New Rangers refuse to play ball as investigation begins

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The independent commission appointed by the SPL to investigate payments to Rangers players is scheduled to start today with zero co-operation from the Ibrox club.

Two days of procedural hearings were planned as the three-man panel chaired by Lord Nimmo Smith step up their investigation into transactions from the Employee Benefit Trust scheme run by former Rangers owner Sir David Murray. Rangers could be stripped of league titles if found guilty of making undeclared payments to players between 2000 and 2011. But the new Rangers regime have refused to attend the hearings.

Chief executive Charles Green’s company bought the business and assets of the soon-to-be-liquidated Rangers, now called RFC 2012, for £5.5 million in June but were denied entry to the SPL. Green said: “Newco (the new Rangers) has never been a member of the SPL. If the SPL believe there have been issues, they should have taken action when Rangers were part of that league.

“We were thrown out of that league and to ask us to engage now is out of order.

“It’s not a matter of co-operating – they have no jurisdiction over me. If they wanted to have jurisdiction they should have kept us in the league.”

Green, whose team host SPL leaders Motherwell in the Scottish Communities League Cup later this month, added: “It’s the first time we have met an SPL club since they all decided to throw us out. That will be an interesting event, won’t it?”

Green earlier set out a number of grievances over the SPL’s “fundamentally misconceived” process. He questioned the independence of the panel; promised legal action if titles were withdrawn; and questioned why the SPL is pressing ahead before the tax tribunal ruling on EBTs is announced.