Rangers demise could be 'tip of iceberg'


A number of Premier League clubs could follow Glasgow Rangers into administration following claims official investigations have been launched regarding unpaid tax.

Rangers appointed administrators Duff and Phelps at 14:50 on Tuesday after HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) lodged a petition over alleged non-payment of around £9 million in PAYE and VAT.

Craig Whyte, owner of the Scottish champions, reportedly said on Monday that the potential liability to HMRC could reach up to £75 million if the club lost its tribunal regarding a disputed tax bill.

After entering administration, Rangers have been deducted 10 points, which seemingly ends their chances of winning the SPL this season.

This news has, once again, brought the financial dealings of football clubs into sharp focus, with Rangers the most high profile side to so far face administration.

These problems, however, could spread further afield and numerous clubs in the Premier League may face administration amid reports that Rangers are not the only club to have been Employment Benefit Trusts.

EBTs allow foreign players to have their wages paid into a trust, withdrawing the money when they no longer live in Britain and, hence, avoiding the country's 50 percent tax rate on high earners.

These have been declared illegal and are seen as a way to avoid paying millions of pounds in tax and National Insurance on player wage bills.

"Rangers may be the tip of the iceberg," football finance expert Dr Chris Brady told The Sun.

"EBTs became popular with clubs as a means of reducing crippling wage bills.

"We believe at least eight current or former Premier League clubs are being investigated."

Portsmouth remain the only club to have called in the administrators in the Premier League, and were subsequently relegated following a nine point deduction in March 2010.

The south coast club are, once again, in severe trouble and will apply to go in administration on Friday with bank accounts frozen following a winding-up order from HMRC.

But, it would appear, they may not be the only English club in such a situation and, if reports are to be believed, the Premier League landscape could change significantly before the end of the season.

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