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 By PA Sport

Scottish FA accuses Rangers of financial rules breach

Rangers have been accused by the Scottish Football Association of breaching rules over financial information which allowed the Ibrox team to play European football in 2011-12.

The club have been hit with two charges relating to complying with UEFA rules, observing the principles of sportsmanship and "behaving towards the Scottish FA and other members with the utmost good faith."

Rangers say they will "fiercely resist" the charges and accused the SFA of being "intent on harming the game."

The issue centres on when "oldco" Rangers accepted liability for a £2.8 million bill from Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs -- the so-called "wee tax case."

They received a UEFA licence before losing at the first hurdle in both the Champions and Europa Leagues and later going into liquidation on the back of wider tax debts.

The SFA reopened an investigation into the controversy following evidence from former directors during a court case in which former Rangers owner Craig Whyte was cleared of several criminal charges.

In a letter to member clubs in September last year, the SFA wrote: "On the face of it, there seem to be contradictions between those statements and written representations made at the time.

"In 2011, Oldco indicated there was an ongoing dispute with HMRC, but the evidence in the Craig Whyte trial suggests that Oldco knew by early 2011 that it had no defence to HMRC's claim."

It is understood the charges relate to the "monitoring period" after Rangers were granted a UEFA licence on March 31, 2011, and hinge on when the debt became overdue.

In response, a Rangers statement read: "The Rangers Football Club was informed today by the Scottish FA that, after an eight-and-a-half month investigation, the SFA will not be proceeding with a notice of complaint in respect of the submission made by the club to the SFA at the end of March 2011 with regard to the issue of the club's UEFA licence for the following season.

"The club is unsurprised that it has now finally been accepted by the SFA that the accusations made against the club were groundless. The club questions whether the time, cost and expense of this investigation was justified and was a good use of the SFA's limited resources.

"Disappointingly, and presumably rather than accept that the investigation was a waste of all parties' time and resources, the club has been served with a new revised notice of complaint relating to the monitoring period subsequent to the grant of the UEFA licence.

"This new notice of complaint neglects to properly capture the provisions of prior agreements made between the club and the SFA. The club will fiercely resist this reconstructed notice of complaint.

"Unfortunately, monies that should be available to Scottish youth and grassroots football will be diverted into another rehearsal of seven-year-old debates on the rights and wrongs of events that the SFA should have prevented at a time when doing so would have served a useful purpose.

"It seems that Scottish football is, once again, being directed by individuals intent on harming the Scottish game, Rangers Football Club and its supporters by pursuing a course that has no sensible purpose or reasonable prospect of success."

Rangers continued playing after being consigned to liquidation in the summer of 2012 when the business, assets and SFA membership were transferred to a new company.

A provisional hearing date has been set for June 26.

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