Topping admits that the SPFL will block any attempts to strip titles after Rangers’ lose tax case appeal

July 15, 2017
Ralph Topping

Outgoing SPFL chairman Ralph Topping has admitted that the SPFL will do all it can to block any attempts to strip titles from Rangers after the Supreme Court ruled that the Ibrox club had broken tax rules over their use of EBTs.

With supporters groups calling for Rangers to be stripped of their trophies won during the 11 year period that EBTs were used, and Celtic calling for a review of the Lord Nimmo Smith commission back in 2013, Topping – who quits his role next month – is confident that they can defend any potential legal challenges.

The Scottish FA were quick to dismiss any further disciplinary action after the Supreme Court ruling was announced, while the SPFL issued a generic statement saying that they are ‘considering’ the implications of the tax case verdict.

Topping, in an interview with The Scotsman, claimed: “In these circumstances you have to rely on legal minds. We have not gone to a solicitor in Arbroath. We have gone to the finest solicitor in the land and taken his view, which we were duty bound to do. He has given us what we think is very sound legal advice.”

“We [the SPFL board] sat with him on what must have been four occasions – and he was challenged from everyone,” said Topping. We wanted to make sure we were ready for any challenges subsequently. And I think we are. I think we are.

“That won’t stop people having views. It won’t stop people talking about it for years to come. It’s useless to say keep quiet. The fact is they won’t.

“There are a lot of wealthy people who support football clubs who will fund certain activities around challenges. The authorities just have to accept it and be measured in their response.”

A statement from the league’s governing body is expected to be issued next week.

Topping’s successor

Murdoch MacLennan

Topping’s successor has already been announced as media exec Murdoch MacLennan – a man who calls Andy Coulson a man of ‘integrity and honour’.

MacLennan, at the time of Coulson’s trial in 2014, said: “I have always admired Andy’s professionalism. He has huge achievements to his name at the News of the World which are easy in the current climate to forget. He is very loyal and I believe this has earned him a great deal of loyalty.”

Coulson was hired to do PR for the Telegraph, by his loyal friend MacLennan, after the former News of the World exec was jailed for 18 months following the phone-hacking scandal.

In 2015, MacLennan was criticised by Peter Oborne, former chief political correspondent at the Daily Telegraph, for allowing commercial interests to affect the paper’s editorial coverage with MacLennan blocking ‘negative’ stories about HSBC tax affairs – a lucrative advertiser of the paper.

Will the SPFL’s incoming chairman put commercial interests before sporting integrity as his predecessor has? His working practices at the Telegraph seems to say he would.

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  • Reply Davie T July 15, 2017 at 11:27 am

    And hows gonna pay to defend any legal challenge the spfl board cause its there choice and isnt it good were getting rid of this toady but Jezz who appointed the new Clown, and we should chase topping and his crew for colussion with this cheating

  • Reply Stuart Hamilton July 15, 2017 at 12:04 pm

    Is this the same Ralph Topping that held a rangers season ticket, and is a member of the FreeMasons ? Asking for a friend 🍀🍀🍀

  • Reply Stevie July 15, 2017 at 2:04 pm

    Celtic fans should use the Champions League group stage (if we qualify) to highlight the corruption in Scottish football with banners about how bent the SPFL and SFA is and how the cheating has gone unpunished.

  • Reply Kevin July 25, 2017 at 2:49 am

    Celtic fans from birth season ticket for 30+ & ive really had enough of this brain draining nonsense ! I wish we could just get on with football again , in the 10 year they used ebt we won more than they did so I cringe at this pathetic argument of sporting advantage its like bad loser stuff x 50 !! So do we find something to moan about with their other 100 odd trophies ?
    Lets just get on with it & stop the childish squabeling

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