sport

Gers fans blast SPL investigation

The Rangers Supporters Trust claim the SPL investigation into undisclosed payments at Ibrox was an expensive mistake.

Mark Dingwall, a RST board member, does not believe Scottish football can now start the healing process, even though an SPL-appointed independent commission decided against stripping the 54-time Scottish champions of titles.

Oldco Rangers were found guilty by Lord Nimmo Smith's commission of failing to inform the league body of side letters relating to Employment Benefit Trust payments that were issued to dozens of first-team players.

But the commission concluded Rangers did not gain any sporting advantage and settled for a 250,000 fine, most if not all of which is irrecoverable given that the company is in liquidation.

And Dingwall claimed that the findings proved the inquiry had been a "complete waste of time".

He said: "The fans have been vindicated, and there's now no question of the SPL stripping our titles.

"I'm saddened that everybody has been put through this vindictive process. It's particularly tragic that at the end of this, the fine has been levied against the oldco when the deadline for claims against the oldco has long since passed.

"So around 350,000 in legal fees has been completely wasted by a wild goose chase.

"I'm told by people at the club that is the figure that has already been spent by the SPL's lawyers, Harper Macleod, during the build-up to the case as well as the cost of hiring Lord Nimmo Smith and the two QCs for the commission enquiries."

The SPL were unable to confirm how much money had been spent on the year-long investigation.

Newco Rangers chief executive Charles Green, whose club were unaffected by today's outcome, declared it time to move on after the verdict but Dingwall believes that will prove difficult.

He said: "There is a cloud of vindictiveness and mistrust that been created over the last year or so against Rangers and I think that will probably last a lifetime and poison the atmosphere.

"But Rangers fans have been vindicated in their stance and I believe that Scottish football will suffer as a result of this for years to come. It's done nothing but damage Scottish football as a whole."

And the fans' representative argued SPL chief executive Neil Doncaster's position was untenable.

He said: "It's been disastrous for the SPL in particular and Neil Doncaster now has no alternative but to resign.

"He has presided over this but has not acted like a chief executive should have done. He didn't control the process and has ended up with an absolute unmitigated disaster.

"It's cost his member clubs around 350,000 in legal fees and it's tipped Scottish football into a mad dash for reconstruction purely to stave off financial disaster for many clubs.

"All that could have been avoided if he had been stronger. He should now do the honourable thing and go."