Rangers' EBT ruling will be reviewed by SPFL but 'fresh sanctions unlikely'

By Chris McLaughlinBBC Sport
Ibrox Stadium, Glasgow
Rangers lost their recent tax case with HMRC

The Scottish Professional Football League is considering its position over Rangers' use of a controversial tax scheme, but BBC Scotland understands it is unlikely to impose fresh sanctions.

The league has been taking legal advice since the Supreme Court ruled against the club over its use of employee benefit trusts from 2001 to 2010.

The SPFL board discussed the matter today but no firm decision was reached.

They will make a statement on Wednesday defining their position.

A 2013 SPL commission found that Rangers were in breach of player registration rules during the EBT period.

That commission, headed by Lord Nimmo-Smith, fined the Ibrox club £250,000 but resisted calls for them to be stripped of titles won during that period.

However, following the Supreme Court ruling in favour of HM Revenue and Customs, Celtic said they expected the SPFL to review the 2013 decision that their city rivals "did not gain any unfair competitive advantage".

That judgement was made at a time when the scheme was deemed acceptable by a 2012 tax tribunal.

What they said

After Tuesday's annual general meeting of the SPFL, some club representatives spoke to the media.

Hibernian chairman Rod Petrie said: "They (SPFL) said they will review it. It's important they take the time and give it careful consideration.

Did Rangers gain a sporting advantage from the club's use of EBTs?

"I'm happy that they said they will take time to review it and make a statement.

"Everybody has to take the time they need to assess what's happened, draw their own conclusions and make their position clear.

"Football is football, the whistle goes and we're as competitive as we can be. It's in the best interests of the game that we have clarity going forward and if there are any issues that still need to be resolved, let's take the time and see what the SPFL has to say in the fullness of time.

"It consumed a lot of time in the Scottish FA and it consumed a lot of time in the SPL, and now the SPFL. They're reviewing everything that happened in the last few years so let them do that. In the meantime, the league season is about to kick off, there's games to look forward to and lots of positive things in the game, so it would be nice to have the focus on that and the excitement."

Hearts owner and SPFL board member Ann Budge said: "We've discussed it at some length, so you will get a full explanation on Wednesday.

"We've got to keep looking forward and doing what's best for Scottish football.

"We do want to look at all the facts thoroughly and it's a brand new board - for us to come out with something now would have been quite a big ask.

Mike Mulraney
Alloa Athletic chairman and SFA board member Mike Mulraney

"(There were) long discussions and there will be a statement on Wednesday afternoon.

"I doubt we can ever satisfy all of the fans all of the time, but the key thing is that it's being thoroughly looked at and there will be an honest assessment of what we feel."

Alloa Athletic chairman and SFA board member Mike Mulraney said: "My thoughts would be addressed by the SFA statement because as you know I sit on the SFA board and that would be my collective view.

"The SFA had to make a statement and they have done so. We take the best legal advice and that's where the statement came from."

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