Scottish Football: An Honest Game, Honestly Governed?

ByTrisidium

Scottish Football: An Honest Game, Honestly Governed?

A Guest Blog by Auldheid for TSFM

Honesty requires both transparency and accountability. In pursuit of honest, transparent and accountable governance of Scottish football, and only that objective, the following letter, with attachments, has been sent to SPFL lawyers, CEO and SPFL Board Members.

An honest game free from deception is what football supporters of all clubs want. It is the action the letter and attachments prompt that will tell us if there is any intention of providing it.

It is a response on behalf of readers here on TSFM, but the sentiment which underpins it is almost universally held amongst fans of all clubs.  Importantly it is a response directly to all clubs, especially those with a SPFL Board member, that will make the clubs and the football authorities aware just how seriously supporters take the restoration of trust in an honest game, honestly governed.

The annexes to the letter contain information which may be published at a later date. We thought it appropriate to first await any response from any of the recipients.

Please also draw this to the attention of friends who are not internet using supporters and love their football and their club.

Auldheid

__________________________________________________________________

Harper MacLeod
The Ca’d’oro
45 Gordon Street
Glasgow
G1 3PE
19 Feb 2014
Copy sent to SPFL CEO and Board Members *
Dear Mr McKenzie
We the contributors to The Scottish Football Monitoring web site write to you in your capacity as the legal adviser employed by Harper MacLeod to assist the Scottish Premier League (now the Scottish Professional Football League) to gather evidence and investigate the matter of incorrect player registrations involving concealed side letters and employee benefit trusts as defined in the eventual Lord Nimmo Smith Commission.
We note from the then SPL announcement that set up an enquiry that the initial date range to be covered was from the inception of the SPL in July 1998, but that was changed to 23 November 2000 because, according to our understanding, that is the date of the first side letter supplied by Rangers Administrators Duff and Phelps. It is also our understanding that the SPL asked for all documentation relating to side letters as well as the letters themselves.
It is a matter of public record that Rangers Administrators failed to supply the SPL all relevant documentation. Indeed the seriousness of not complying with SPL requests was the subject of an admonition of Rangers/Duff and Phelps from Lord Nimmo Smith under Issue 4 of his Commission.
Quite how serious that failure to comply or concealment was in terms of misleading the Commission and so Lord Nimmo Smith can now be assessed from the information contained at Annexes 1 to 10 attached.
We think that as legal advisers to the SPL (now the SPFL) you have a responsibility to make them aware that their Commission was misled by the concealment of documents starting on 3 September 1999, and signed by current SFA President Campbell Ogilvie, whose silence on the ebt matters referred to in the attached annexes* is questionable at the very least.
This letter but not attachments is being posted on The Scottish Football Monitor web site as this is matter for all of Scottish football and support for the issue being pursued to establish the truth can be gauged by responses from supporters from all Scottish clubs once the letter has been published there.
A copy of this letter with Annexes has also been sent to the SPFL CEO and members of the SPFL Board.
Acknowledgement of receipt and reply can be sent by e mail to:
(Address supplied)
Yours in sport

On behalf of The Scottish Football Monitor contributors and readers. http://www.tsfm.org.uk/

Addressees copied in
Neil Doncaster CEO
The Scottish Professional Football League
Hampden Park
Glasgow G42 9DE

Eric Riley (Celtic),
The Celtic Football Club
Celtic Park
Glasgow G40 3RE

Stephen Thompson (Dundee United),
Tannadice Park,
Tannadice Street,
Dundee, DD3 7JW

Duncan Fraser (Aberdeen);
Aberdeen Football Club plc
Pittodrie Stadium
Pittodrie Street
Aberdeen AB24 5QH

Les Gray (Hamilton),
Hamilton Academical FC
New Douglas Park
Hamilton
ML3 0FT

Mike Mulraney (Alloa)
Alloa Athletic FC
Clackmannan Road
Recreation Park
Alloa FK10 1RY

Bill Darroch (Stenhousemuir).
Stenhousemuir F.C.
Ochilview Park
Gladstone Road
Stenhousemuir
Falkirk
FK5 4QL

About the author

Trisidium administrator

Trisidium is a Dunblane businessman with a keen interest in Scottish Football. He is a Celtic fan, although the demands of modern-day parenting have seen him less at games and more as a taxi service for his kids.

3,234 Comments so far

easyJamboPosted on8:28 pm - Mar 7, 2014


Castofthousands says: March 7, 2014 at 8:06 pm
———————————-
It’s five of the Murray group companies that are involved. (from the court lists)
The former Rangers Football Club Plc (now RFC 2012 – in liquidation)
Murray Group Holdings Ltd
Murray Group Management Ltd
GM Mining Ltd
Premier Property Group Ltd

Murray Group are underwriting the costs for all companies including RFC 2012 (IL)

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parttimearabPosted on8:42 pm - Mar 7, 2014


neepheid says:
March 7, 2014 at 7:53 pm
http://sport.stv.tv/football/clubs/rangers/266490-rangers-shareholder-loan-deal-to-be-repaid-using-season-ticket-money/
Interesting take on the Laxey/Easdale loans.
———————————————-
A bit of a mix of …good news
” STV understands the joint loan facility has not yet been drawn upon by the club”
…..bad news…
“both facilities shall be repaid either from “the sale of season ticket monies for the 2014/15 season” or “a placing or rights issue or other form of debt or equity ”
…..and an unerring ability to mismanage awkward news stories…
“After being contacted by STV, Rangers appeared to contradict the document.”……
….c’mon Jack…get a grip…. 🙂

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Angus1983Posted on8:48 pm - Mar 7, 2014


Alan Price says:
March 7, 2014 at 1:34 pm

This does not make any difference to the argument that the payments to players were not loans.
All that’s happened is that Rangers used a middle man to pay the ebts to players.
——
Of course they weren’t loans. You know that, I know that, every player who had an EBT knew that. It was a gigantic fiddle.

However, it is [i]legally[/i] arguable that they were loans. Interpretation of what constitutes a loan is everything.

I’m telling you – you think you have something all tied up, no loose ends, watertight. Then a lawyer comes along. A case can come down to the interpretation of one word that you used in a statement. A word you didn’t think too much of at the time. You thought you expressed yourself quite well, actually. But that one word knackers your case.

I speak from experience of using that wrong word. 🙂

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Palacio67Posted on8:56 pm - Mar 7, 2014


Supporters Direct Europe believe we the paying customer should have a massive say in the running of our game, If only the footballing authorities in Scotland felt the same way.

http://www.supporters-direct.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/SDEurope_Position-Paper_2012_Summary.pdf

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wottpiPosted on9:03 pm - Mar 7, 2014


RyanGosling says:
March 7, 2014 at 7:28 pm

Ryan hear what you say re the legality issue. However if it was such a sure thing then why hide the agreements from the football authorities and not hand over relevant papers to HMRC and others when requested. SDM and the MG knew they were on dodgy ground from day one.
Surely a club whose principles are built on the foundations of honesty and dignity wouldn’t get involved is such a dubious scheme?
The inference I made earlier was that whether such things are determined to be legal or not sometimes comes down to the quality of your legal representation as opposed to the spirit of the law and the aims and objectives of those who drew the laws up in the first place.
Maybe it is just me but my life experience tells me that it is the morally corrupt who tend to seek out and look to exploit legal loopholes, while most responsible citizens and organisations try and work within the spirit of the law.

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Bryce CurdyPosted on9:05 pm - Mar 7, 2014


ECOBHOY 8:10 pm Just when I thought we had kissed and made up (not literally, heaven forbid) I go and get your name wrong lol. It won’t happen again, unless I’m in the huff.

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RyanGoslingPosted on9:14 pm - Mar 7, 2014


Wottpi that is why I posted what I did earlier, because the legal and moral can easily be wrapped up into one when discussing things on forums such as this, when unfortunately in reality the two can become entirely unrelated beasts. Because as you correctly say, when a law is written there is always some unscrupulous guy with a bright lawyer who wriggles his way through to do what he wants.

My understanding regarding the rangers EBT was that in principal, to be compliant with football regulations regarding registrations the EBT would by nature have to breach the tax code. Likewise, to be a properly administered EBT scheme would by nature fall foul of the football registration regulations. There must be a fine line where you can legally comply with both, which is to my mind what all these people are arguing over through this whole case. Not that such a fine line is by any means a decent thing to do, as it means bending the rules to breaking point on both sides.

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Resin_lab_dogPosted on9:17 pm - Mar 7, 2014


RyanGosling says:
March 7, 2014 at 7:28 pm

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20

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Lots of chatter tonight discussing the purposes of the EBT scheme etc and how these payments were obviously liable for tax. I think an important point to remember in that regard is that the scheme was set up to avoid tax, which is perfectly legal. Evading tax is not, which is what Rangers are being charged with. The scheme was set up to avoid tax on payments which otherwise would have had a tax liability. Therefore the whole looks like a duck, quacks like a duck thing is kind of irrelevant. There’s no dispute that such payments would normally incur tax, and there’s no question that rangers took steps to avoid paying that tax. The only question being decided at the UTT is whether rangers dodged the tax legally or illegally.
_______________________________

Adultery is legal.
Its still cheating.

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Bryce CurdyPosted on9:20 pm - Mar 7, 2014


EC(H)OBHOY – more seriously, I think I’m with you. Earlier I questioned whether the LNS Commission was truly adversarial. The desired outcome from a Rangers & Sevco perspective was obvious, but I think we’re agreed that we believe the SPL, for whatever reason, may not have wished Rangers to be found to have broken all the regulations in question and face the consequential sanctions.

And may I ask is your viewpoint entirely supposition, or do you know a wee bit more than you’re saying?

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wottpiPosted on9:27 pm - Mar 7, 2014


RyanGosling says:
March 7, 2014 at 9:14 pm

…and we both agree the folk who end up taking the cash legally are the lawyers 🙂

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wottpiPosted on9:31 pm - Mar 7, 2014


Anyone got a summary of anything of interest Green said on Sky or was it just more BS?

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Palacio67Posted on9:38 pm - Mar 7, 2014


wottpi says:
March 7, 2014 at 9:31 pm
0 0 Rate This

Anyone got a summary of anything of interest Green said on Sky or was it just more BS?
=====================
http://www1.skysports.com/watch/video/sports/football/9201457/green-i-was-driven-out

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CastofthousandsPosted on9:49 pm - Mar 7, 2014


RyanGosling says:
March 7, 2014 at 9:14 pm

“to be compliant with football regulations regarding registrations the EBT would by nature have to breach the tax code.”
———————————
I don’t think that’s the correct interpretation.

The scenario is that RFC(IL) wished to use tax efficient methods to remunerate their players.

All details of a players remuneration have to be registered for them to be eligible to play.

As RFC(IL) were concerned about the legitimacy of their tax efficient scheme, they chose not to register its details as part of player remuneration.

If they knew the scheme was likely to cross any HMRC hurdles they would have simply registered the details along with the rest of the players remuneration arrangements.

However, since they could not be sure the scheme would not be later challenged, they chose not to register such details since to do so would have given HMRC more ammunition to claim that the loans were not real loans but merely remuneration.

Players agents were concerned also that the scheme may fall through at some point so requested assurances from RFC(IL) that the loan payments were effectively guaranteed. This was done by issuing side letters providing such a guarantee.

As these side letters were effectively contractual, details should have been registered as part of the players remuneration. However this did not happen.

For the layman, there is little doubt that substantial payments were made to players that were never registered.

It may transpire that following HMRC’s final appeal that the scheme is found to be legal. If RFC(IL) had a crystal ball back in 1999 and foresaw such an outcome then they could have registered the details in the players contracts and slept easy at night. However they obviously were not confident in such an outcome, nor can they be even now.

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RyanGoslingPosted on9:54 pm - Mar 7, 2014


Castofthousands

“All details of a players remuneration have to be registered for them to be eligible to play.”

That’s what I was getting at. To be eligible to play all payments would have to be registered, thus making them contractual by nature and falling foul of HMRC rules. Or, to comply with HMRC rules they would have to be unregistered to prove that they were discretionary, i.e. non-contractual. I may well be wrong and am happy to be proved so, I just remember thinking it through prior to the FTT verdict and that was the conclusion I came to.

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John ClarkPosted on10:17 pm - Mar 7, 2014


I’ve just put on some of Thursday’s proceedings at the UTTT. Now it’s Skype Australia time.
It was a delight to see the other TSFM guys (only guys, I’m afraid) , and I think there was a kind of feeling that there is room for some optimism. The ‘penalty in the last few seconds of normal time has been missed, but there’s 5 minutes of stoppage time to get through’ kind of optimism!

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nowoldandgrumpyPosted on10:25 pm - Mar 7, 2014


Mr Green & White ‏@PJBHoops 9m
OK Easy way to say this Sevco loan document in full yes in full signed also ahem http://freepdfhosting.com/3474a90828.pdf

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jean7brodiePosted on10:26 pm - Mar 7, 2014


Thanks JC for all you’ve done re the UTT, it has been awesome 😀 I am sorry that I couldn’t get through to Edinburgh again but work duties and babysitting have taken over.

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Cluster OnePosted on10:28 pm - Mar 7, 2014


john clarke says: optimism! is my middle name.
ps keep up the good work.
SFM even got a mention on SSB 🙂

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SmugasPosted on11:29 pm - Mar 7, 2014


So both Laxey and Easdale junior have a ranked (no details) security over both properties. Ah, the level of mutual trust is just flowing out of that place, you can almost reach out and touch it!

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AuldheidPosted on11:42 pm - Mar 7, 2014


john clarke says:

March 7, 2014 at 10:17 pm

Bloody amazing stuff JC.

Now somebody tell us what it means 😀

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Alan PricePosted on11:46 pm - Mar 7, 2014


Angus1983 says:
March 7, 2014 at 8:48 pm

Of course they weren’t loans. You know that, I know that, every player who had an EBT knew that. It was a gigantic fiddle.

I’m telling you – you think you have something all tied up, no loose ends, watertight.

Then a lawyer comes along.

A case can come down to the interpretation of one word that you used in a statement.
A word you didn’t think too much of at the time.

You thought you expressed yourself quite well, actually
But that one word knackers your case.

I speak from experience of using that wrong word. :
_________________________________________

What is a loan?

An amount of money borrowed, which is expected to be repaid.

In this case it was made clear in side letters that these payments need never be repaid, or the players would never have agreed to the scheme as they may have had to fork out income tax and N.I. at a later stage. Hence the reason for the side letters in the first place.

As you say, most would recognise that to be the case.

So why should a flight of fancy defence be allowed to obfuscate what everyone, Lord Doherty included I’m sure, knows happened.

It is interesting, even entertaining, to hear learned Q.C.’s rape the English language to try and win a case for their clients, but our admiration for their skills should not deflect a jury or a judge from deciding which side has put the more reasonable case, which case is the more likely to be accurate.

Oratory should play little part.

Hence my belief that the law is, or can be, an ass.

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tomtomPosted on12:28 am - Mar 8, 2014


Smugas says:
March 7, 2014 at 11:29 pm
4 0 Rate This

So both Laxey and Easdale junior have a ranked (no details) security over both properties. Ah, the level of mutual trust is just flowing out of that place, you can almost reach out and touch it!
=======================================
Sandy is Easdale Senior. He truly is Delboy to James’s Rodney (or should that be Dave)

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CastofthousandsPosted on12:32 am - Mar 8, 2014


Auldheid says:
March 7, 2014 at 11:42 pm

“Now somebody tell us what it means”
———————————–
It means that the law can’t make it’s decisions in discrete privacy. There is enough information there that if someone of a legal bent wished to superficially review proceedings they would have a fair bit to chew on. It means that the folk involved in deciding the case might be called to account at some point and if they have erred, it may be possible to illustrate as much. Having a bunch of guys sitting up the back scribbling notes made it clear to everyone in the room that they themselves were in the court of public opinion.

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ianagainPosted on12:34 am - Mar 8, 2014


JC
Another amazing amount of detail.
Thank you.

Jean
Don’t apologise for baby sitting, you’ve done a wee bit of it in the last week at the court on behalf of all on TSFM.

Thanks to all who attended.

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Resin_lab_dogPosted on12:44 am - Mar 8, 2014


ianagain says:
March 8, 2014 at 12:34 am

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0

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JC
Another amazing amount of detail.
Thank you.

Jean
Don’t apologise for baby sitting, you’ve done a wee bit of it in the last week at the court on behalf of all on TSFM.

Thanks to all who attended.

_________________________________

Q. Any TRFC/RFC(IL) fans in evidence throughout the UTT proceedings?
Would have thought some might take an interest in proceedings so they could come to a considered view on the level of taint that should or should not attach to the history they claim to have TUPED over.

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ianagainPosted on12:46 am - Mar 8, 2014


Resin
I was not there.
You need to ask JC and the others

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ianagainPosted on12:50 am - Mar 8, 2014


Have we a Charlotte ish outbreak again, where did this originate?
nowoldandgrumpy says:

March 7, 2014 at 10:25 pm

Mr Green & White ‏@PJBHoops 9m
OK Easy way to say this Sevco loan document in full yes in full signed also ahem http://freepdfhosting.com/3474a90828.pdf

View Comment

Resin_lab_dogPosted on12:56 am - Mar 8, 2014


Smugas says:
March 7, 2014 at 11:29 pm

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0

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So both Laxey and Easdale junior have a ranked (no details) security over both properties. Ah, the level of mutual trust is just flowing out of that place, you can almost reach out and touch it!

______________________________________________

To be fair to our Ibrox brethren, a security charge over the assets is NOT evidence of a debt.
It is possible that the charge is in place but no cash has been advanced so no debt exists in which case there would be no claim on the assets in the event of insolvency. The charge/ security ranks the debt, BUT the debt still has to exist for the charge to have any meaning.
The charge could have been placed as a precursor to the loan, and left in place in case needed subsequently.

I think of my own example when I paid my mortgage off 3 years ago.
The security charge that Barclays bank placed over my property relating to the mortgage is still in place on the Sasines register.
I could not sell or remortgage without having this charge removed. The evident lack of debt would faciliate this readily.
However, because I no longer have a mortgage and don’t owe Barclays any money, they could never successfully use this charge to gain possession of my assets, since it is impossible for me to default on a non existant debt.

But if I sell, I will have to pay asolicitor to have it removed (as in any case where e.g changing mortgage provider or selling with a mortgage in place) . In practice, the excistence of the charge proves that a lender was willing to loan against the property in the past, so it could simplify things for anyone wanting to get a mortgage on the property subsequently.

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ianagainPosted on12:58 am - Mar 8, 2014


tomtom says:

March 8, 2014 at 12:28 am

0

0

Rate This

Smugas says:
March 7, 2014 at 11:29 pm
4 0 Rate This

So both Laxey and Easdale junior have a ranked (no details) security over both properties. Ah, the level of mutual trust is just flowing out of that place, you can almost reach out and touch it!
=======================================
Sandy is Easdale Senior. He truly is Delboy to James’s Rodney (or should that be Dave)
====================================================================
Erm no both not actually such jolly type chaps as DK will find (again)

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bogsdolloxPosted on1:28 am - Mar 8, 2014


Castofthousands says:
March 8, 2014 at 12:32 am
Auldheid says:
March 7, 2014 at 11:42 pm

“Now somebody tell us what it means”
———————————–
It means that the law can’t make it’s decisions in discrete privacy. There is enough information there that if someone of a legal bent wished to superficially review proceedings they would have a fair bit to chew on. It means that the folk involved in deciding the case might be called to account at some point and if they have erred, it may be possible to illustrate as much. Having a bunch of guys sitting up the back scribbling notes made it clear to everyone in the room that they themselves were in the court of public opinion.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
And that must be a good thing – everything in the open

I bet Thornhill never faced a situation like it in his life. As good as he is. He will lose this time.

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CampbellsmoneyPosted on2:16 am - Mar 8, 2014


EasyJambo – thanks for the payment dates. Clearly payments went from Oldco within 5 years prior to the insolvency. So i need to look at the “connected” party defintion. BDO will be all over this.

But we live in interesting times.

Socrates says (among other things).

When someone tells you something ask(among other things):-

Why me?
Why now?
Why this person telling me?
So why today (after months of silence) does Mr Green appear with a story? What purpose does that story serve?

Why now? What has happened that requires that intervention now?

Something has happened. Dave King’s intervention would be my bet.

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JLeeHookerPosted on7:22 am - Mar 8, 2014


Many thanks to john clarke and others for attending the UTT on our behalf and for the very informative updates.

Where were the succulent Lamb crowd?

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andygraham.66Posted on8:29 am - Mar 8, 2014


http://www.scotsman.com/sport/football/spfl/glenn-gibbons-big-hitters-see-rangers-as-small-fry-1-3333239?utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed

A club with turnover the equivalent of three months of takings at a medium sized Asda.

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Flocculent ApoideaPosted on9:45 am - Mar 8, 2014


Very impressed by Mr Clarke’s reporting from the UTTT. Can anyone who has seen him in action, as it were, confirm he’s actually writing down verbatim? I suspect he may be doing a “Craigy” whilst scribbling for effect. Can’t say I blame him. If I were to sit through hours of that, I’d probably have to be ‘wired’ as well. 😆

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easyJamboPosted on10:10 am - Mar 8, 2014


Flocculent Apoidea says: March 8, 2014 at 9:45 am
Very impressed by Mr Clarke’s reporting from the UTTT. Can anyone who has seen him in action, as it were, confirm he’s actually writing down verbatim? I suspect he may be doing a “Craigy” whilst scribbling for effect. Can’t say I blame him. If I were to sit through hours of that, I’d probably have to be ‘wired’ as well. 😆
=====================================
JC’s scribblings are very close to verbatim. The QCs actually speak relatively slowly in order that Lord Doherty can take close to verbatim notes himself. It is important that he does so as the use and meaning of a single word can and does affect the legal effect or interpretation of a statement.

The only time that the QCs speak at normal speed is when they are quoting from a document which is available to all parties (e.g. a legal case reference, transcript, correspondence etc.). It is impossible to record the content of these documents, so you are limited to highlighting anything you consider to be important.

As Auldheid has already mentioned, there is probably merit in producing a summary of proceedings for those that don’t understand the legal speak or don’t have a knowledge of the substance of the case law being quoted. e.g. Aberdeen Asset Management – similar scheme, but involved the employee’s receiving shares rather than loans – HMRC won. Sempra – similar scheme, involving loans – HMRC lost.

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Sugar DaddyPosted on10:19 am - Mar 8, 2014


So that Laxey/Easdale loan, that’s not yet been taken up, but had to be available within 24 hrs, a condition that other interested lenders couldn’t meet & hence were not considered, is to be repaid by next season’s ST revenue unless of course someone organises a rights issue in the next couple of months.

Ok. So what happened to the “it’ll be turned to shares so no cash comes out of TRFC” spin? More lamb.

Have the TRFC fans twigged that by pooling their season ticket money “to be released on a game by game basis” that they won’t actually get a season ticket & someone is going to have to organise buying individual tickets if they want to watch a game? How much will that cost to set up and administer & who’s paying?

So TRFC’s revenue for 14/15 is likely to be reduced by around 20% if the L/E loan is used to get them through 13/14 plus there is a threat that a significant portion of the rest will be switched to walk up sales & therefore not guaranteed. How on earth are they going to make it through 14/15 without cost reductions to offset these issues?

As for the UTT I see Lord D is testing the MG counsel on the practical use of the loan money and appears unconvinced that the existence of the possibility of repayment means they genuinely were loans. Interesting.

Quite a week.

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twopandaPosted on10:29 am - Mar 8, 2014


Green pops up ‘Out of the Blue’ [so to speak]
.
“Outspoken” we`re told
.
Planted nonsense
.
He could speak about recent sevco5088 forms [that he signed recently] or speak about the PM ‘independent inquiry’ [that cost a few bob] with alleged connections with CW – or outspeak about the `mystery investors` – or outspeak about the 5-way clandestine stitch-ups he was party to – or his proxy votes that no-one seems clear about – or iamrangers stuff – or all these unseemly many board resignations over the past 18 months – etc etc etc…………………………
.
But no – some back page planted back-page verbiage in the DR will do – AND no explicable timing given why so and why now
.
Blimey 😉

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Alan PricePosted on10:56 am - Mar 8, 2014


What did Campbell Ogilvie know?

An interesting read.

http://scotfans4change.wordpress.com/2014/03/04/what-did-ogilvie-know/

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easyJamboPosted on10:58 am - Mar 8, 2014


I suspect that the key to the decision in the UTTT case will be the phrase “Unreservedly at the disposal of the employee”

What does it mean?

Previous legal cases, e.g. Sempra, have sought to define this in a fairly narrow way as “Cash” in hand or amounts in a bank account where there in ease of access to the funds and no obligations or securities attached to the cash, hence “Unreservedly at the disposal of the employee”

The Aberdeen Asset Management case widened that definition to include “shares”. The reasoning behind that decision being that the employee had freedom of access to the shares and to be able to sell them as and when he saw fit. The Judge made an analogy to the employee having the key to a money box. (this was in essence, the precedent used to determine the wee tax case).

In terms of the Rangers case the FTTT majority came down on the side of a narrow interpretation of “Unreservedly at the disposal of the employee”, i.e. because the employees received loans, these were only paid out at the discretion of the trustees and that there was an obligation to pay them back, hence the funds were not “Unreservedly at the disposal of the employee”

The essence of the Murray Group position in the UTTT was that the majority’s interpretation was correct in all matters.

HMRC would like to either extend the definition of “Unreservedly at the disposal of the employee” to include “Loans”, or to at least include Loan schemes similar to this one. HMRC’s arguments were that there was no discretion exercised by the trustees (all loans requested were granted, including one to a player who had been sequestrated) and that there was no expectation of the employees paying the loans back. Hence the funds were “Unreservedly at the disposal of the employee”

HMRC did make arguments about various other related matters and in particular the credibility of the evidence given by a couple of the key witnesses, the trustee and the Murray tax expert.

Lord Doherty has a dilemma. He could take a high risk path by accepting the HMRC appeal and make a name for himself by determining a wider definition for “Unreservedly at the disposal of the employee”, that will be quoted in many future cases as precedent. Alternatively he may take a low risk option by rejecting the appeal entirely (using Sempra) or refer the case back to another FTT to reconsider the weight of various parts of the evidence and precedents such as Aberdeen.

If he chooses the take the higher risk strategy, he could find the decision reversed by a higher court. His judgement would be questioned and potentially his future career impacted. However if he has confidence to accept the appeal and set precedent, which is not reversed on appeal to a higher court, it could be the making of his career.

Lord Doherty is not an “expert” in tax law, so I have the feeling that he won’t take the high risk decision himself.

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Alan PricePosted on11:06 am - Mar 8, 2014


john clarke says:
March 7, 2014 at 10:17 pm

I’ve just put on some of Thursday’s proceedings at the UTTT. Now it’s Skype Australia time.
____________________

Don’t know how you manage to listen, write and interpret all at the same time.

At least some of the male population can multi-task!

I’d like to add my thanks to all the others for keeping us all up to date.

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wildwoodPosted on11:22 am - Mar 8, 2014


If you were a business on the verge of liquidation why would you not make any attempt to pursue repayment of loans you had made to wealthy individuals?

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justshateredPosted on11:35 am - Mar 8, 2014


My my so the Loans from Laxey and Easdale will be paid from season ticket money according to at least one paper today. Shock horror.
Did they think the pixies were going to come in and pay it back!!!

The club, sorry company, says it will come from a wider pool of revenue.
So from merchandising or catering but that is alright then in the eyes of the board.
Whatever way they attempt to say it basically the club, sorry company, will be £1.5M down by this time next season.
Still it is nice to see that fantasy economics TUPED over as well.

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BigGavPosted on11:37 am - Mar 8, 2014


wildwood says:
March 8, 2014 at 11:22 am

If you were a business on the verge of liquidation why would you not make any attempt to pursue repayment of loans you had made to wealthy individuals?
—————-

We’ve been over this several times – the loans were not made by RFC(about to go IL).
They were made by a trust, a separate legal entity.
RFC made non-recoverable payments to that trust.

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SmugasPosted on12:22 pm - Mar 8, 2014


Payments that ordinarily would have carried an 11% employers national insurance liability just for starters. So still no cash impact on rangers (about to go into liquidation) since the 11% was forwarded to the trust. But already we’ve got tax avoidance AND RFC paying players 11% more than any other club could. Notice also that loans haven’t figured, yet!

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EstebanPosted on12:38 pm - Mar 8, 2014


Smugas says:
March 8, 2014 at 12:22 pm

Exactly. Legalese, shmeegalese. No sporting advantage my bahookey. They put a team on the park they could not afford. For years. They cheated.

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thegreencitizenPosted on12:50 pm - Mar 8, 2014


A big thanks to JC, J7B, EJ, COT and HW for the updates on the UTT, it’s fascinating reading the presentations and I echo the sentiment that justice shouldn’t be trumped by skilled oration.

One thing that has bothered me since the early days of RTC has been the discussion, which appears central to the UTT appeal too, as to whether the payments can be construed as emoluments, ie earnings, or whether they are loans, a great deal of faith being placed in the expectation that the sums will be repaid, albeit in another lifetime or two. What I can’t get my head around is why this points even being considered. If I ask my employer, or indeed my employer advises me, to pay my entire salary directly to “Bob’s Wonga Loans” instead of to me, and Bob subsequently loans me the entirety of my salary on a long term loan, will said salary be exempt from tax? The point I am making is that surely the emoluments occur at the moment the payment leaves the employer. The fact that they wind their way to a trust and become the subject of bizarre loan arrangements, get paid to Harry’s dog or get buried in the back yard is surely neither here nor there. Can someone (campbellsmoney?) help me get my head round why this isn’t the case?

Thanks

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BroadswordcallingdannybhoyPosted on12:50 pm - Mar 8, 2014


Been reading the critiques of LNS etc.
I’ve also been marveling at the reporting of the UTT – JC, with those initials it’s no surprise that your reporting is divine 😉

Anyhoo, it seems that the lawyers presenting their arguments to the judge have to be able to justify their particular stance, by for example citing case law etc.

It seems that the judge is not averse to grilling them further if he feels the need.

When Dandy Bryson advanced his incredible take on events – why was he not similarly pressed? Perhaps LNS was too shy.

I’ve said before that LNS was a pantomime; a forensic veneer to a sham of a squirrel of a whitewash.

The SFA had no problem dispensing drumhead justice to minor registration errors committed by others past, why were Rangers afforded the luxury of a Judicial Enquiry?

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upthehoopsPosted on12:54 pm - Mar 8, 2014


Aberdeen confirm their 40,000 ticket allocation for the League Cup Final now sold out – great stuff.

Perhaps getting ahead a wee bit given both Aberdeen and Rangers have still to play quarter final ties, but given the ticket sales for the LC final, should the clubs meet in the semi or the final, it might not seem quite like the ‘home’ tie Ally and his media pals keep talking about.

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Matty RothPosted on1:01 pm - Mar 8, 2014


BigGav says:
March 8, 2014 at 11:37 am
7 0 Rate This

wildwood says:
March 8, 2014 at 11:22 am

If you were a business on the verge of liquidation why would you not make any attempt to pursue repayment of loans you had made to wealthy individuals?
—————-

We’ve been over this several times – the loans were not made by RFC(about to go IL).
They were made by a trust, a separate legal entity.
RFC made non-recoverable payments to that trust.

========================

Of course you are correct in what you say BigGav, but I can see why people still continue to ask this question. It just doesn’t sit right that a company in such significant debt for the last few years of it life had put or kept putting some of its own cash reserves effectively out of its own reach.

How do the Rangers debt levels fit chronologically alongside the payments into EBT?
Should they have stopped making payments into the Trust scheme in years they made huge losses and instead asked the EBT to seek repayment of the earliest loans and use that money to fund the more newly agreed “loans” ?
Was that even possible?

I suspect it wasn’t but I do understand why people still can’t quite get their heads around a huge loss making company simply giving cash away (these were just discretionary loans after all….)

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parttimearabPosted on1:16 pm - Mar 8, 2014


Esteban says:
March 8, 2014 at 12:38 pm

No sporting advantage my bahookey. They put a team on the park they could not afford. For years. They cheated.
—————————————————————
A number of Scottish sides put teams on the park they couldn’t afford.
That’s not cheating, just stupid (in the long run) immoral and unsporting.

It’s only cheating if illegal means were used to facilitate the financing.

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Resin_lab_dogPosted on1:19 pm - Mar 8, 2014


upthehoops says:
March 8, 2014 at 12:54 pm

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Aberdeen confirm their 40,000 ticket allocation for the League Cup Final now sold out – great stuff.

Perhaps getting ahead a wee bit given both Aberdeen and Rangers have still to play quarter final ties, but given the ticket sales for the LC final, should the clubs meet in the semi or the final, it might not seem quite like the ‘home’ tie Ally and his media pals keep talking about.

__________________________________________

As of Thursday over 7,000 of the 8,000 initial Caley allocation had gone. I am still hoping we can do better than that. Aberdeen have put us to shame but we are doing our bit nevertheless, from a core support of under 3000.
All the bus seats have sold out. A second Supporters train is having to be laid on, as the first one has sold out, and this is filling up fast.
I will be taking a filled 7 seater down the road, so could use any helpful advice on parking strategies near Parkhead on the day from those who are more familiar with that location.

And I hope that the SPFL open up further allocations to fans of whatever club will take them. Lets justify the decision to have it at the bigger ground.

Any neutrals who want to go can get tickets from the ICTFC website btw. Should be a great occasion whatever the result!

(There are quite a few Caley fans up here with friends who support Aberdeen who I know are actually going together in Aberdeen end as groups of friends, and I have no doubt that there are some people who are bringing Aberdeen supporters with them into the Caley end. There is a cameraderie that goes back to even before the ground share days – and many Aberdeen fans in the town who would have otherwise been ICT fans had they only been born after the formation of the senior club – Aberdeen being seen as the local senior team in those days by many. There is a rivaly and banter between the opposing fans but certainly nothing that could be construed as animosity in any light. Quite the opposite in fact… although we will see how thing are looking a week Monday.)

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Resin_lab_dogPosted on1:24 pm - Mar 8, 2014


parttimearab says:
March 8, 2014 at 1:16 pm

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Esteban says:
March 8, 2014 at 12:38 pm

No sporting advantage my bahookey. They put a team on the park they could not afford. For years. They cheated.
—————————————————————
A number of Scottish sides put teams on the park they couldn’t afford.
That’s not cheating, just stupid (in the long run) immoral and unsporting.

It’s only cheating if illegal means were used to facilitate the financing.

_____________________________________________
Spending beyond what is sensible to your means to put out a better team than you can really afford is daft, but not cheating.
But it is cheating once you subsequently don’t pay up, and leaving others to fund your excesses, and make efforts to avoid the consequences of you error instead of rectifying them!

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easyJamboPosted on1:25 pm - Mar 8, 2014


Matty Roth says: March 8, 2014 at 1:01 pm

How do the Rangers debt levels fit chronologically alongside the payments into EBT?
===================================
Profit/Loss £M …… EBT Contribution (£M)
2001 -£16.90… £1.01
2002 -£35.33… £5.18
2003 -£29.61… £6.79
2004 -£5.94….. £7.25
2005 £12.67… £7.24 (profit includes a one-off £15M gain on Rangers Media valuation)
2006 £0.09….. £9.19
2007 -£6.25….. £4.99
2008 £7.17….. £2.29
2009 -£12.65… £2.36
2010 £4.20…… £1.36
2011 £2.40…… £0.35

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CastofthousandsPosted on1:34 pm - Mar 8, 2014


easyJambo says:
March 8, 2014 at 10:10 am

“JC’s scribblings are very close to verbatim.”
——————————-
I only sat in for one day but can concur with EJ’s assessment. I have done a bit of minute taking in my time but the dryness of proceedings only moved me to compile a few pages of thin scribblings. Having read through JC’s record of the same day I’d say he barely missed a word.

Sterling effort and a reliable record should it ever be required for reference.

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Bill1903Posted on1:51 pm - Mar 8, 2014


upthehoops says:
March 8, 2014 at 12:54 pm
8 1 Rate This

Aberdeen confirm their 40,000 ticket allocation for the League Cup Final now sold out – great stuff.
—————————————–
Add another few thousand who have bought corporate direct from Celtic.
My tickets arrived this morning and I’m stuck in the corner but I’m just grateful to be there.
I believe this travelling support to be a new world record**

(Travelling within Scotland a distance of over 50 miles 😉 )

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SmugasPosted on1:53 pm - Mar 8, 2014


“Spending beyond what is sensible to your means to put out a better team than you can really afford is daft, but not cheating.
But it is cheating once you subsequently don’t pay up, and leaving others to fund your excesses, and make efforts to avoid the consequences of you error instead of rectifying them!”

What? Even if it’s promotion on a glorious journey? Steady on. That’ll be that integrity nonsense again. What about the tele deal n’that?

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CastofthousandsPosted on2:11 pm - Mar 8, 2014


parttimearab says:
March 8, 2014 at 1:16 pm

“A number of Scottish sides put teams on the park they couldn’t afford.”
———————————
Agreed.

Did any of them fail to register the players remuneration with the governing body?

If, for arguments sake, they did, would £2500 fine per player per season be a proportionate fine for such mis-registration?

Even if the tax liability for the ‘loans’ is not currently ascertainable, they did accrue a financial benefit to the players concerned. Given that the benefit gained by individual players per season would have been tens of thousands of pounds, is the sanction levied a suitable deterrent for another club pulling a similar stunt in the future?

Perhaps we should cease from discussing such matters as their constant regurgitation may be unsettling those that might have hoped they had successfully quelled the discontent within the sport.

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exfallhoose2012Posted on2:20 pm - Mar 8, 2014


Can we be sure that the Tom English piece was not written by someone from this blog? Everything he has written has appeared in this blog. Come on TSFM, it was you ….wasn’t it?
http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/scottish/

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parttimearabPosted on2:54 pm - Mar 8, 2014


Castofthousands says:
March 8, 2014 at 2:11 pm
1 0 Rate This

parttimearab says:
March 8, 2014 at 1:16 pm
“A number of Scottish sides put teams on the park they couldn’t afford.”
———————————
Agreed.
Did any of them fail to register the players remuneration with the governing body?
——————————————————————————–
Indeed they did not – but we must be clear that it was the attempt to conceal above all else that puts Rangers behaviour in a different category from that of other clubs.
The use of tax avoidance schemes of themselves (while imo reprehensible ) is not cheating as (it might be argued) the persons setting up the scheme could have an honest belief that it is/was a legitimate route to “tax efficiency”
Attempting to hide the scheme by failing to register the side letters signified their own doubts as to the legality of the mechanism and (in the hiding of the side letters) led them into cheating.

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StevieBCPosted on3:04 pm - Mar 8, 2014


Decent article about Lord Turnbull of Hutton, and includes a reminder of McCoist’s ‘who are these people?’ dog whistling – and subsequent trouble.

For those of us who bought RR merchandise/sent supportive emails there is an appreciative mention.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2576251/Rangers-supporters-branded-Public-Enemy-No-1-stadium-staff-threatened-Raith-Rovers-chairman-Hutton-says-Id-again.html

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wottpiPosted on3:38 pm - Mar 8, 2014


So Charlie is still a bit miffed for getting pumped out of Ibrox and not getting his just rewards.
Any chance this is a shot across the bows indicating he may very well turn up as a witness for his little friend Imram Ahmed next month?
Afterall IA must have been worthy of similar rewards to Charlie?

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4424mePosted on3:53 pm - Mar 8, 2014


Resin_lab_dog says:
March 8, 2014 at 1:19 pm
Regarding parking on th east side of the stadium there is loads of on street parking. If coming along london road from the m74 motorway exit turn right at the celtic club , continue to the top of the road and turn left there is loads of parking there and plenty of street urchins willing to “watch yer motor mister” , only pay them on return and under no circs refuse the offer !!

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Resin_lab_dogPosted on4:10 pm - Mar 8, 2014


4424me says:
March 8, 2014 at 3:53 pm

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_______________________________

Ta muchly.

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justshateredPosted on4:56 pm - Mar 8, 2014


After the out come of the LNS and the evidence given can I make a suggestion.
Sack all of the staff within the registration office at the SFA as they clearly do not have a realistic job to do, create a database and allow the clubs to register their players on line. After all they simply accept all documentation given to them. You could honestly register a donkey, and I know a few teams certainly have, to play in your team and hey presto registration accepted. Donkey paid £1 a week but also given 25 bales of hay from an offshore Hay Fund then there is no problem.

If they gave me a copy of a registration form I could probably create a system for them in a week and someone here could add the required level of internet security and dear old Campbell could pocket the money saved for a good night out…….. after all things must be tight for the poor man now that he has to declare all of his payments to the tax man.

On a serious note when RFC players paid for their national associations and got injured what salary was claimed from those associations by RFC?
Was it the players basic wage or was basic wage plus EBT?
If it was the later then that is clear fraud because, a we have been constantly told, the EBT was discretionary therefore could not be included in any claim when a player was injured on international duty.
Perhaps this is the smoking gun that so many people refer to.

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Cluster OnePosted on5:38 pm - Mar 8, 2014


@ ecobhoy says:
vanguardbears have got the geotechnical report for westhorn……and would you believe,no contamination issues,fit for build…..
Have you seen this rubbish,or is it just something they have taken from the FTH site?

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Resin_lab_dogPosted on5:56 pm - Mar 8, 2014


Bill1903 says:
March 8, 2014 at 1:51 pm

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upthehoops says:
March 8, 2014 at 12:54 pm
8 1 Rate This

Aberdeen confirm their 40,000 ticket allocation for the League Cup Final now sold out – great stuff.
—————————————–
Add another few thousand who have bought corporate direct from Celtic.
My tickets arrived this morning and I’m stuck in the corner but I’m just grateful to be there.
I believe this travelling support to be a new world record**

(Travelling within Scotland a distance of over 50 miles 😉 )

__________________________________

Back of an envelope:

Distance from Tulloch to Parkhead 1 way is 171 miles (google maps – directions)
Distance from Pittodrie to Parkhead is 148 miles. (google maps – directions)

If we estimate that the average distance travelled by fans is equivalent to stadium to stadium ( – not unreasonable – i.e. those who come from closer are balanced by those that come from further) then 40,000 dons and 7000 jags makes for about 7million fan miles in each direction, or nearly 15million fan miles for the return journey, sunday week. More if additional tickets are sold.
That level of fan mile return distance would get you to the moon and back more than 30 times.

That is some travelling support!

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Bill1903Posted on6:44 pm - Mar 8, 2014


Re support
I have read of Dons fans coming from Australia,Alaska,Baku and Vietnam!!
Makes my 500 mile round trip pale into insignificance in comparison 😀

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Angus1983Posted on7:15 pm - Mar 8, 2014


I’ll be in Glasgow on the afternoon of the Final. But I won’t be at the Final. I’ll be at an event my missus organised some time ago. I have been utterly disallowed from going to the game.

Meantime, the Scottish Cup (yes folks, it’s still going ;)). I’m in two minds whether I’d rather have Sevco in the semi to prevent them crowing about getting to the Final, or play them in the Final and do them 6 or 7-0. 🙂

On balance, probably best to punt them out in the semi with a huge Aberdeen support at Ibrox regaling them with “You’re not Rangers anymore” for 90 minutes.

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Bill1903Posted on7:31 pm - Mar 8, 2014


I’d be looking for an Angus1903 lookalike to stand in for me or even divorce. 😳

I think it will be Aberdeen v Saints at a half empty Ibrox(ridiculous decision to hold it there but hey hoh)

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ianagainPosted on8:02 pm - Mar 8, 2014


If it is that Ibrox and all.
Can the neutral bystanders bring their drum? Just asking.

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justshateredPosted on9:00 pm - Mar 8, 2014


Earlier on today I posted an article wondering why ‘The Rangers’ fans were so surprised that they had to pay back the loan from season ticket money but it has just dawned on me that they are not used to having a repayment schedule on loans they are involved in.
Perhaps they should have had those magic three letters in front of the word ‘Loan’. You know the three little letters…………………………………………… ‘EBT’ then I’m sure everything would have been alright.
Perhaps they should ask Mr Easdale and Laxey’s if they can have a three letter amendment to the Loan agreement!!!!

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John ClarkPosted on9:05 pm - Mar 8, 2014


I’ve just posted the rest of my note of Thursday’s UTTT proceedings on the UTTT thread.
If any of my fellow reporters who attended on Thursday see that I may have completely lost the plot or can fill in for gaps that might help make sense of bits that seem not to, please PM me, if they wish.

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John ClarkPosted on9:21 pm - Mar 8, 2014


Flocculent Apoidea says:
March 8, 2014 at 9:45 am
“… I suspect he may be doing a “Craigy” whilst scribbling for effect…”
———–
Cross my heart and hope to die, scouts’ honour, no electrical or mechanical gizmos or gadgets, morse code, carrier pigeons or woolly bees have been employed in my reporting from the UTTT! Only my pen and Poundland £1 A4 wide-ruled refill pad! And a strong desire not to fall asleep from boredom, by keeping busy! 😀

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ianagainPosted on10:09 pm - Mar 8, 2014


JC
And the sign that says no photography or recording?

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weescotsmanPosted on10:28 pm - Mar 8, 2014


john clarke says:
March 8, 2014 at 9:21 pm

Woolly bees ? 😯 🙂

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