Day: November 28, 2012

The European Football Revolution Will Be Televised

If there is one old adage that football has chosen to ignore above all others, then that which states that ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ must be amongst the contenders for pole position. Barely a year goes by without something being rebadged or rebranded, as if applying a tenth new coat of polish to our clubs and competitions will definitely this time lead to a hitherto elusive pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Michel Platini hasn’t been entirely bad as the president of UEFA – occasionally misguided, perhaps but nowhere near approaching what we might describe as Blatteresque levels of appallingness – this mornings announcement that European club football needs to be rethought is a potential minefield of disaster for UEFA which should be negotiated with the utmost care. It is possible to view this latest proposal for tinkering through a prism of outside forces being quietly at work in the background. When the G14 cartel of big clubs was jettisoned in favour of the European Club Association, the more innocent amongst us might have thought that a new era of co-operation between clubs and the regulators might be about to dawn. As time has worn on, however, an alternate possibility in which the hydra that was G14 was decapitated only for innumerate self-interested heads to appear in its place has come to feel...

Read More

The Rangers Big Tax Case: Over & Out

So, farewell then, to the Rangers Tax Case (Big); unless HMRC appeals the impressively-detailed decision published last Tuesday. In which case, we’ll be here for years. The First Tier Tribunal (Tax) decision was a victory for Murray Group Holdings. The ‘oldCo’ Rangers parent company accepted there was a tax liability attached to a minority of its measures to avoid such tax and appealed successfully against all the assessments by HM Customs and Excise (HMRC) they disputed. As a result, those assessments “fall to be reduced substantially.” How “substantially”  was not specified. But it will be “substantially” less than the £24m (plus interest and any penalties for late payment) most commonly estimated as the underpayment of tax since the ‘Employee Benefit Trust’ story first broke in the Scottish Herald newspaper in April 2010. File me under ‘nerd’ if required, but I find publication of detailed legal judgments, combined with a will to penetrate the legalese in which they are written, worthwhile exercises – especially in cases, such as this, where my opinion was wrong. I’ve found myself more conversant in legalese than I was before reading the judgment… as demonstrated by my use of “more conversant” at the start of this sentence. I hope to be at least partly out of this habit by the end of the article. Sorry, in the meantime. The concept of a “majority” decision, when...

Read More