Rangers set to survive SPFL sanction over tax fraud case


July 25 – In a move that seems bound to antagonise fans of other clubs, Scotland’s Professional Football League (SPFL) is set to announce that no new action will be taken over the controversial Rangers tax case.

Earlier this month the Supreme Court ruled in favour of HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), Britain’s tax authority, in a long-running dispute that focussed on more than £47 million being paid to Rangers players, managers and directors between 2001 and 2010 in tax-free loans. HMRC argued successfully that the payments were earnings and should be taxable.

Instead of paying players a salary – which is subject to tax being paid – Rangers put millions of pounds into trusts known in the UK as Employee Benefit Trusts or EBTs which were then taken as tax-free loans.

Back in 2013 an SPL commission found that Rangers were in breach of player registration rules. That commission fined the club £250,000 but resisted calls for them to be stripped of titles won during the period concerned.

Discussions on the controversial topic took place hours after the election of a new SPFL board on Monday but reports suggest there will shortly be a statement confirming that no further action will be taken since Rangers  had gained no “unfair competitive advantage”.

Hearts owner and SPFL board member Ann Budge commented: “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. It’s a brand new board – for us to come out with something now would have been quite a big ask.”

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