Rangers have been charged by the Scottish FA with breaking rules over a tax bill prior to being awarded their UEFA licence to play in European football in season 2011-12.
The Scottish Premiership side has been charged with two breaches relating to their reporting of the ‘Wee Tax Case’ in paperwork submitted to Hampden.
Last September, the Scottish FA compliance officer was instructed to investigate Rangers’ UEFA licence application in 2011 and the decision to grant the Ibrox side a licence to play in Europe. Now it has been decided that Rangers have a case to answer following the reviewing of documentation from that season and evidence given during the Craig Whyte trial.
According to UEFA, clubs applying to play in Europe should have ‘no payables overdue’ to tax authorities, but allow clubs to apply if amounts are disputed.
In 2011, Rangers said that they had no overdue payables but that they were in dispute with HMRC over the ‘Wee Tax Case’ – which was in use from 2000 to 2002 – and separate from the Big Tax Case. But Rangers and Murray Group directors admitted during the Craig Whyte trial that the club knew the tax bill was overdue in November 2010 – months before they applied for a UEFA licence.
Now the compliance officer – using testimony from the case and documentation from the time – has issued two separate charges – due to the change in the Scottish FA’s own disciplinary rules from Articles of Association to a Judicial Panel Protocol.
The first charge that Rangers face is related to failing to comply with ‘the articles and any statutes, regulations, directives, codes, decisions and international match calendar promulgated by the board or by a standing committee, committee or sub-committee thereof, or by FIFA or UEFA or by the Court of Arbitration for Sport’.
The second charge makes alleges that Rangers breached rules that: ‘All members shall:- (a) observe the principles of loyalty, integrity and sportsmanship in accordance with the rules of fair play; (b) be subject to and comply with the articles and any statutes, regulations, directives, codes, decisions and international match calendar promulgated by the board, the Professional Game Board, the Non-Professional Game Board, the Judicial Panel Protocol, a committee or sub-committee, FIFA, UEFA or the Court of Arbitration for Sport; (f) behave towards the Scottish FA and other members with the utmost good faith’.
Rangers have until May 22 to respond to the two charges, with a hearing set for June 26th.
The Ibrox side won the Scottish Premier League at the end of season 2010-11 and played in Europe at the start of the following season. Rangers then entered administration in February 2012 and liquidation proceedings took place that summer with a new club forming and playing in the old Third Division after Charles Green bought the assets. As part of the Scottish FA membership application, the new club agreed to pay all football debts owed by the old club.