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Celtic’s QC admits Saracens case is ‘very important in Sports Law’

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Nick de Marco has described the Saracens case as ‘very important in Sports Law’.

Earlier this year Celtic brought in de Marco to defend Scott Brown when he was hit with a disrepute charge from the SFA for celebrating after the Glasgow derby win in March.

That charge was quickly taken apart with Brown found not guilty and avoiding any suspension.

This morning the Premiership Rugby handed out a £5.36m fine and 36 point deduction to Saracen’s for failing to disclose payments made to players over a three-year period. It’s understood that some of the clubs that lost out on titles and prize money are preparing actions for compensation.

Twice in the last decade Celtic have been awarded 3-0 victories by UEFA from matches in which their opponents used ineligible players. In 201o Sion had a number of players on the park who had been signed during a registration ban, four years later Legia Warsaw fielded a player who was suspended.

The Saracen’s case has a number of similarities with the EBT issue at the old Rangers club where players were being paid through dual contracts- one contract sent to the football authorities while offshore Trusts were set off to deliver ‘tax free’ earnings.

Despite over a decade of using ineligible players due to not declaring their full earnings an SPL enquiry by Bill Nimmo Smith ruled that the old club had to pay a fine of £250,000.

Not a single point was deducted, no action was ever taken by the SFA over ineligible players being used in Scottish Cup ties.

No member club has ever questioned the Nimmo Smith enquiry or the failure of the SFA to investigate the use of ineligible players in Scottish Cup ties for a decade.

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