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Graham Speirs 'To the best my knowledge I never called the BTC cheating '


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Expediency trumps justice - Graham Speirs, Herald

Imagine if a football club wilfully decided to deduct tax from players' pay slips, but, instead, of handing the money over to Revenue and Customs, decided to keep it.

You would think that was pretty bad. Imagine also if it transpired that, with regard to three players stretching as far back as 1999, a club used an off-shore Employee Benefit Trust (EBT) to "reward" those players due to a belief that this was a way of avoiding paying tax. Ordinarily, you would think that looked fairly dodgy, too.

Or worse, how about a similar use of EBTs as a means of "rewarding" a whole tranche of players, season after season for nine years? That, we must assume, would be viewed by most people as seriously bad behaviour. It would also amount to a heck of a saving in taxes – tens of millions of pounds – that could be flushed back into the club's own coffers.

All these and more comprise the toll of allegations currently being made against Rangers. When I say allegations, I'm using the term over-cautiously, because the club has admitted using such policies. Craig Whyte even offered to pay HMRC off in instalments, only to be knocked back.

Campbell Ogilvie, meanwhile, a Rangers director during much of this period, and now president of the SFA, admits to having had an EBT provided by the club. Ogilvie was given loans by Rangers which, to date, have not been repaid. "Perhaps I should have asked more questions [of Sir David Murray] during this time," he now says lamely, the adverse publicity horse having loudly bolted.

What does not seem in much doubt is that Rangers broke many of the rules, as applied by the SPL and SFA to Scottish football. The more pressing question now is, how severe should their punishment be? Indeed, should Rangers' reckless disregard for fair play over so many years be sufficient cause to evict them from the SPL, as many want to see?

I find it hard to avoid concluding that there is strong case for Rangers being demoted – or suspended – from the SPL. There are two current spheres of contempt towards the Ibrox club. The first is to do with a flouting of the contractual rules – defined by many as plain cheating – which gave Rangers a significant financial advantage all these years over other SPL clubs. That seems bad enough.

The second is a kind of moral distaste felt by many people. Strictly speaking, the SFA and SPL, both of whom are investigating Rangers' conduct, cannot embroil themselves in the tax avoidance issue. That area is not the remit of the football authorities. But the rest of us are still free to feel that, on the business of denuding the nation of tens of millions of pounds in unpaid taxes, something devious and pretty squalid has gone on inside Ibrox.

In both football and in moral terms there is a convincing argument for kicking Rangers out of the SPL. The problem is, does the Scottish game possess the guts to do it?

We can be brief here about why chief executive Neil Doncaster and his SPL board, with the host of "newco" rules they are keen to bring in by May 14, want to do everything they can to save Rangers' SPL skin. Everyone knows why it is politically expedient to contrive to keep the Ibrox club in Scotland's top division.

Doncaster's position is thoroughly miserable. If Rangers are evicted, the SPL will be severely damaged. Potentially, Sky television would rip up its recently announced deal to cover Scottish football. A huge slice of SPL gate money would go down the drain with Rangers' disappearance. Everything – sponsorship, advertising, corporate hospitality – would be hit. Financially and politically, the scenario is enough to keep Doncaster awake at night.

The fate of Juventus in Italy in 2006 has been quoted here as a precedent. When Juve were found guilty of match-fixing, it wasn't too insipid a pill for Serie A to swallow to strip them retrospectively of their 2005 and 2006 titles and then throw them out of Italy's top division.

In Juve's case, the moral argument proved stronger than any political expediency. There was no knee-knocking over it.

Across Scottish football, and not just among Celtic fans, Doncaster and the SPL are being mocked and derided. The imminent rules amendments will certainly punish Rangers if a "newco" is formed at Ibrox but, arguably, not to the degree that is warranted. Indeed, short of bribery or match-fixing, it is hard to see what else Rangers would have to do to get the SPL to kick them out.

Perhaps it is true that the SPL cannot do without Rangers. But, if that is the case, let no-one ever again quote "honesty" or "integrity" in the context of the Scottish game.



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He had a quote put up from his Twitter along the lines of Rangers cheated yes I feel very comfortable calling it that of course this is all in my opinion.

That is calling us cheats and should result in sever punishment for the lying wee dickhead.

It's in the video.

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He was getting pummeled on Twitter last night.. he "was sure of" that he was referring to the "wee tax case". When it was proven that he wasnt, he seemed to do the whole "to the best of my knowledge..." spiel. He has fucked up and he knows it.. When will these journos and people in high profile jobs learn, that things like Twitter are a bad idea? Everything they say WILL be used against them!!

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Breaking news - Britney's handed in a sick line at work for 4 weeks, jetting off to the most far off corner of the earth.

May not be seen again.

I see his weekly shite in the on line Herald hasn't been updated as it usually is on Wednesdays. They're still running with last weeks pish from him

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The cunt has took a pounding on twitter and the tit is still denying it, keeps asking for proof :lol:

His twitter pages is full of screen shots of what he said, he's claimimg he was talking about the wee tax case.

Which is alot of shite because no cunt has mentioned anything about the wee tax case all the talk was about the big tax case that was the main one for everyone. And they would have betted their left baw that we were going to lose. :lol:

Graham Spiers own words a while ago were.

I would be "flabbergasted" if they won it.

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I hope he gets the abuse he deserves at the next home match. I'll take a walk along the stand just for the pleasure

I would rather he was never allowed into Ibrox again but don't tell him until he turns up to the front doors and then throw him out so we waste his day.

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