Author Archive Trisidium

ByTrisidium

Here we go again

I think everyone on SFM knew that when the new club won its first trophy, whatever that trophy was, the old “same club” mantra would surface. Over the years, and since the nature of the debate is in the “santa exists” ballpark, we have largely discouraged discussion of it.

On the “old club” side, that reluctance to debate is largely because there is little value in arguing the toss with someone who either ;

  • knows the idea is preposterous, but won’t admit it for whatever reason; or
  • has been lied to by the person at (a) above and can’t be bothered to look at the facts for themselves.

On the “new club” side, the discouragement to discuss is mainly because we are in the main already equipped with the facts, and there seems little need to go over them again and again.

So why republish stevensanph’s blog and Hirsute Pursuit’s response from almost a decade ago?

Well firstly because it is an excellent piece of forensic scrutiny cutting through the fog which had begun to be induced by the MSM merely weeks after they had unanimously heralded the death of the old club.

Secondly because it was written as a response to the (at the time very unpopular) decision we made on SFM to close down the debate on the subject (for the reason stated above.

And lastly because the course of the truth – even if it is only shifted by a few degrees – can get completely lost as time goes by. Consequently, there are possibly many who take sides because of a leap of faith. This is a course-correction that demonstrates the absence of any need to do so.

So here then is a reprise of stevensanph’s remarks from 2013, on his own blog.


The Newco/Oldco debate has been ended over on TSFM, with the deletion of the excellent post from HirsutePursuit marking the end.  While some think we need to keep reinforcing the message that its a totally new club, others are bored of the subject, so I can’t blame TSFM for wanting to move on.

Personally – I have read all the arguments – I am yet to be shown any factual proof that Green’s Gers are the old club.  People will, and can believe whatever they want.  For Rangers fans who want to believe its the same club, then, as long as they are happy, then fine.  However, on paper, and in law, its a  new club, and thats all that I care about!

TSFM posters wanting to continue the debate can do so below following on from HP’s excellent deleted post!

TSFM

This blog, as far as I have been concerned, is widely regarded as a forum for people who wish to highlight the inequalities and skewed reporting of the issues within the Scottish football arena. If it is not, perhaps you can make it clear what you see as its purpose.

Perhaps the biggest ever story within the Scottish game has been the circumstances surrounding the demise of Rangers Football Club. It is a multi-layered story and one that that is still moving. In many ways, it may be a story that is only just beginning.

Central to the debate (that should be completely on-topic) for this blog, is whether or not the authorities (at all levels) have acted in an equitable manner and whether or not the “free press” have given life to events in a truthful and balanced way.

With absolute regard to these matters, there is a fundamental issue surrounding the status of the club incorporated in 2012 and currently playing in the 3rd division of the Scottish Football League.

If you genuinely believe that the club incorporated in 2012 are the same club as was founded in 1872/1873 then you have every right to be outraged at the behaviour of the footballing authorities. You will probably accept that UEFA were right to “ban” the club from European competitions because of its holding company’s insolvency event; but feel completely persecuted by your fellow Scottish clubs who demoted your team to the arse-end of the game. You will see this “demotion” as a punishment far too severe for the actions of the rogue ex-owner of the club’s former “holding company”. To compound matters, you will see the LNS enquiry as just another opportunity for the clubs who have already revelled in meting out a severe punishment, to have another fly-kick. You would, no doubt, believe that whatever the previous owner of the club’s “holding company” did in terms of player payments, the trophies were won fairly by the club on the field of play and can never be taken away. You will be – in the main – satisfied with the narrative of the “free press” in referring to your club as the same entity as played in the SPL.

All of the attitudes and beliefs rely 100% on the tenet of a “club” existing as a separate entity from the legal entity (“company”) responsible for a football team.

If you genuinely believe that the club incorporated in 2012 are a different club as was founded in 1872/1873 then you will still have every right to be outraged at the behaviour of the footballing authorities. UEFA would rightly refuse European Club Licence for the new club – if one was applied for – as the new club do not meet the criteria; but you will feel completely let down by the self-serving nature of the SPL and the weakness shown by the SFA in attempting to place the new club in the top tier of Scottish football. You will see the new club’s fast-track acceptance into the SFL as without precedent and their award of full member status (of the SFA) as against existing rules. You will wonder how – when the members of the SFL voted to give them associate membership as new club – the SFL executive list them on their website as the old club. As the old club had ceased footballing activities in June, there should have been no SFA membership or SPL share to transfer in August. Since the old club is no more, you will not recognise any punishment for the actions of the rogue ex-owner of the club. You will see the LNS enquiry as an opportunity for some sort of justice in relation to years of outrageous cheating by the now dead club. You will think that trophies and prize-money were stolen from clubs who played by the rules. You will think that a correction of results is simply a consequence of the old club being found guilty of cheating. You will probably think that the LNS enquiry has nothing to do with the new club; but may wonder if the enquiry orders the repayment of the old club’s prize-money, would this create a new “football debt” that has to be repaid by the new club to continue using the old club’s SFA membership? You will be aghast at the apparent repeated mis-reporting of the situation by the “free press”.

All of the attitudes and beliefs rely 100% on the tenet of a “club” being the legal entity (“company”) responsible for a football team.

You may feel that these positions are “just a matter of opinion” and do not ultimately matter.

I disagree. The indeterminate status of the club incorporated in 2012 is a huge sore in the Scottish football landscape. This is the biggest story that just cannot go away. If the schism created by this sense of injustice is not resolved, Scottish football will implode. Attitudes may already be too entrenched; but that should not stop us trying to find a way forward.

The principal difficulty (again totally on topic) is that it appears – from both sides of the debate) -that people in positions of power within the game have made decisions that cannot be justified by their rules and articles of association.

We can – as you wish us to – stop talking about the status of the club incorporated in 2012, or we can continue to argue our respective positions as a crucial factor in this controversy.

In my view we can only hold the SFA, SPL and SFL to account if we insist that a definitive answer to all of the important questions are given.

The status of the club incorporated in 2012 is – in my view – a simple matter of fact. It is only because it is being considered to be a matter of opinion that we are where we are.

The Origins of the concept of  a football club having an owner from whom it can be separated and its subsequent misuse by the SPL/SFA in 2012.

The following are taken from a well informed contributor to SFM who points out that pre 2005 no such concept existed in SPL rules and the meaning subsequently applied by LNS and The 5 Way Agreement is a danger  to the fundamental integrity of the Scottish football industry and its member clubs.


The very short version of what follows is this:



The SPL articles state that its definitions and expressions need to be given the meanings as described in the Companies Act 2006.

The Companies Act 2006 says that an “undertaking” is “a body corporate” i.e. a company.

Lord Nimmo Smith has ignored this definition and instead accepted (or created) an alternative meaning for “undertaking” (as used in Article 2) which is fundamental to the concept of being able to separate Club from Company.

The principle of Club and company being distinct entities was expressly stated in the commissions terms of reference.

Lord Nimmo Smith has accepted the terms of reference as “facts”.

The SPL articles and rules apply to Clubs and to their “owners & operators”.

LNS asserts that the Club “Rangers FC” was owned & operated by Rangers Football Club plc.

He asserts that the Club “Rangers FC” transferred from Rangers Football Club plc to Sevco Scotland Ltd.

The Club (if found guilty) is still liable for the alleged breaches of SPL rules, even though the Club is no longer a member of the SPL.

He asserts that Sevco Scotland Ltd – as the new owner & operator of the Club – have a material interest in his commissions findings.

However…

Instead of his accepting LNS logic that allows the ethereal Club to be transferred between companies, the truth is – read in conjunction with the Companies Act 2006 – Article 2 really says that the Club is the “body corporate”. The Club is the Company.

The Club is Rangers Football Club plc. That Club is in liquidation.

Since Sevco Scotland Ltd did not purchase Rangers Football Club plc, Sevco Scotland did not buy the Club.

*On the simple basis of Sevco Scotland’s purchase of Rangers FC’s assets, the Commission cannot legally apply sanctions that would fall to Sevco Scotland for remedy.

This issue should have been fairly straightforward. We need to understand why it is not.

It is surprising to me that an experienced high court judge accepted the commission’s terms of reference without first checking its validity. It would be interesting to understand if the statement of reasons was really his own thoughts or a re-hash of the SPL legal advice that framed the commissions work.

It does not surprise me that the SPL have framed the commission in the way that they have. The “transferable Club” logic was first used to unsuccessfully argue that Newco should have Oldco’s share in the SPL. They are acting in their own commercial interest. Sporting Integrity has never been high on their agenda. We know what they are about.

It is hugely disappointing – but perhaps not surprising – that the SFA have not stepped in to clarify matters. Conflicted and/or incompetent probably best sums up its contribution.

Longer version.

The SPL – essentially as a trade association – will correctly do what they can to maximise revenue for their members. It falls to the SFA – as the game’s regulators – to ensure that the SPL’s existing procedures, articles and rules are adhered to.

It is almost without dispute that the SPL have not functioned well in following protocol. The SFA have been incredibly weak in insisting that they do so. In fact the SFA – by being party to the 5-way agreement – are themselves seemingly complicit in going off-plan. Again, regardless of your own beliefs and agenda, the SPL (by their actions) and the SFA (by their inactions) are not TRUSTED to act as fair brokers.

Lord Nimmo Smith is due to reconvene his enquiry in just over a week’s time. When writing my previous (and quickly deleted) post earlier in the week, my mind was already moving towards (what I consider to be) the insurmountable difficulty the retired High Court judge will face in steering his commission to a logical conclusion.

In football parlance, I fear that the SPL have given him a “hospital pass” that will eventually leave him just as damaged as the game. I had already prepared an outline of why I think his enquiry will ultimately flounder; but, wonder if this topic too will fall foul of the new censorship policy on this blog.

As I think Lord Nimmo Smith’s remit is an important point that needs discussion – and out of respect to those people who have supported this blog as the spiritual successor of RTC – I will attempt to post my thoughts here first. If this post gets removed or doesn’t get past moderation, I’ll do as TSFM (Big Pink?) suggested earlier and find another, more open, forum to engage in.

I apologise in advance for the length of this post; but the points, I think, are fairly straightforward. Please do bear with me.

We should probably start at the SPL Press Release of 12th September 2012:

Independent Commission Preliminary Hearing
The Commission has considered all the preliminary issues raised in the list submitted by Newco and points raised in letters from solicitors acting for Newco and for Oldco. It has decided:

1. The Commission will proceed with its inquiry in the terms of the Notice of Commission and will now set a date for a hearing and give directions.

2. Oldco and Rangers FC, who are named in the Issues contained in the Notice of Commission and alleged to have been in breach of SPL rules, will continue to have the right to appear and be represented at all hearings of the Commission and to make such submissions as they think fit.

3. Newco, as the current owner and operator of Rangers FC, although not alleged by the SPL to have committed any breach of SPL Rules, will also have the right to appear and be represented at all hearings of the Commission and to make such submissions as it thinks fit.

4. Written reasons for this decision will be made available in due course.

Further to the decision made today the Commission make the following procedural orders:

1. We set a date for a hearing to commence on Tuesday 13 November 2012 with continuations from day to day as may be required until Friday 16 November 2012. We will also allocate Tuesday 20 and Wednesday 21 November 2012 as additional dates should any further continuation be required.

2. We direct that the solicitors for The Scottish Premier League Limited lodge any documents, additional to those already lodged, together with an outline argument and a list of witnesses by 4 pm on Friday 19 October 2012.

3. We direct that Oldco, Newco or any other person claiming an interest and wishing to appear and be represented at the hearing give intimation to that effect and lodge any documents together with an outline argument and a list of witnesses, all by 4 pm on Thursday 1 November 2012.

4. We direct that intimation of the aforesaid decision and of these directions be made to the solicitors for Oldco and Newco.

No further comment will be made.

Couple of points worth noting:
1. The Commission will proceed with its inquiry in the terms of the Notice of Commission and will now set a date for a hearing and give directions.

2. Oldco and Rangers FC, who are named in the Issues contained in the Notice of Commission and alleged to have been in breach of SPL rules

So it is clear here that Oldco and Rangers FC have, in the terms of the Notice of Commission, been described as separate entities. It is important to realise that this distinction is made before the commission has had any opportunity to consider the circumstances.

This is a non-negotiable “fact” – as supplied by the SPL – that LNS either accepts or stands aside. He has chosen to accept it.

This “fact” was later given reasoning by way of the Commission’s Statement of Reasons and carried the names of the Commission members:

History
[3] Rangers Football Club was founded in 1872 as an association football club. It was incorporated in 1899 as The Rangers Football Club Limited. In recent years the company’s name was changed to The Rangers Football Club Plc, and it is now called RFC 2012 Plc (in administration). In line with the terminology used in the correspondence between the parties, we shall refer to this company as “Oldco”.


[4] The SPL was incorporated in 1998. Its share capital consists of sixteen shares of £1 each, of which twelve have been issued. Oldco was one of the founding members of the SPL, and remained a member until 3 August 2012 when the members of the SPL approved the registration of a transfer of its share in the SPL to The Dundee Football Club Limited. Each of the twelve members owns and operates an association football club which plays in the Scottish Premier League (“the League”). The club owned and operated by Oldco played in the League from 1998 until 2012 under the name of Rangers Football Club (“Rangers FC”).

[33] It is now necessary to quote some of the provisions of the Articles of the SPL. Article 2 contains definitions which, so far as relevant are:
“Club means the undertaking of an association football club which is, for the time being, entitled, in accordance with the Rules, to participate in the League

Company means The Scottish Premier League Limited

League means the combination of Clubs known as the Scottish Premier League operated by the Company in accordance with the Rules

Rules mean the Rules for the time being of the League

Share means a share of the Company and Share Capital and Shareholding”.

[37] It is also necessary to quote certain of the Rules. Rule I1 provides definitions of various terms in the Rules. Of these, we refer to the following:
Club means an association football club, other than a Candidate Club, which is, for the time being, eligible to participate in the League and, except where the context otherwise requires, includes the owner and operator of such club

[46] It will be recalled that in Article 2 “Club” is defined in terms of “the undertaking of an association football club”, and in Rule I1 it is defined in terms of an association football club which is, for the time being, eligible to participate in the League, and includes the owner and operator of such Club. Taking these definitions together, the SPL and its members have provided, by contract, that a Club is an undertaking which is capable of being owned and operated. While it no doubt depends on individual circumstances what exactly is comprised in the undertaking of any particular Club, it would at the least comprise its name, the contracts with its players, its manager and other staff, and its ground, even though these may change from time to time. In common speech a Club is treated as a recognisable entity which is capable of being owned and operated, and which continues in existence despite its transfer to another owner and operator. In legal terms, it appears to us to be no different from any other undertaking which is capable of being carried on, bought and sold. This is not to say that a Club has legal personality, separate from and additional to the legal personality of its owner and operator. We are satisfied that it does not, and Mr McKenzie did not seek to argue otherwise. So a Club cannot, lacking legal personality, enter into a contract by itself. But it can be affected by the contractual obligations of its owner and operator. It is the Club, not its owner and operator, which plays in the League. Under Rule A7.1.1 the Club is bound to comply with all relevant rules. The Rules clearly contemplate the imposition of sanctions upon a Club, in distinction to a sanction imposed upon the owner or operator. That power must continue to apply even if the owner and operator at the time of breach of the Rules has ceased to be a member of the SPL and its undertaking has been transferred to another owner and operator. While there can be no question of subjecting the new owner and operator to sanctions, there are sanctions which could be imposed in terms of the Rules which are capable of affecting the Club as a continuing entity (even though not an entity with legal personality), and which thus might affect the interest of the new owner and operator in it. For these reasons we reject the arguments advanced in paragraphs 2 and 6 of the list of preliminary issues.

Here we were introduced to a few new ideas:
1. That SPL members “own and operate” association football clubs
2. That “Rangers Football Club” was “owned and operated” by Oldco (Rangers Football Club plc).
3. Club means the undertaking of an association football club
4. An “undertaking” is “a recognisable entity which is capable of being owned and operated, and which continues in existence despite its transfer to another owner and operator. “
5. “A Club cannot, lacking legal personality, enter into a contract by itself. “
6. “A Club is an undertaking which is capable of being owned and operated.”

So, the principle, by which Lord Nimmo Smith, purports to connect Oldco and Newco is by the alleged transference of a non-corporate entity between the two owners and operators of the “Club”. The Club is the non-corporate entity he identified as the “undertaking” referred to in Article 2.

However, this is where he gets into some very serious difficulty. It is very strange that – when quoting the relevant articles – the retired High Court Judge did not notice or think the following did not have a part to play.

2. In these Articles:-
2006 Act means the Companies Act 2006 including any statutory modification or re-enactments thereof for the time being in force;

4. Unless the context otherwise requires, words or expressions contained in these Articles bear the same meaning as in the 2006 Act but excluding any statutory modification thereof not in force when these Articles or the relevant parts thereof are adopted.

The SPL articles make specific reference to the Companies Act 2006. Specifically “words or expressions contained in these Articles bear the same meaning as in the 2006 Act”
So when the articles refer to “undertaking” we must refer to the 2006 Act to check what meaning we should apply. If we do so, we find:

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2006/46/section/1161

1161Meaning of “undertaking” and related expressions

(1)In the Companies Acts “undertaking” means—
__(a)a body corporate or partnership, or
__(b)an unincorporated association carrying on a trade or business, with or without a view to profit.

(2)In the Companies Acts references to shares—
__(a)in relation to an undertaking with capital but no share capital, are to rights to share in the capital of the undertaking; and
__(b)in relation to an undertaking without capital, are to interests—
____(i)conferring any right to share in the profits or liability to contribute to the losses of the undertaking, or
____(ii)giving rise to an obligation to contribute to the debts or expenses of the undertaking in the event of a winding up.

(3)Other expressions appropriate to companies shall be construed, in relation to an undertaking which is not a company, as references to the corresponding persons, officers, documents or organs, as the case may be, appropriate to undertakings of that description.

This is subject to provision in any specific context providing for the translation of such expressions.

(4)References in the Companies Acts to “fellow subsidiary undertakings” are to undertakings which are subsidiary undertakings of the same parent undertaking but are not parent undertakings or subsidiary undertakings of each other.

(5)In the Companies Acts “group undertaking”, in relation to an undertaking, means an undertaking which is—
__(a)a parent undertaking or subsidiary undertaking of that undertaking, or
__(b)a subsidiary undertaking of any parent undertaking of that undertaking.

Everything that LNS uses to connect Newco to Oldco relies on a Club being a non-corporate entity. Without that interpretation, his original acceptance of the commissions remit would look very foolish. In my opinion, the commission’s statement of Reasons were always poorly framed

Using the 2006 Act – as it appears it is bound to do – I cannot see how any interpretation of “undertaking” can be used in the context of the SPL articles, other than “a body corporate”.

If I am correct and the correct interpretation of an undertaking in this context is “body corporate”, SPL Article 2, specifically (and quite clearly) states that a Club is the company. Since the Club that played in the SPL is in liquidation and the current version of Rangers has never been a member of the SPL, any attempt to sanction the new club for the sins of the old will be laughed out of court.

The real question – for me at least – is why has this ridiculous proposition has been put forward in the first place? Perhaps we can assume that the SPL chose to frame the commission’s remit in this way for purely commercial reasons; but, more worryingly, why have the SFA allowed it to progress?

ByTrisidium

Resolution 12 & The Broken Bond

Celtic Shareholders who put forward a resolution to the Celtic AGM in 2013 are preparing for the 2019 AGM tomorrow and some of their conclusions are reproduced below. Celtic are planning to vote the current resolution of 2019 down after several years of kicking the can down the road after an agreement to adjourn the 2013 motion was agreed at that AGM.

Given the weight of evidence, and the prevarication that has gone on for this extended period of time, you don’t have to be a student of politics to infer that Celtic are failing their own shareholders over this.

There appears to have been, at best, a failure of SFA governance over this issue. At worst? Well that doesn’t really bear thinking about. That Celtic (and other clubs too) have been in possession of the evidence outlined below but have failed to act on it is a damning indictment of the quality of people running our clubs. Peter Lawwell’s words from 2008 about the integrity of competition seem hollow coming from the same lips as the man who has failed to pursue any kind of sporting integrity over upholding the rules of the game.

Of course we are talking about a fundamental difference in how people see the game. There are those of us who (some say naively) consider that upholding the aspects of fair play and competition are paramount, and those who see the commercial aspects of the game as the foremost consideration. A pragmatist might find a way to accommodate both, but there are apparently no pragmatists in boardrooms all over Scotland – just financial accountants.

It would be unfair to categorise the latter constituency as suffering from some kind of character defect of course. Doesn’t make you a bad person because short term financial gain is your thing.

But it puts you at odds with the paying punters – or at least some of them. As a Celtic fan myself, I’m not so sure that I can take any real joy from my own club’s success if I have come to the conclusion that they themselves are happy with a rigged competition. I am not so sure I can credibly throw stones at anyone who is caught cheating when I see that serious evidence of malpractice is being ignored and hidden under the rug by my own club.

I am sure there are those who feel the same as I do. Are there enough of us? Probably not, but the effect of it all from a personal perspective, is that it disconnects me from the process where common goals and objectives are shared between fans, players and clubs. That’s what clubs are for after all isn’t it?

In short, if the game is rigged, there is no common objective.

And consequently, many of us, deprived of that shared mission, that bond broken, will be forced to re-evaluate their relationship with their clubs.

We all have our own thoughts, but the urge to walk away forever is strong with me.

Read More

ByTrisidium

Celtic’s Questions to Answer

There are a number of quite separate elements in the allegations of corruption which have been made against our Football Governance bodies and some of our clubs.

There is the allegation that RFC of 1872 lied to the Licensing Committee of the SFA about their tax indebtedness as at 31 March 2011;

there is the allegation that the Licensing Committee either colluded in that lie or, through carelessness and incompetence, simply accepted what RFC of 1872 told them , and passed that on to UEFA without any check as to its truthfulness and accuracy. The result of that was that RFC of 1872 was awarded a UEFA Competitions Licence to which, under the strict rules, they were not entitled.

The SFA has thus far refused to open up an independent investigation into all that was involved in the application made for that licence.

That refusal raised and continues to raise suspicions that the SFA has something to hide. [RFC of 1872 is in Liquidation, and TRFC are quite a different legal entity so are not involved and can legitimately say ‘nothing to do with us, Squire!’.. except, of course that some of the personnel involved in TRFC were also involved with RFC of 1872…at the material time.

As a football matter, until there is a full, independent investigation into the Licence matter, then the SFA is under a cloud of suspicion, and so are the then members of the Licensing Committee.

And as a football matter, the resistance by Celtic FC to the request that they insist on a full independent investigation being carried out within the football context is indicative of an unwillingness , rather than an inability, to do so. And that puts Celtic FC under suspicion of underhand complicity in a dirty football cheating arrangement.

And since no other club has raised any hue and cry about dirty work at the footballing crossroads [and the late Turnbull Hutton must have been sickened at their supine rolling-over], they all are under suspicion of consenting to dirty deeds destructive of the very essence of what their businesses are predicated upon being done in their name.

Taking the matter out of the football context and into the world of corporate business, there is the allegation that the Sports Governance body may knowingly and with deliberation colluded in fraud to obtain money by falsely representing to UEFA on behalf of a member club (RFC of 1872) that that club was entitled to a Licence to participate in a competition the mere participation in which would guarantee a financial gain for that club of £xM, with the possibility of £x+M more if the club achieved any kind of sporting success in the competition.

The consequence of any such alleged false representation was that the properly entitled club was denied such a Licence, and therefore was, in effect, cheated out of at least £xM.

Since that properly entitled club is a PLC, the Board of that club are required, required, by law to protect the interests of its shareholders.

It is not for the Board of Celtic plc to decide that the loss, in circumstances where there are prima facie grounds for suspecting that there may have been fraud and deceit [or even incompetence] involving some millions of pounds, should not be investigated.

It is not for the Celtic Board to try to kick a shareholders’ requisitioned resolution at an AGM into touch indefinitely without explanation, debate, and a vote.

It is failure by the Celtic Board to give adequate and justified and sufficient reasons as to why they have not insisted on such investigation that arouses suspicion in the mind of shareholders ,to whom they are accountable, that they too have something to hide.

This whole UEFA licence matter cannot be dismissed and corrected and put right until full investigation of the allegations is made, resulting in a proper assessment as to the truth or otherwise of the allegations.

The other allegation of corruption , namely that a huge lie was manufactured to try to have a brand new club regarded as being one and the same as the RFC of 1872 , and as being entitled to the sporting achievements of that failed club which currently exists as a liquidated football club, can be fixed almost overnight!

All the SFA has to do is renounce that part of a very dubious, highly secretive (and possibly illegal in itself) binding agreement under which it exceeded its legitimate Governance powers by awarding sporting honours and entitlements to a club that had not existed long enough to earn any one of them on the sports field.!

In doing so the SFA Board made a farcical mockery of the very idea of sporting competition and of their role as guardians of the Sport.

Let the SFA state publicly and with suitable apology that they gravely erred in so doing, and that the record books of the SFA (and the SPFL in consequence) will show that the Liquidated RFC ceased to be able to add to their impressive list of such honours and titles on the day they died as a football club.

Doing that will not, of course, save anyone from possible criminal investigation in relation to the Res 12 matter if that matter has to be referred to Police Scotland, but it would enable some kind of return to sane and proper and honest sports governance.

I will add one other remark. I have been posting for seven years or thereabouts about the cheating RFC of SDM and CW, and of the (what I believe to have been ) underlying dishonesty of the RIFC IPO prospectus and the blindness of the SMSM.

I would be some kind of hypocritical liar if I were to attempt to excuse or turn a blind eye to the possibility that the Celtic Board have questions to answer.

I think they do have questions to answer, but have shown a marked reluctance to do so.

And, as both a shareholder and supporter, I object to that.

ByTrisidium

End of the Road for King?

Since Dave King & Co took over TRFC a year and a few months ago, there have been, almost daily, reports of the imminent demise of the club, or King, or both. At the same time, again on a daily basis, there have been those who proclaimed the imminent ascendancy of the club to the top of the pile.

Up to now I have subscribed to neither theory on the basis that the former was wishful thinking based on very little evidence, and that the latter was something that Santa had passed on just before he disappeared up the chimney. Read More

ByTrisidium

Accountability via Transparency.

Where transparency exists accountability inevitably follows.​

This is an extract from a post on SFM from 2015. The subject was Transparency and Slow Glass

The message then was that football governance has to catch up in realising that football has to become more transparent in its dealing with supporters and so more accountable to them.
That transparency is already here via social media because of the ability to share, but the light of truth is constrained by Slow Glass.
Slow Glass from a short story by Bob Shaw slows down the light passing through it.
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Light_of_Other_Days
In the story and others, you have Slow Glass of different thickness in terms of the time it takes for the light to emerge.
You have Glass a day thick/long to Glass ten years thick/long and more.

Resolution 12, if measured from the Celtic AGM in 2013 when it was tabled and adjourned, has taken 6 years for the light of truth to emerge, although it could have happened sooner had main stream media removed the dust of PR that slows the light, but light is inexorable and it is emerging at an archive of events since 2011 that can be read at

https://www.res12.uk/ 

It is in two parts.

Part One
relates to events in 2011/12 including a very interesting link between UEFA Licence 2011 and the commissioning of Lord Nimmo Smith to investigate use of EBTs with side letters by Rangers FC where non-disclosure benefited Rangers FC in 2011 AND 2012.


Part Two
concentrates SFA activity (or lack of it) from 2014 to date as result of the adjournment of Resolution 12 in November 2013 that provided shareholders with the authority to seek answers.
The archive has been constructed in chronological sequence to help readers understand better the detail and separate what took place in 2011/12 which is in the past, from the SFA handling of shareholders legitimate enquiries from 2014/15 to date, which remains current and is a mirror of SFA performance in respect of the national football team.
Many narratives will emerge as a result of the transparency, some Celtic related, but a system of governance, that is accountable in some way to supporters as stakeholders in the game, can only benefit the supporters of all clubs and they are encouraged to read through the archive.

As Phil Mac Giolla Bhain has written here in respect of Celtic and the SFA

Resolution 12 information on new website

accountability has to be the outcome of transparency to wipe the face and soul of Scottish football clean.

How that is achieved will be up to Scottish football supporters everywhere to take forward via their Associations and Trusts, in collaboration with the clubs they support, but it does seem to me, and I know others with more legal experience, that the SFA would find it difficult to resist a challenge to their refusal to engage with people (in this case minority shareholders of member clubs) who are affected by decisions that they make.

ByTrisidium

Peace – Not War

We normally don’t talk about on-field stuff on SFM, but given the over-optimistic coverage of the prospects of TRFC (particularly in the ESJ © The Clumpany  and DR) it is worth noting that since they beat Celtic on penalties in last year’s Scottish Cup semi final, they have played in four huge games which were real barometers of progress ;

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ByTrisidium

Dear Mr Bankier

Readers may be aware that the group Fans Without Scarves have written to Celtic urging them to seek a review of Scottish football (See here)
On the back of that laudible effort, I have been persuaded to publish a letter I sent to that same board over a week ago (on 8 November)
At the time of publication, I have received no acknowledgment.  Some organisations are like that, of course. (I put it down to the inferior quality of the social upbringing of their boards rather than concern for their postage bill)

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ByTrisidium

Fantastic Voyage ..

.. and why sites like SFM matter.

When SFM blasted off in 2012, we had a fair idea that Scottish Football had not only veered violently off the rails,but that it had done so deliberately.

Our intention was to try to help – in some small way – to steer it towards a straighter track, and to see it restored as a sporting institution and spectacle worthy of sporting principles. To see integrity restored to our national sport, to see honesty, fairness and adherence to both the laws of the game and land.

Of course we didn’t know what route our own journey would take, even although we were clear about the destination. What we did know about the journey was that no matter the route, the first leg started outside our own front door.

Who knew we would be taken on a magical mystery tour, blindfolded, spun around a few times, but still find ourselves at that front door. Via the road less traveled, the high road, low road and an endless series of shortcuts and wrong turns we hadn’t moved an inch.

On every stage of the “journey” the SFA, the SPL, and their quasi-legal tribunals & inquiries ducked and dived, twisted and bent the truth, and aided and abetted the greatest scam in the history of UK sport.

Newly coined idioms emerged; “Imperfect registrations”, “boiler-room subsidiary”, “emerged from liquidation”, “ethereal entity”, – and the real doozy; “other clubs could also have broken the tax laws had they wished” – all in an effort to;
1. pretend that what happened had not happened, that cheating was fair, that the rights of one football club were not enshrined in law but decreed by the heavens;
2. hope against hope that the rest of us had gone stark raving bonkers and would accept the “Santa is alive” fallacy as truth.

The facts were;

  • That Rangers, having been subjected to the ignominy of administration, had now entered liquidation, leaving behind a mountain of debts, the vast majority of which were underwritten by us, by the taxpaying public.
  • That almost £100m of funds was denied to the exchequer as the first ever nationalised football club, bought and paid for by the people of the UK, slid into oblivion, a trail of devastation in its wake.
  • That in the course of that calamitous conduct of business, the SFA and the SPL were given false and incomplete information about the nature of players’ contracts. This in order to cover up a tax scheme that was (according to the man who devised it) operated incorrectly and thus unawfully.

Every football club in Scotland and their fans were cheated by a club which quite simply refused to play by the rules – even as the noose around its neck was being pulled ever tighter due to HMRC and Lloyd’s Banking Group taking steps to erect buffers ahead of the onrushing gravy train.

The result was that 140 years of history came to an end; an insatiable hunger for success ironically bringing about the ultimate and irreversible failure of a Scottish institution.

Not for them though, the recognition that they had transgressed. “It wasn’t Rangers – it was Craig White” was the cry.

I’m sure Hearts supporters in 1965 might have said the same about Willie Wallace after he missed a sitter in the final league match against Kilmarnock at Tynecastle. Had he scored, Hearts would have won the league, so Hearts should, by the RFC logic, claim that title anyway. Likewise Celtic fans could have pointed a finger at Georgios Samaras when his penalty miss at Ibrox lost them the league.

More facts: every football club in the world is the sum of its parts, onfield and off. We take the good that people do for our clubs and celebrate them. We have no right to cherry pick and ignore the consequences when people screw up.

Footballers – and administrators – are often gifted individuals given to moments of blinding inspiration which benefits their clubs. They are also often prone to reckless behaviours, the consequences of which we all have to bear. Murray’s knack of talking money out of trees and his reckless and irresponsible practices gave Rangers huge success, but that behaviour also – perhaps inevitably – led to the appointment with the buffers mentioned above.

The good and the bad. Both sides of the same coin, inseparable, inevitable, and there is no choice but to accept the whole package, not just the good bits.

In the circumstances, the hostility towards the old club was understandable. It was always a given that Celtic fans were unlikely to cut them slack as they headed towards an ignominious end.

However, had there been contrition, an acknowledgement of wrongs and some humility in response to talk of consequences, fans of other clubs outside of the Old Firm bubble may have extended some sympathy. But there was none of this. Instead, denial, arrogance, blaming others (“kicking us when we are down”, “who are these people?”) and a pugilistic reaction to the very idea of punishment. The outcome was an absence of sympathy for the plight of RFC.

Let’s revisit this; on an industrial scale, Rangers misrepresented (accidentally if you believe that the board of a PLC was comprised exclusively of halfwits and individuals unable to bite their own fingers) crucial information regarding compliance with registration rules, They subsequently withheld evidence from multiple enquiries into their conduct over these registration rules.

As far back as 1996, Rangers PAYE affairs were being investigated by HMRC and incurring penalties (not a very well publicised event).

Then, for more than a decade, principally through the 2000s they failed to comply with taxation statutes and with crucially important (not merely bureaucratic) SFA rules designed to preserve the intergity of football as a sport. They cheated the revenue out of millions and the fans of every club in Scotland out of their aspirations for their own clubs.

Rangers however were still box-office, and there were 50,000 fans providing a market for the product the now extinct club had provided through the decades. Surely someone would step in and take up the Rangers cause? Surely those people would eschew the catastrophic errors of judgement that had resulted in the economic and existential demise of the original club? Surely they would also acknowledge those mistakes in an effort to convince the clubs and fans they had wronged that this was an organisation that recognised the interdependence of sporting activity?

Surely.

But no. Sadly, no.

Even then though, that matters little.

Why? Because the sins of the old Rangers cannot be visited on the new. The behavior of the new club is a matter for a different argument, but it isn’t relevant in a legal or regulatory sense to the old club. Legally or morally there is nothing you can do to them to ensure that a repeat of the same spivish behaviour does not occur.

So why the fuss? Why the six years of relentless campaigning by SFM and dozens of other football sites?

Because it does matter that the authorities themselves – including all the other clubs – and the MSM have gone out of their way to cover it all up.

No-one at the SFA will talk to fans who have provided them with evidence of wrongdoing in the matter of the 2011 Euro licence. No one will address the witholding of evidence from the LNS enquiry, nor the false premise upon which it arrived at some of its conclusions, nor the mysteriously shifting goalposts of the period investigated by the LNS enquiry, nor the acid-flashback consciousness of the newly arrived at – and totally irregular and unlawful – “imperfect registration” status.

What still requires to be done is to root out those who have enabled the big lie. We need to hold accountable those who have sought to bury evidence, to dispense with logic and to treat fans with contempt and ridicule when legitimate concerns are raised.

We need to replace those people with people of integrity, folk who love the game as much as we do, people who will not yield to intimidation or the dog-whistle.

There are foot thick rule-books in place in football, and the authorities have plummeted into the Asimovian depths of a regulatory Fantastic Voyage to circumvent those. The SFA Chief Executive even told our own John Clark that he would “do nothing” had he been presented with evidence of wrong doing (and he had been presented with such evidence).

Yet one simple rule would have saw the whole sorry escapade brought to a halt – the universal rule that requires people to show due respect and good faith to others.

As I said, we started this journey at our own front door. The authorities and their enablers in the media have been taking us on the Uber route for six years. But we still know the destination, and we will get there. The SFA, the SPFL and the MSM have been relentless in their dedication to half-truths and misdirection.

But the fans are even more relentless in their pursuit of truth and their determination to see our game returned to its status a a sport. That is why outlets like SFM are important. Not because we are any better than others, but because we give a voice to the people in the game who matter most – to the paying public of Scotland who turn up in numbers relatively greater than any other country in Europe. They need that voice. We are not going anywhere.

ByTrisidium

Comment Moderation Thread

Any queries about moderation, please put them here and not on the main current thread.

ByTrisidium

.. and they wonder why nobody buys papers

As most of you will be aware, the Guardian recently agreed to and accepted payment from CQN for an advertisement which was intended to raise awareness of the Resolution 12 issue, an issue pursued determinedly by Celtic shareholders for the last three years. Subsequently, and citing the thinnest of excuses, they decided not to run the ad. This developed hard on the heels of the Herald actually soliciting the business from the advertisers for their own paper, and then without even seeing the copy, refusing to move forward. (See CQN story here)

guardianGateA troubling aspect of GuardianGate is that CQN were lied to. They were initially advised that the ad was to be removed after editorial scrutiny. Subsequently they were advised that the decision came from an intervention by senior officials. Read More