Three months after referring the issue of the UEFA licence awarded to Rangers (IL) in 2011 to their Compliance Officer little has been heard about a fairly straightforward issue.
Craig Whyte’s trial in the summer established quite clearly that the so-called Wee Tax Bill for £2.8m was well known and overdue as the former billionaire negotiated his deal to buy a controlling share in the club from Dave Murray.
UEFA regulations require clubs that play in their competitions to be upto date with their tax bills, an initial check is made on 31 March with a follow up on 30 June.
This procedure is to ensure an element of fair play in their competitions and also to make sure that domestic clubs aren’t handicapped up against clubs that are banking on next season’s prize money to pay last season’s tax bills.
Updating the situation on etims Brogan, Rogan, Trevino explained: “The current position is that everyone is waiting on the review of the UEFA Licence situation (application, review of application, award of licence, submission to UEFA, compliance and review of licence conditions and subsequent review of information supporting compliance and the handling of that info by The SFA and so on) by Mr McGlennan the compliance officer.
“In the past couple of weeks, the compliance officer has been contacted to ensure that, when deliberating over this issue, he has full access not only to the information provided by the SFA from within their files, which should include all correspondence from RFC PLC (In Liquidation), Duff & Phelps and of course Celtic PLC, but also to the correspondence between the Res 12 solicitors and the SFA Corporate Compliance officer and the same solicitor and UEFA.
“As we understand it, no proper review is possible without looking at all of this information and correspondence. Further, upon reviewing the information in detail, it is very hard to conclude that the Chief Executive of the SFA has given several different explanations as to when, how, and why the licence was granted and why the Rangers of the time remained compliant with UEFA regulations at different dates.
Mr Regan has, on various occasions, explained that:
1. The Licence was granted as at 31st March 2011 on the basis that the wee tax bill was only a provisional debt as at that date.
2. The licence was granted as at 31st March 2011 on the basis that there was a potential tax bill but not was not yet “due” in terms of the Inland Revenue regulations.
3. The Licence was granted as at 31st March 2011 on the basis that there was a tax bill due as at that date but that it was not overdue in terms of the UEFA regulations.
4. The licence was granted as at 31st March 2011 on the basis that there was a tax bill due as at that date but that RFC PLC (In Liquidation) had secured an agreement with HMRC that payment of the debt would be postponed and paid over an agreed period of time. It is essential in terms of UEFA legislation that any such agreement is in writing.
5. That the licence was granted as at 31st March 2011 on the basis that there was a Tax bill due as at that date but the tax bill concerned was the subject of an appeal to the first tier tribunal by RFC PLC (In liquidation) which appeal renders the bill as not technically due as at the date of granting.
It seems very clear that Rangers (IL) were awarded a place in the Champions League qualifiers that wasn’t permitted.
While they will no doubt claim that lessons have been learned and new processes put in place it’s likely that Celtic will require more than that after missing out on a potential £20m windfall- that would also have given every SPL club a bonus payout.
With Andrew Dickson, Paul Murray, Dave King and Alastair Johnston all back involved in Scottish football it would seem that 10 year bans should be the minimum punishment for directors and office holders who effectively cheated every club in Scottish football.