A lot of the replies on the various forums lead me to think that the matter of Resolution 12 is being clouded by a couple of things. Dotted amongst the opinions are replies which indicate that not everyone knows exactly what its all about.
Lets see if we can put that right.
But first, what we need to do is to go back and view the initial events in the context of Spring 2011.
The David Murray era is all but over at Rangers. There is much rejoicing on the green side of the city, and sales of jelly and ice cream are going through the roof. Everyone with any sort of intelligence knows that the famous old Ibrox club is about to die. Not as many people are upset about that as what you might think.
Sure, its a famous old club, with a lengthy and successful history, but there are one or two things associated with it, if largely ignored by the mainstream media and the authorities, that means most of us won’t miss it.
But, at a time when Scottish football is struggling to raise money from external sources, the prospect of one of only two big earners collapsing is met with dread in the offices of the SFA, wh are responsible for the running of the game in Scotland, from grass roots all the way up to international level. Like any organisation, they jealously guard their interests.
Losing a major source of revenue sent them into a bit of a panic, it seems, and as we know, their chief , Stewart Regan , predicted that we would see “social unrest ” , a statement which showed that he’d been listening to those within the walls of SFA offices, and showed that he would do whatever it took to save the club.
It also perhaps showed that he was worried that if the Ibrox club, sorry, when the Ibrox club collapsed, there could be all sorts of questions fired at him. Questions such as how he could possibly have allowed one club to borrow money it could not afford unchecked , or how the players and other staff were paid without the conventional payment of taxes owed on their salaries.
If he was unsure of how all that worked, he could have popped over to see his SFA colleague, Campbell Ogilvie, who could have told him anything he wanted to know about how the EBT system of remuneration worked.
And any potential problems with them.
As it stood before Craig Whyte, the off the radar billionaire, rode into town, Rangers were dead in the water, and Murray was culpable of negligence in the extreme. His bank had changed owners, his friendly manager had buggered off, and the new guys wanted their money back, which in turn led to Murray frantically trying to find someone else who would take the club and its massive debt off his hands.
In the end, he sold it for a shiny pound to shiny Craig , who then promptly borrowed money to pay the bank and get them off his back. The loan was secured against future season book sales, the one substantial source of income that Rangers could pretty much depend on.
With millions of pounds potentially owed dependent on the outcome of one HMRC investigation and prosecution, Whyte also had to deal with another, known as the Wee Tax Case, as it was only a few million, and not a couple of hundred million.
And anyway, the major difference is that the wee tax case was a liability, and not, as in the case of the Big Tax Case, a potential liability.
You see, if you want to participate in Europe, you cab have a potential liability, but not an actual one.
They’re rather strict on that sort of thing, and will not allow any of their European competitions to be soiled by a club which owes money to their Government in taxes.
In March 2011 Whyte had yet to take over at Rangers. His tenure started in May.
Our story starts in February of that year..
23 February 2011 HMRC letter to Rangers FC.
21st March 2011 Note on a spreadsheet by Donald McIntyre accepting liability for tax overdue from 2001/02 had payment been made by the normal PAYE route and subject to PAYE terms from 2000/01 to 2002/03..
22 March 2011. A meeting of takeover parties where it was reported
“Discounted Option Scheme – £3.2m PAYE liability to be paid to HMRC prior to 31/3. PB”
In March 2011 Rangers had a tax liability dating back to 2001/02.
And they accepted that. Therefore at this stage, they would not have been allowed to participate in the following years champions League.
If anyone told UEFA, that is. In particular, if the SFA told UEFA. Which they can only do if Rangers tell the SFA.
You see, its a little more complicated tha “they cheated and they covered it up for them.
You are also probably on the point of seeing why its taken so long to get anywhere.
30th March 2011 A report submitted to SFA Licensing Committee which, according to an e mail of 7th December 2011 from Stewart Regan SFA CEO to Andrew Dickson*, Football Administrator at Rangers FC and a member of the SFA Licensing Committee in 2011 said
In light of persistent speculation across all media, the Scottish FA would like to clarify the position in regard to Rangers FC’s licence to play in Europe as governed by Article 50 of the UEFA Regulations. It is noted from the report submitted to the Licensing Committee by Rangers FC’s advisors Grant Thornton UK LLP, dated 30th March 2011, that: “
“All the recorded payroll taxes at 31 December 2010 have, according to the accounting records of the Club since that date been paid in full by 31 March 2011, with the exception of the continuing discussion between the Club and HM Revenue and Customs in relation to a potential liability of £2.8m associated with contributions between 1999 and 2003 into a discounted option scheme. These
amounts have been provided for in full within the interim financial statements.”
Now we have another player on the scene, Grant Thornton UK LLP.
Notice the liabilty, which Donald McIntyre accepted above, has become a potential liability, which means the Ibrox club are good to go for Europe, and all the financial benefits it brings, which is handy , because boy are they skint.
Had it actually been a liability, then Europe is off the agenda.
So, at this point, Rangers are effectively telling the SFA that they do not have an actual liability.
Move along, nothing to see here.
As the SFA have to take these submissions on trust, its surprising that the media, who had at this stage, got wind that something wasn’t quite right didn’t dig further.
Actually, no it isn’t. Not in Scotland.
To this Regan then added the following justification for granting the licence:
Since the potential liability was under discussion by Rangers FC and HM Revenue & Customs as at 31st March 2011, it could not be considered an overdue payable as defined by Article 50.
We are satisfied that the evidence from all parties complied with Article 50 and, on that basis, a licence was awarded for season 2011-12.
However, the story takes a twist when the postman arrived at Ibrox in May…
5Th May 2011 a letter from HMRC that confirmed Rangers had accepted the liability for sums owed to HMRC on 21st March 2011 and saw no grounds for appeal but that HMRC had agreed to await developments regarding a potential takeover, but now wished to resume collection proceedings.
5th May E Mail from Mr McIntyre Rangers to HMRC stating that he had had discussions with HMRC on 21st March.
Neither of the above exchanges between the same individuals suggest that HMRC and Rangers FC had reached an agreement to extend the deadline for payment that complies with UEFA FFP Article 50 and Annex VIII. Such an agreement had to be in writing, signed by HMRC and be dated prior to 31st March 2011 to allow the overdue tax to qualify as exempt from being treated as an overdue payable.
The argument that as soon as Rangers FC accepted the liability on 21st March 2011 that an overdue payable existed is supported by the Giannina case in 2013 where the Court of Arbitration on sport (CAS) found in favour of UEFA, who had refused Giannina a licence in circumstances very like those in 2011 at Rangers, the CAS did not focus on collection but on the Giannina admission that tax money prior to the 31st December was owed and that no written agreement to postpone was in place at 31st March. Note also that it is insufficient to take actions with a view of obtaining a deferral.
In May, Rangers got the letter from HMRC which confirmed they had an actual liability.
Should they have told the SFA, bearing in mind they needed the money from Europe to keep the lights on, or even to pay this debt off ?
Did they tell the SFA ? Did the SFA tell UEFA ? Who is that masked man? -oh wait, wrong story.
Theres much more to come, but I want these initial events to be read and digested before we move on.
You’ll have to wait until tomorrow, I’m afraid, because I’ve got to take the dog out.
( authors note. I have seen all of the documents mentioned above. This is my interpretation of events based on those documents. You’ll have to take my word for it that I have recorded it faithfully and without bias. )