Author: Mark

The Rangers Tax Case: Then, Now & Forever

Between 2001 and 2010, Rangers FC participated in an Employee Benefit Trust (EBT) scheme, the “Murray Group Management Remuneration Trust (MGMRT). “So far as Rangers were concerned,” this scheme “enabled the Club to attract players who would not otherwise have been obtainable,” the “Murray” of the Murray Group, Rangers ex-chairman David, admitted to a “First-Tier Tax Tribunal” (FTT). On Wednesday, the Supreme Court declared that scheme unlawful. In February 2013, Lord William Nimmo-Smith reported on his Scottish Premier League (SPL)-commissioned investigation into Rangers’ alleged breaching of league rules in the operation of the now-unlawful scheme. The good Lord noted...

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FIFA’s Garcia Report: Reaction & Ridicule

So, disgraced Fifa ex-president Sepp Blatter is NOT a woman trapped in a man’s body. Prince William did NOT try to sell his place in-line to the UK throne to Qatar. And the repugnant Jack Warner is NOT one of the most repulsive human beings on the planet never to have committed murder. No, wait, that last one IS true. What Fifa call the “Report on the Inquiry into the 2018/2022 FIFA World Cup Bidding Process (the so-called “Garcia Report”),” named after its primary author, the Fifa Ethics Committee (EthCo) Investigatory Chamber’s then “independent” chair, United States ex-attorney Michael...

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FIFA’s Video Assistant Referees: How VAR Should They Go?

The Video Assistant Referees (VARs) experiment at the just-finished Under-20s World Cup in the Korean Republic was undoubtedly successful. As was the system itself, largely. Whether the people running it were as successful is a different matter…and possibly doesn’t matter. The primary object of any experiment is to subject its subject to vigorous, wide-ranging scrutiny, to determine how it would work under as many different circumstances as possible, and highlight any problems, potential or active. This experiment certainly did that. Amid the fabulous Eurosport commentary-box set-to during the Italy/Zambia quarter-final, one issue emerged above all. A poor overall understanding...

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The FIFA Under-20s World Cup: A Final Reckoning

England’s finest footballing hour since 1966, claimed pundits who had only just discovered there WAS an Under-20s World Cup in the Korean Republic, let alone that England were the best team in it. Welcome, bandwagon jumpers. Anyway, I told you so. About how good Under-20s World Cups are and how England would win this one. Regular readers will know of, and be wearied by, my insistence that less-well-known international football tournaments have merited more attention than filling space on Eurosport when there’s no tennis, cycling or ski-ing on. So, while I’ll never need Danny Mills for vindication, it was...

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FIFA Under 20s World Cup: Italy 3-2 Zambia

Eurosport co-commentator Stewart Robson knew. He usually does. “When you come to tournaments,” he noted, co-incidentally listing the ones for which Eurosport had UK broadcast rights, “you are looking for one of the great games. And this,” he added as Italy’s Under 20s World Cup quarter-final against Zambia approached extra-time, “could be it.” Commentator Tim Caple knew too. He usually does…and if he doesn’t Robson is always quick to tell him. “Up to 50 shots,” he gasped. “Almost unheard of.” And Zambia’s occasional “shoot-(impulsively-off-target)-on-sight” policy only contributed marginally to that stat. Italy/Zambia was better still for the significant and...

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