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D-day for Rangers as club awaits verdict over title-stripping

Rangers will discover today if the club's use of the Employee Benefit Trust tax avoidance scheme has been found to breach Scottish Premier League registration rules.

At noon, the verdict of Lord Nimmo Smith's indepen-dent commission will be published and, if appropriate, will include any sanctions.

The SPL will not receive the written judgment until 10am, with the publication embargoed until midday. Herald Sport understands that Rangers will also receive the report at the same time, and there is a right of appeal to the Scottish Football Association. However, the SPL are not expected to hold a press conference since Neil Doncaster, the chief executive, is out of the country on business.

Potentially at stake are the five SPL titles that Rangers won during the EBT scheme, since title-stripping is one of the 18 sanctions open to Lord Nimmo Smith, if he finds Rangers guilty of registration breaches.

During talks last summer about Rangers' involvement in Scottish football, the SPL asked the club to accept title-stripping in return for the granting of an SFA licence, which was refused. However, fines and other possible sanctions are available.

Herald Sport also understands that in the event of clubs voting in favour of league reconstruction, the corporate body that will run the proposed Scottish Professional Football League will be a rebranded SPL. The SPL Ltd company will change its name, and redraft its articles of association and rule book, should all 42 clubs vote in favour of a single body.

The Scottish Football League, founded in 1890, would then cease to exist. The preference is to retain the SPL Ltd company number to avoid having to novate – the legal term for both parties agreeing to substitute a new contract for an old one – all of the SPL's commercial deals, including the television agreements. Having to novate them would leave broadcasters with room to renegotiate terms.

The SFL is also an unincorporated company, essentially a private members club, whereas the SPL is a corporate body. All of the players in Scottish football are contracted to either the SPL or the SFL, so establishing a new company would involve more legal work than retaining one of the two companies that runs the two leagues due to merge.

The SPL expect their auditors to file their annual accounts today, which is the final deadline.

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