Rangers vow to ‘fiercely re­sist’ new charges as SFA raise more fi­nan­cial is­sues

Belfast Telegraph - - SPORT - BY GAVIN McCAFFERTY

RANGERS have been ac­cused by the Scot­tish Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion of breach­ing rules over fi­nan­cial in­for­ma­tion which al­lowed the Ibrox team to play Eu­ro­pean foot­ball in 2011-12.

The club have been hit with two charges re­lat­ing to com­ply­ing with Uefa rules, ob­serv­ing the prin­ci­ples of sports­man­ship and “be­hav­ing towards the Scot­tish FA and other mem­bers with the ut­most good faith”.

Rangers say they will “fiercely re­sist” the charges and ac­cused the SFA of be­ing “in­tent on harm­ing the game”.

The is­sue cen­tres on when ‘oldco’ Rangers ac­cepted li­a­bil­ity for a £2.8mil­lion bill from Her Majesty’s Rev­enue and Cus­toms — the so-called ‘wee tax case’.

They re­ceived a Uefa li­cence be­fore los­ing at the first hur­dle in both the Cham­pi­ons and Europa Leagues and later go­ing into liq­ui­da­tion on the back of wider tax debts.

The SFA re­opened an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the con­tro­versy fol­low­ing ev­i­dence from for­mer direc­tors dur­ing a court case in which for­mer Rangers owner Craig Whyte was cleared of sev­eral crim­i­nal charges.

In a let­ter to mem­ber clubs in Septem­ber last year, the SFA wrote: “On the face of it, there seem to be con­tra­dic­tions be­tween those state­ments and writ­ten rep­re­sen­ta­tions made at the time. In 2011, Oldco in­di­cated there was an on­go­ing dis­pute with HMRC, but the ev­i­dence in the Craig Whyte trial sug­gests that Oldco knew by early 2011 that it had no de­fence to HMRC’s claim.”

It is un­der­stood the charges re­late to the “mon­i­tor­ing pe­riod” af­ter Rangers were granted a Uefa li­cence on March 31, 2011, and hinge on when the debt be­came over­due.

In re­sponse, a Rangers state­ment read: “Dis­ap­point­ingly, and pre­sum­ably rather than ac­cept that the in­ves­ti­ga­tion was a waste of all par­ties’ time and re­sources, the club has been served with a new re­vised no­tice of com­plaint re­lat­ing to the mon­i­tor­ing pe­riod sub­se­quent to the grant of the Uefa li­cence.

“This new no­tice of com­plaint ne­glects to prop­erly cap­ture the pro­vi­sions of prior agree­ments made be­tween the club and the SFA. The club will fiercely re­sist this re­con­structed no­tice of com­plaint.”

Rangers con­tin­ued play­ing af­ter be­ing con­signed to liq­ui­da­tion in the sum­mer of 2012 when the busi­ness, as­sets and SFA mem­ber­ship were trans­ferred to a new com­pany.

A pro­vi­sional hear­ing date has been set for June 26.

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