Rangers: Independent commission hearing date set

The independent commission appointed to investigate Rangers' alleged use of dual contracts says it "will proceed with its inquiry" despite the club's boycott of the process.

Rangers did not attend the initial meeting of the commission, appointed by the Scottish Premier League.

A hearing date has been set for 13 November, and the sitting may run until the following week.

Rangers "will continue to have the right to appear and be represented".

The allegations relate to the period 2001-2010, during which time the company that previously ran Rangers used employee benefits trusts.

Lord Nimmo Smith chaired the investigation into Rangers rule breaches

Lord Nimmo Smith will chair the commission

The club's use of the scheme was the subject of a long-running tax tribunal, the verdict of which is due to be announced next month.

However, the SPL's investigation, launched on 5 March, is seeking to determine whether all payments made to players in respect of their earnings from football were declared, as required by Scottish Football Association rules.

A BBC documentary, "Rangers, The Men Who Sold The Jerseys", found evidence suggesting 38 Rangers players had received side-letters giving undertakings to fund their sub-trusts with cash.

The league has more than a dozen sanctions at its disposal, including stripping Rangers of league titles, should it be decided that the club broke rules about side payments.

Rangers were placed in the Scottish Third Division after the company, often referred to as 'newco', had their bid to take over the club's SPL share rejected after buying the club's assets from the old company, or 'oldco'.

And Ibrox chief executive Charles Green has insisted "neither the SPL, nor its commission, has any legal power or authority over the club because it is not in the SPL".

A statement on behalf of the commission read: "The Commission has considered all the preliminary issues raised in the list submitted by Newco and points raised in letters from solicitors acting for Newco and for Oldco. It has decided:

  1. The Commission will proceed with its inquiry in the terms of the Notice of Commission and will now set a date for a hearing and give directions.
  2. Oldco and Rangers FC, who are named in the Issues contained in the Notice of Commission and alleged to have been in breach of SPL rules, will continue to have the right to appear and be represented at all hearings of the Commission and to make such submissions as they think fit.
  3. Newco, as the current owner and operator of Rangers FC, although not alleged by the SPL to have committed any breach of SPL Rules, will also have the right to appear and be represented at all hearings of the Commission and to make such submissions as it thinks fit.
  4. Written reasons for this decision will be made available in due course."

Solicitors acting on behalf of the SPL have until 19 October to submit all relevant documentation, "an outline argument and a list of witnesses", while Rangers have until 1 November to do the same.