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Sep 11, 2012

Panel begins Rangers investigation

The commission investigating alleged undisclosed payments to players by Rangers will begin its hearings on Tuesday - but without any co-operation from the Ibrox club.

It must decide whether Rangers broke SPL rules by making payments to players through its Employee Benefit Trust (EBT) scheme between 2000 and 2011. The EBT scheme was run by former Rangers owner Sir David Murray.

If it concludes that the rules were broken and Rangers had made undeclared payments to players, the club could be stripped of titles won during that period - although other forms of sanction are possible.

Tuesday is the first of two planned days of hearings by the three-man panel, chaired by Lord Nimmo Smith, this week.

But Charles Green's new Rangers regime have refused to attend the hearings, arguing that the SPL has no jurisdiction over the club, which has begun its newco life in the Division Three after being denied entry to the SPL and then Division One.

Green told Sky Sports News: "Newco has never been a member of the SPL. If the SPL believe there have been issues, they should have taken action when Rangers were part of that league.

"We were thrown out of that league, and to ask us to engage now is out of order. They have no jurisdiction over me. If they wanted to have jurisdiction, they should have kept us in the league."

In an earlier statement, Green had questioned the independence of the panel but did not accuse the individual members of impartiality.

He pledged to take legal action if titles were withdrawn and questioned why the SPL was going ahead with the hearings before a separate tax tribubal ruling on EBTs had been announced.

He claimed that other Scottish clubs had used EBTs without consequence, and said he believed some SPL clubs had been "hell bent on inflicting as much damage on Rangers as possible".

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