Every Rangers fan would have received the news last night with a sense of anger and disbelief. HMRC making a mistake of a few million could have made sense, these things are complex, it was a legal loophole and uncharted territory etc etc. In the grand scheme of things a few million would have meant very little reaction at all.
But this morning we are all left with a bitter sense of what if and once again we are left to try and dissect the aftermath of a situation which clearly should have been avoided. Rangers used the EBT scheme for several years in the early 2000’s, the bill was estimated to be £70 million from HMRC and the big tax bill hung over the club like a dark shadow. It meant pressure from the bank, it meant downsizing and it meant no investor would go anywhere near the club.
It then forced the events and sale of the club to a man who was hell bent in trying to hold HMRC to ransom in a hair brained scheme that was never going to work. That led to the events of 2012, Rangers being kicked into division 3. The witch hunt for trophies and relentless kicking our club received followed, people stood on the moral high ground lecturing Rangers when they had no right too. We were vilified and kicked from pillar to post. Not to mention the millions lost on income, the millions lost in player value and sales. The damage to our reputation and not being allowed to compete for trophies in our absence. Administration would never have happened, a title race wrecked by a ten point deduction and the start of a period we couldn’t challenge. Years of dominance would certainly have not went without a challenge, that’s a certainty
What is even worse is tens of people lost their jobs. All for what? A phantom bill and mis calculation to the tune of £50m. That’s not a little error in my book. This stinks of something bigger and more sinister. The original bill would have been manageable, the chain of events and sale of the club all could have been avoided. Rangers would have avoided everything that followed that big tax bill because it was fictitious and should never have been such a factor.
It’s also worth noting that any attempt to settle with HMRC, by our then chairman, was kicked out because of the apparent large bill that was never correct. If the bill was properly administered then a deal was much more likely.
We were called cheats and told we were using an illegal scheme we never could have afforded. Truth is at £2m a year we could have afforded the punishment and it was a legal scheme that was then closed after the fact. We didn’t cheat anyone, in fact the same scheme was used not too far from Ibrox yet it’s conveniently forgotten in the moral compass of Scottish football.
HMRC must be held accountable and I trust Dave King to lead from the front challenging the findings. Those that called us cheats, booted us whilst we were down and complicit in everything that followed, must never be forgotten.
This isn’t a small error or a little mistake that means little, it’s stinks of something far more sinister.
Yes the club have bounced back and yes we are in a strong place. It’s taken years to do that however and millions of pounds have been lost with damage to our brand almost irreparable.
HMRC must be held accountable. Governing bodies who couldn’t wait to kick us to the kerb and attempt to hunt our trophies must also be held accountable.
The biggest scandal and witch hunt of a sporting institution that has ever been seen
Rangers football club are victims of a massive miscarriage of justice from HMRC, apologies and answers are just the start of what we are due