EBT: Reaction within Scottish football to Rangers tax case ruling

Ibrox Stadium

The Supreme Court has ruled in favour of HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) in its fight with Rangers over the club's use of Employee Benefit Trusts (EBTs).

BBC Scotland has collated reaction from those within Scottish football to Wednesday's ruling.

Scottish Football Association

"The board of the Scottish FA notes the judgment of the Supreme Court and wishes to clarify the implications of this final legal decision from a football regulatory perspective.

"In light of the Inner House of the Court of Session decision, the board of the Scottish FA sought external senior counsel opinion to ensure a robust and independent consideration of all implications of today's judgement.

Hampden Stadium
The SFA said "no further disciplinary action" should be taken

"The board received written advice from Senior Counsel, amplified when the QC attended a full meeting of the board to discuss his conclusions.

"Specifically, Senior Counsel was asked to anticipate whether a determination in favour of HMRC, as announced today, could imply that there had been a breach of the Scottish FA's Disciplinary Rules as they applied at the time of the EBT payments.

"The clear opinion of Senior Counsel is that there is a very limited chance of the Scottish FA succeeding in relation to any complaint regarding this matter and that, even if successful, any sanctions available to a Judicial Panel would also be limited in their scope.

"Accordingly, having had time to consider the opinion from Senior Counsel, and having examined the judgment of the UK Supreme Court, the board has determined that no further disciplinary action should be taken by the Scottish FA at this time."

Former Rangers owner, Sir David Murray

"The decision runs counter to the legal advice which was consistently provided to Rangers Football Club, that on the basis of the law and legal precedent at the time, the contributions made to the trust were not earnings and should not be taxed as such.

"It should be emphasised that there have been no allegations made by HMRC or any of the courts that the club was involved in tax evasion, which is a criminal offence.

Sir David Murray
Sir David Murray said the decision ran "counter to the legal advice" provided to Rangers at the time

"The decision will be greeted with dismay by the ordinary creditors of the club, many of which are small businesses, who will now receive a much lower distribution in the liquidation of the club, which occurred during the ownership of Craig Whyte, than may otherwise have been the case."

Scottish Professional Football League

"The board of the SPFL notes today's judgement of the Supreme Court. We will now take time to examine the ‎judgement in detail and to consider any implications for the SPFL."


"We note today's decision by the Supreme Court. Celtic's position on this issue has been consistent - that this has always been a matter for the courts of law and also the Scottish football authorities, whose rules are intended to uphold sporting integrity.

"In 2013, we expressed surprise - shared by many observers and supporters of the game - over the findings of the SPL Commission that no competitive or sporting advantage had resulted. Today's decision only re-affirms that view.

"We are sure now that the footballing authorities in Scotland will wish to review this matter. Celtic awaits the outcome of their review."

Celtic finished behind Rangers in the league five times during the period in question
Celtic finished behind Rangers in the league five times during the period in question

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