SFA refuses to participate in review into handling of Rangers' EBT use

Ibrox Stadium, home of Rangers

The Scottish FA has written to member clubs advising it will not participate in any independent review into the game's response to Rangers' use of Employee Benefit Trusts.

Following court testimony by two former Ibrox directors, its compliance officer will look at the granting of a Uefa licence to Rangers in 2011.

The Scottish Professional Football League called for a review in July.

That followed a Supreme Court ruling in HMRC's favour in respect of EBTs.

More than £47m was paid to Rangers players, managers and directors between 2001 and 2010 in tax-free loans.

But HMRC argued the payments were earnings and should be taxable, eventually winning its case after two tribunals in 2012 and 2014 previously found in Rangers' favour.

In a letter to member clubs, the SFA said it received correspondence from the SPFL on behalf of all 42 league clubs with "an invitation to participate in the proposed review" and that one unnamed club had also written individually to the governing body calling for the review to take place.

"After careful consideration, the board of the Scottish FA has declined the invitation to participate in such a review," the SFA said in its letter.

"The image of the game in Scotland can only be damaged further by 'raking over the coals' of everything that has happened in the last six years for a further lengthy period of time.

"No-one is complacent or insensitive to the issues. It will be impossible to satisfy every supporter, every club official and every member club.

"Nevertheless, the board of the Scottish FA is resolute. It has acted with integrity and in the best interests of Scottish football at all times."

The governing body's stance would appear to rule out any football-led review into the way the Ibrox club's use of the tax scheme was handled.

However, in the letter to clubs, the SFA also informed that the court testimony of two former directors of Rangers Football Club plc (Oldco) regarding "overdue payables" - in what is known as the 'Wee Tax Case' - "might have implications in the context of the Uefa licence granted in 2011".

SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster
The SPFL's Neil Doncaster wanted an independent review of Scottish football governance

"On the face of it, there seem to be contradictions between those statements and written representations made at the time," it stated.

"In 2011, Oldco indicated there was an ongoing dispute with HMRC, but the evidence in the Craig Whyte [former Rangers owner] trial suggests that Oldco knew by early 2011 that it had no defence to HMRC's claim.

"This matter has been referred to the compliance officer for further investigation following receipt of information of a written opinion from senior counsel."

SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster revealed in July that the league had taken legal advice following the Supreme Court judgement that ruled out any further sanctions on the Ibrox club by the league.

The SPFL chairman, Ralph Topping, supported calls for an independent review and said the league would "seek to agree terms of reference with the Scottish FA".

A 2013 Scottish Premier League commission had found that Rangers were in breach of player registration rules during the EBT period.

Headed by Lord Nimmo-Smith, the commission fined the Ibrox club £250,000 but resisted calls for them to be stripped of titles won during that period.

However, following the Supreme Court ruling in favour of HMRC, Celtic said they expected the SPFL to review the 2013 decision that their city rivals "did not gain any unfair competitive advantage".

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