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SPL Clubs Should Punish Rangers
- Updated: May 7, 2012
Prior to the kick-off, Kilmarnock’s chairman, Michael Johnston, had suggested that financial expedience would trump doing the right thing when the Scottish Premier League’s 12 members meet at Hampden today to vote on possible sanctions for newco clubs.
With Rangers still under threat of liquidation due to the wilful financial mismanagement of previous owner Sir David Murray and the current incumbent, Craig Whyte, and facing a potential debt of £90million to Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs alone, Johnston suggested all wrong-doing could be forgotten to safeguard the television deals with SKY and ESPN and visits from Rangers’ fans. “Member clubs are mindful of a sporting integrity aspect but the commercial benefits outweight that,” he said.
Brown, a Welsh international, argues that the Scottish game would have no credibility if Rangers avoid punishment. “If Rangers come out of the SPL, it will be disappointing,” he said. “Other clubs are partly to blame because they’ve put Celtic and Rangers on such a high pedestal in that they pull in much of the revenue.
“But if rules have been broken, they have to be dealt with in the same way as Gretna, and Livingston. I don’t think they should be given any special dispensation. If they’ve broken the rules then they should be punished. If you don’t pay your taxes, what happens to you?”
Brown said that the SPL clubs should do the right thing and take action ahead of the verdict in the big tax case, witg HMRC chasing Rangers for £75million in unpaidtaxes and penalties from Sir David Murray’s reign on top of the £15m that discredited owner Craig Whyte failed to pay in the last year.
Meanwhile, Celtic fans’ leader Joe O’Rourke responded to Johnston’s comments by warning that Celtic’s travelling support will stay away from the grounds of clubs who fail to vote to penalise Rangers. The general secretary of the Celtic Supporters Association said: “I’m certain the Celtic support will boycott Rugby Park next season. I’m not surprised he [Johnston] backs a Rangers newco getting an easy ride back into the SPL and he won’t be alone there will be a few chairmen thinking the same way.”
©2012 The Telegraph