Football - Celtic surprised Rangers were allowed to keep titles

Celtic are surprised that arch-rivals Rangers were deemed to have gained no competitive advantage for making undisclosed payments to players and staff from 2000-11, the Scottish Premier League leaders said on Friday.


Former champions Rangers were fined 250,000 pounds ($375,300) by the Scottish Premier League (SPL) on Thursday although the Glasgow club were told they could keep the titles they won during the 11-year period the payments were made.

"We note yesterday's decision that Rangers FC has been found guilty of contravening the SPL rules on disclosure of payments," Celtic said in a statement.

"The scale of this amounts to a deliberate non-disclosure of 47 million pounds in payments to players and staff.

"Like many within Scottish football, including supporters and other observers, we are surprised by the parallel conclusion that no competitive advantage was gained from these arrangements."

An investigation by an independent commission looked into an offshore employee benefits trust (EBT) operated by Rangers that was used to make payments to players and staff in the form of tax-free loans.

Rangers, who had to relaunch from the fourth tier of Scottish football this season after collapsing with huge debts, won the SPL five times while the EBT was running.

($1 = 0.6662 British pounds)

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