Rangers keep titles after 'witch-hunt'

 

Sir David Murray claims Rangers have been the victims of a "retrospective witch-hunt" after a Scottish Premier League-appointed commission found the oldco club guilty of making undisclosed payments to players.

The former owner was responding after oldco Rangers were fined £250,000 for failure to disclose side-letter arrangements to the football authorities in relation to Employee Benefit Trusts (EBTs). The investigation centred on 2000-2011, during Murray's stewardship of the club.

However, the Ibrox side will not be stripped of titles won during this period. The commission ruled that Rangers did not gain an unfair advantage and players were not ineligible.

Murray said in a statement: "The problems at Rangers have been a tragedy for the club and its fans. They cannot be condoned. Efforts to bayonet the wounded are equally unjustified and of no benefit.

"Despite knowledge of the existence of EBT arrangements for 10 years, the SPL has never explained why this was only raised as an issue last year.

"The imposition of an irrecoverable fine on an entity now in liquidation is futile and only prejudices the ability of existing creditors to recover any money. It is saddening that so much time, effort and money has been expended in pursuing a retrospective witch-hunt against an entity in crisis, as opposed to seeking to promote and further Scottish football as a whole."

He described the decision not to strip Rangers of titles as "satisfying".

The former Rangers majority shareholder, whose successor Craig Whyte's failure to pay PAYE and VAT led to the administration process, added: "It is entirely erroneous to state that a contribution to a trust and subsequent loan from independent trustees of that trust to a player is the same as Rangers making a payment to a player."

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