier this season SFA Chief Executive Stewart Regan claimed that there was no point raking over old coals.

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