Saturday, October 29, 2011

Should Rangers get a "Swindon"?

Speculation is rife that The Huns will go into administration any day now. Credit lines exhausted, cash running out, it seems a likely outcome for them. Excuse me whilst I buy some fireworks. Anyway, on top of all that, the HMRC case against them resumes in November and given the nature of what they are accused of, if found guilty, what should their punishment from the footballing authorities be? I don't often re-print stuff on here but I think this makes interesting reading regarding Swindon Town:

Macari is replaced with ex-Argentinian international and World Cup winner Ossie Ardiles - but the club is rocked with a bombshell just three weeks before the season starts, when The People publishes revelations that chairman Brian Hillier put money on Swindon winning Division Three in 1987, as an insurance policy for player bonuses. The allegations seemed to affect performances on the pitch - and the Town win just one of the first seven games, and are 21st in the table. Eventually though, Ardiles' passing style and diamond formation begin to work, and they drop just four points in the next nine games - despite the sale of Phil King, who is surprisingly bought by Sheffield Wednesday for a record £400,000. The allegations then get worse - and Hillier is accused of putting money on the Town to lose in the FA Cup game at Newcastle two years previously. When he is found guilty, he is banned from football for six months - which is increased to three years on appeal. Macari is fined £1,000 for his part in the scandal - and when he chooses to appeal, West Ham force his resignation. Swindon's performances again suffer, and they pick up just two points in the five games that follow the announcement. A decent start to the year puts Swindon back on track, but The People deliver a third blow, this time alleging illegal payments to players. Despite the turmoil though, the Town beat table-topping Leeds to go into third place, and at the end of the season, they finish fourth - their highest league position ever - to go into the play-offs. Shortly before the last game of the season, another bombshell hits, when Hillier, Macari, captain Colin Calderwood and secretary Vince Farrar are all arrested and questioned by Inland Revenue officials over a tax fraud conspiracy. Calderwood is released without charge, and the others are given bail - on the pitch, the Town go on to defeat Blackburn over two legs to reach the final at Wembley, where they will play for only the second time in their history. In a match they completely dominate, Alan McLoughlin scores the only goal - a deflected effort - to defeat Sunderland and win promotion to the First Division. The joy is short-lived though, as just ten days later, the Football League decide to demote the Town two divisions, after they admit 36 breaches of League rules - 35 of which are related to illegal payments. The Swindon board immediately appeal, but High Court action is dropped due to lack of funding - and the fans protest, thousands signing a "1st not 3rd" petition. The FA Appeal Panel reduce the demotion to just one division, and Swindon are denied their first-ever taste of top flight football. Hillier was eventually jailed, whilst Farrar and former club secretary Dave King received suspended sentences.

What is clear is that corruption and tax evasion were rife at Swindon and they were eventually caught. The punishment from the footballing authorities? Demoted two divisions. Promoted up one on appeal. Now, this begs the question, how different is what they did to what The Huns are accused of? Forget the gambling(Aye we noticed you Macari ya bastard), Swindon players evaded tax and were paid money they should not have been. That really is not different to what The Huns are accused of is it?

So, given that the penalty for administration is to be deducted 10 points, liquidation/new company formed is deduction of 25 points, are we to assume that the penalty for tax evasion and illegal payments to players, this time through the Employess Benefts Trust, is to be demoted two divisions?

I better get a two boxes of matches.

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