Rangers fined £250,000 over undisclosed payments but won't be stripped of Scottish league titles

Rangers fans at Ibrox. Photo: PA

Oldco Rangers have been handed a fine of £250,000 following an investigation into undisclosed payments to players but the club will not be stripped of any titles.

A Scottish Premier League-appointed independent commission - chaired by Lord Nimmo Smith - imposed the fine after finding the Ibrox side guilty of failing to make proper disclosure of side-letter arrangements during 2000-2011.

However, the club avoided the most severe sanction of losing up to five SPL titles won during the period investigated after the commission ruled Rangers "did not gain any unfair competitive advantage".

The three-man commission, which also comprised QCs Nicholas Stewart and Charles Flint, were unanimous in their decision.

They found that Rangers, under Sir David Murray`s stewardship, entered into side-letter arrangements with a large number of players, with the club making payments to an offshore Employee Benefit Trust (EBT) and payments made to players in the form of loans.

The commission found that those arrangements - which were required to be disclosed under the rules of the SPL and the Scottish Football Association - were not disclosed to the football authorities.

The commission statement read: "Although the payments in this case were not themselves irregular and were not in breach of SPL or SFA Rules, the scale and extent of the proven contraventions of the disclosure rules require a substantial penalty to be imposed.

"Rangers FC did not gain any unfair competitive advantage from the contraventions of the SPL rules in failing to make proper disclosure of the side-letter arrangements, nor did the non-disclosure have the effect that any of the registered players were ineligible to play, and for this and other reasons no sporting sanction or penalty should be imposed upon Rangers FC."

The commision confirmed their earlier decision that newco Rangers could not be held responsible for any breach of rules by the oldco.

They added: "In all the circumstances the commission has imposed a fine of £250,000 on Oldco."