Did Stewart Regan Ken Then Wit We Ken Noo?

ByAuldheid

Did Stewart Regan Ken Then Wit We Ken Noo?

 

Thoughts and observations from watching and reading a transcript of Alex Thomson of Channel 4’s Interview with Stewart Regan (CEO of the SFA) Broadcast by Channel 4 on 29 March 2012.

http://www.channel4.com/news/we-run-football-were-not-the-police-sfa-boss

Introduction. I came across the above interview recently and listened to and transcribed it again as it reminded me of questions it raised then that the passage of time since has provided some insight into.

There is a lot to digest so the blog is broken into four sections.  Three parts cover the Interview plus what they seem to tell us now, knowing what was not known then viz:

  • Why No independent or independent element to the enquiry that became the Lord Nimmo Smith Commission. given the potential extent of the corruption at play?
  • Why no effective fit and Proper Person scrutiny and the absence of real governance?
  • EBTS and whether they constitute wrong doing and why that mattered so much and still does. plus
  • The “hard to not to believe” conclusions about the whole exercise with the benefit of what we ken noo.

There is also an Annex at the end with excerpts from the Lord Nimmo Smith Decision for ease of reference:

The comments (in bold italics) are based on what Regan said then and what we ken noo, either as facts or questions arising from them. It is a long read but hopefully readers will be enticed by this introduction to stay the course.

In the following “SR” is Stewart Regan CEO of the SFA and “AT” is Alex Thomson of Channel 4 News.

No Independent Enquiry?

SR No

AT I’m just curious as to why they wouldn’t. With something as big as this potentially this is the biggest corruption scandal in British sport, which is – a thought – and yet the SPL deem themselves fit to investigate themselves.

SR Well I think you are calling it potentially the biggest corruption case, at this stage there has been no wrongdoing proven.  There is an investigation going on

AT But you would accept that potentially, potentially that if guilty there is no question this is the biggest corruption scandal in British sport.

SR There is no wrongdoing as I said at the moment and there is nothing yet that has been established as far as the club registering players without providing the appropriate documentation, so I think it would   be wrong to jump to conclusions and even use words like corruption. You know there are a series of issues here. There are some footballing matters which are being dealt through the football authorities and there are tax mattes which are being dealt with through HMRC and there is to be a Tax Tribunal due to be heard as I’m sure you are aware in April.

So even before the investigation got underway Mr Regan was saying that it would be incorrect to assume that any wrong doing took place in terms of the registration process and use of ebts. He later expands on this point in relation to EBTs as a legitimate tax arrangement device. Given that the FTT did not rule until November 2012 that the ebts issued under the Murray Management Group Remuneration Trust (MMGRT) were legal then this stance by Mr Regan appears justifiable at the time of interview – but more on that later. 

AT I’m just wondering why at no stage anybody seemed, or perhaps they did, to think we need an independent body coming in this is big this is huge, potentially  we need somebody from the outside  or we are going simply going to be accused of investigating ourselves.

SR Well I think that might be one for you to ask the Scottish Premier League as far as their Board..

AT Well they appeal to you so I’m asking you.

SR   No as you said we are the right of appeal so if the club is concerned with any punishment it has been given well then they can choose to appeal to us. We as a body have the provision in our rules to carry out independent enquiries, indeed we did so very recently by appointing the Right Honourable Lord Nimmo Smith to carry out our own investigation into Rangers and we are part way through disciplinary proceedings and they will be heard on 29 March.

Given that player registrations are ultimately lodged with the SFA where Sandy Bryson has been doing the job for some years, I did wonder why the SFA were not the body taking the lead. They had the expertise on what turned out to be a key issue, the eligibility of players if misregistration occurred.  Indeed Sandy Bryson was called in to give a testimony to Lord Nimmo Smith that most folk involved in running a football team from amateur level upwards (as I was) had difficulty accepting. The Bryson interpretation suggested us amateurs had been daft not to take the risk of being found out if we did not register players correctly if only games from the point of discovery risked having results overturned. The Bryson interpretation on eligibility made no sense against that experience and it still does not to football lovers. I’m not sure if the rules have been amended to reflect the Bryson interpretation yet, but cannot see how they can be without removing a major deterrent that I always thought proper registration was there to provide.

The point about their having to be a body of higher appeal sounded plausible then, but could the Court of Arbitration on Sport not have been that body?  Or did that risk taking matters out of the SFA’s control even though it would have introduced an element of the independence that Alex Thomson raises in the following paragraphs in his interview?

AT But did anybody at any stage at the SFA say to you I have a concern that we need an independent body, that the SPL can’t and shouldn’t handle this?

SR Well under the governance of football the SPL run the competition

AT I’m not asking, I’m saying did anybody come to you at any stage and say that to you. Anybody?

SR No they didn’t as far as the SPL’s processes is concerned. The SPL ,

AT Never?

It is notable here that Alex Thomson pushes the point about lack of independence, which is where we enter “wit we ken noo territory”.  

Given that it is now known that SFA President Campbell Ogilvie sat on the Rangers FC Remunerations Policy Committee in September 1999 where it was decided Discount Option Scheme (DOS) ebts would be used as a matter of club remuneration policy using the Rangers Employee Benefit Trust (REBT).

Given that we know that Campbell Ogilvie instigated the first ebt payment to Craig Moore using the Discount Options Scheme.

Given that Ronald De Boer and Tor Andre Flo had both been paid using the same type of DOS ebt as Moore from 2000 to 2002/03 but accompanied by side letters, later concealed from HMRC  in 2005 and of course the SFA from August 2000.

Given that Mr Ogilvie was also in receipt of the later MMGRT ebts disputed by HMRC in the big tax case on which the FTT had still to rule

Given that Mr Regan must have been aware at time of interview that Sherriff Officers had called at Ibrox in August 2011 to collect payment of a tax bill, which means even to a layman that it must have gone past dispute to acceptance of liability and so crystallised sometime after 31st March 2011.

Given that Craig Whyte had already agreed to pay the wee tax bill in his public Takeover statement in early June 2011.

Given that on 7th December 2011 Regan had written to Andrew Dickson at RFC, who had sat on three of the four SFA/UEFA Licensing Committee meetings in 2011, to approve a draft statement by Mr Regan on the SFA’s handling of the UEFA Licence aspect of the wee tax case, which arose as a direct result of the use of the DOS ebts to Flo and De Boer during Dickson’s ongoing tenure at RFC from 1991.

Given that Campbell Ogilvie accompanied Stewart Regan to meet Craig Whyte at the Hotel De Vin on 15th December 2011 as a result of an invite stemming from that consternation causing draft that RFC thought likely to cause problems for the SFA (having agreed before the hotel meeting that no comment should be made on the wee tax case)

Given that the wee tax case was a direct result of those early types of DOS ebts being judged illegal by an FTT considering an appeal by the Aberdeen Asset Management company in 2010.

Given all of these facts, how credible is it that no conversation took place between Regan and Campbell Ogilvie on the requirement for an independent enquiry?

If a conversation did not take place as claimed, the question has to be should it have?

Given the foregoing facts on the early ebts, how credible is it Mr Regan during this interview did not know as a result of his involvement with the overdue payable and the UEFA licence in 2011 of the illegal and therefore wrong doing nature of those early EBTS with side letters concealed from the SFA and HMRC in 2005 just before Mr Ogilvie left RFC?

SR The SPL run, the SPL run the rules of The Scottish Premier League and they apply that. There are a whole host of people raising issues on internet sites and passing comment s about various theories that they have about Scottish football particularly in the West of Scotland. I think it’s important to establish that governance of Scottish football is managed by the appropriate body whether it is the Premier League, The Football League or the overall governing body. So that as far as we are concerned we let the   Scottish Premier league manage their own rules and if those rules are then broken and the club is charged they have the right of appeal to us as the Appellant body.

Given all of the now known facts listed above how credible is it that the reason given by Stewart Regan to Alex Thomson for the SFA being the appeal body was indeed the only one?

Given the foregoing how credible is it that Mr Regan was not aware that he was being economical with the truth during his interview or had he indeed been kept in the dark by others in the SFA?

Fit and Proper Person and Absence of Governance

AT Let’s talk about Craig Whyte. Ehm   – Presumably when Craig Whyte was mooted as coming in as the new owner – for the grand sum of £1 – for Rangers Football club, presumably the SFA took a keen interest in this and did some kind of due diligence on this man.

SR Well we have under our articles, Article 10.2, we have a process which sets out a number of criteria for what defines a fit and proper person within football. Now as you know we cannot stop people getting involved with a business and we cannot stop people getting involved with a PLC, all we can stop them doing is having an involvement with football, so what we do as part of that process is we ask for a declaration from the Directors of the club that they have a copy of the Articles,, that they have gone through the conditions and criteria within Article 10.2 and they have confirmed to us that they meet those criteria. If subsequently those criteria are breached then of course we take appropriate action.

AT You keep quoting rules back to me that’s not what I’m asking, I’m asking is did the SFA conduct any due diligence on this individual.

SR No we asked for a self-declaration from the Directors of the club and the individual himself.

AT Forgive me that sounds absolutely incredible this is the biggest club in Scotland which has been brought to its knees by a whole range of fiscal mismanagement, it is all on the record and proven. A new man comes in claiming all kinds of things, just like the previous man, and the SFA did not check or do any due diligence whatsoever.

SR That is part of the process of governing football, we

AT That’s, that’s NOT governing football that’s the exact opposite to governing football that’s running away from governing football.

SR No if you let me, if you let me finish my answer the point I am about to make is we govern the entire game from the top of the game down to grass roots. We have changes of Directors we have changes of ownership throughout the course of the year. I’m sure that if we were to spend football’s well earned money on doing investigations into potentially every change of Director, then there would be a lot of unhappy Chairmen out there.

AT You could have easily have googled (?) for free

SR Well we rely on the clubs telling us that the Articles have been complied with and that is the process we undertake.

AT This is extraordinary I say to you again  you have years of fiscal mismanagement at Rangers Football Club, a new man comes in you are telling me that nobody at The SFA as much as got on to Google  to get any background information nobody did anything ? That is extraordinary.

SR Well you refer to alleged years of financial mismanagement. I think it’s important to separate out the previous regime at Rangers and the new owner.

AT Rangers were a mess financially everybody new that

SR But I think it’s important in the case of the point you are raising regarding the fit and proper person test, to separate out the previous regime from the new owner. The club was in the process of being sold, they were challenging a tax bill that had been challenged by HMRC,* and the club had been sold to a new owner. That new owner had come in, he had purchased the club, the paper work for that sale had gone through and the club had complied with our Articles of Association. We run football we don’t, we are not the police we don’t govern transactions, we don’t govern fitness, we run football and we had asked the club to declare whether or not that person was fit to hold a place in association football. They had gone through the articles they’d signed to say that they had read those articles and that there had been no breaches of any of the points set out there. That included whether a Director had been disqualified. That wasn’t disclosed to us, indeed it did not come out until the BBC did their investigation back in October of last year.

(* note that in spite of all the “givens” listed earlier,  Mr Regan fails to distinguish (or appreciate) that there is more than one tax bill at play and the one for the wee tax case was not under challenge or Sherriff Officers would not have called in August 2011 to collect it.)

 AT So the BBC did due diligence on fitness (??) not the SFA?

SR No, as I said it came out in October 2010 primarily as a result of a detailed investigation. We then have to respond to potential breaches of our articles and we did that We entered into dialogue with the solicitor who was acting for Mr Whyte and we were in dialogue until February 2011 (?sic)  of this year when the club entered administration.

AT What I’m simply asking you to admit here is that the SFA failed and it failed Rangers in its hour of need over Craig Whyte and it failed Scottish football.

SR We didn’t fail.

AT You didn’t do anything, you said you didn’t do anything.

SR We complied with the current processes within our articles. That said I think there are a number of learnings and I think the same goes for football right across the globe. People are coming into football into a multimillion pound business and I think football needs to take a harder look at what could be done differently. We are currently exploring the possibility of carrying out due diligence using the outgoing regime to make sure that there is a full and rigorous research being done before the transaction is allowed to go ahead.

AT Do you feel the need to apologise to Rangers fans?

SR I don’t need to apologise because we complied with our articles. I don’t feel there is a need to apologise whatsoever. I think….

AT You need some new articles then don’t you?

SR Well I think the articles

AT Well let’s unpack this. You said there is no need to apologise because we followed the rule books so that’s all right. So you must therefore admit you need a new rule book.

SR No well I think it’s easy at times to try and look around and find a scapegoat and try and point fingers at where blame is to be apportioned. I think perhaps it might be worth looking at the previous regime who for four years when they said they were selling the club, said that they would sell it and act in the best interests of the club. With that in mind I think the previous regime also have to take some responsibility for selling that club and looking after so called shareholders of Rangers football club and those people who that have put money into the club over the years.

AT ??  (Interrupted)

SR the Scottish FA, as I said have a process, that process has been place for some time. It has worked very very well until now I think there are learnings undoubtably and as I said we will review where we can tighten up as I know is happening across the game right now.

The above segment on Craig Whyte and Fit and Proper  Persons is a timely reminder to supporters of all clubs, but particularly of Rangers FC of what happens when those charged with governing Scottish football hide behind the letter of the rules when convenient, rather than apply the true spirit in which those rules were written. It is the approach of The Pharisees to make a wrong , right.

To be fair to the SFA though, I doubt anyone could have imagined the degree of deceit and deception that they had allowed into Scottish football in May 2011 and how useless their rules were as a result, but I am not aware to this day if the SFA have apologised to Scottish football generally and Rangers supporters in particular, not only for failing to protect them from Craig Whyte, but also failing to protect them from the consequences of the foolish financial excesses of Sir David Murray, especially from 2008 when the tax bills in respect of the MMGRT ebts began to arrive at RFC . Some intervention then, assuming something was known by some at the SFA, who also held positions at Rangers, of  those  huge tax demands,  might have cost Rangers three titles from 2009, but what Ranger’s supporter would not give all of that up to protect their club from the fate that the failure of the SFA to govern has caused?

Also to be fair the SFA have changed the rules so that the outgoing regime is responsible for doing due diligence on any new club owners rather than relying on self-certification by the incoming club owner, but we know that did not work particularly well when Rangers Chairman Alistair Johnstone did due diligence on Craig Whyte , but then again Sir David Murray  was under pressure to sell and the guy coming in, everyone was told, had wealth off the radar.

The Nature of EBTS.

AT Let’s look at EBTs. Did nobody question ebts in the Scottish game in the English game come to that simply because nobody thought they were illegal in any way and indeed are not illegal in any way if operated correctly? Is it as simple as that?

SR There is nothing wrong with ebts when used correctly and ebts are a way of providing benefits to employees and if managed in a correct manner are perfectly legitimate. I think that the issue that we know is under investigation at the moment by both HMRC as part of the large tax case and the SPL as part of their own investigation into potential no disclosure of side letters is whether or not there has been any wrong doing and I think the issue at hand is that wrongdoing or potential wrongdoing has been discussed with HMRC for some time for several years in fact so we would not get involved in anything that there is no wrongdoing   taking place and ebts are, as I said, a legitimate way of doing business when used correctly.

Again taking the “givens” into account, particularly the significant event of Sherriff Officers calling to collect unpaid tax in August 2011 and the logical deduction that the SFA President must have known of the difference between the two types of ebts Rangers used, (and perhaps why they were changed) why the insistence at this point that all the ebts used by Rangers had been used correctly? Mr Regan at the time of the interview was either kept in the dark by his President, given he claims to have spoken to no one about the independence of the enquiry, or being economical with the truth.

The whole of Lord Nimmo Smith’s judgement made months after this interview, where Mr Regan stressed again and again there is no wrongdoing in the use of ebts if arranged correctly (or lawfully) is predicated on all ebts with side letters used by Rangers since 23 November 2011 actually being used correctly and in Lord Nimmo Smiths words on being “themselves not irregular”. (Para 5 of Annex 1). It is almost as if Mr Regan knew the outcome before Lord Nimmo Smith.

(In fact the ebt to Tor Andre Flo had a side letter dated 23 November and it related to a tax arrangement that had not been used correctly (using Regan’s own words) The irregular ebt for Ronald De Boer with a side letter of 30 August was placed beyond the scope of the Commission because in spite of it meeting the criteria specified by Harper MacLeod in March 2012 asking to be provided with ALL ebts and side letters and any other related documentation from July 1998 to date (including the HMRC letter of Feb 2011 that fully demonstrated that those particular ebts under  the Rangers Employee Benefit Trust (REBT) were not used correctly) and so were unlawful, NONE  of that documentation was  provided when requested.

This enabled Lord Nimmo Smith to state in para 107 of his Decision “while there is no question of dishonesty, individual or corporate” which is a statement he could not have made had he had all the requested documentation denied to him either by dishonesty or negligence during the preparation of his Commission.

How would he have had to judge one wonders if deception and dishonesty was indeed the factor we now ken that it is?

 

What exactly were the consequences of the failure to provide Lord Nimmo Smith with the required documentation?

It is stated in the Decision (Annex 1 para 104) that the Inquiry proceeded on the basis that the EBT arrangements (by which it meant the MGMRT ebts) were “lawful”. As it transpired the outcome of the FTT decision announced in November 2012 was that the MGMRT ebts indeed were (although this is still under appeal by HMRC.)

However, because Lord Nimmo Smith treated the MGMRT and the Earlier Trust (REBT) as one and the same, (para 35 of Decision) this meant that the Inquiry failed to distinguish between the two trusts and necessarily treated the Earlier Trust as also being lawful (without however having properly investigated its operation). However, the MGMRT and the earlier REBT were two separate trusts and there was no necessary reason to treat them as one and the same. Had evidence relating to the REBT been produced and examined, the Inquiry could hardly have treated them) as “continuous” or allowed Lord Nimmo Smith to say “we are not aware that they were different trusts“(Annex 1 para 35)

From the Decision (Annex 1 para 40), it would appear that the President of the SFA gave evidence only as to his knowledge of the MGMRT (not the REBT). We know now that the President of the SFA had knowledge of the Earlier Trust (sitting on the RFC remuneration policy committee that agreed to their use in 1999 and indeed was active in its setting up). Why the President failed to volunteer such crucial information is surely something he should now be asked?

By the time of the Inquiry, Rangers FC had already conceded liability in what has become known as “the Wee Tax Case” (which related to the now unlawful REBTs). Having regard to the wording at para 104 of the Decision (that is an echo of what Regan stressed to Alex Thomson about ebts) where it is said that to arrange financial affairs in a manner “within the law” is not a breach of the SFA/SPL Rules) the clear implication, must be that to arrange financial affairs in such a way that they are not lawful, must be a breach of the rules.

Given the admission of liability in the Wee Tax Case, payments made in respect of the REBT could not be “lawful” (to employ the language used in the Decision) or disputed, but Mr Regan presumably did not enquire too much into the history of the wee tax case before agreeing to talk to Alex Thomson.

It will be obvious from the above that the unlawful nature of REBTs had been masked from SPL lawyers and Lord Nimmo Smith as a result of:-

(a) the failure by the Administrators of Rangers FC to provide the documentation required of them;

(b) the failure of the President of the SFA to provide to the Inquiry his own knowledge of, involvement in, and presumably as a result of it, an appreciation of the differences between the two types of ebts and the consequences thereof for the investigation.  

Had the REBT been the sole subject of the Inquiry (rather than in effect not being examined at all) the following must have been different:-

(i)            the President could hardly have failed to give testimony of his knowledge and involvement;

(ii)          the Inquiry could not have held that the use of the REBT ebts was lawful;

(iv)       the “no sporting advantage” decision given in respect of the lawful ebts could not have been applied to unlawful ebts.

The real issue in the case of the unlawful ebts was not one of misregistration (Annex 1 para 104) which in turn justified the no sporting advantage decision in paras 105/106 but of paying players by an unlawful means which “constitutes such a fundamental defect (Annex 1 para 88) that the registration of players paid this way (i.e. unlawfully) must be treated as having been invalid from the outset.

Had the true nature of these early ebts been known to SPL lawyers the Terms of Reference of the Investigation would have to have addressed the wrong doing that Mr Regan was so keen to argue with Alex Thomson had not actually occurred (long before Lord Nimmo Smith agreed with him) or had President Ogilvie made the distinction in his testimony, it would have been impossible for Sandy Bryson’s to advise as he did regarding the effect on eligibility. He would have to have been asked questions about two types of ebts not one. Finally Lord Nimmo Smith could not have treated both as continuous.

Finally, given this incidence of non-disclosure by the Rangers Administrators (an identifiable trait of RFC dealings with authority from August 2000 to date), it is impossible to see how paragraph 107 (wherein it is stated that there is “no question of dishonesty”) can be allowed to remain unchallenged.

Of course the failure to supply the key evidence could just be an oversight given Rangers Administrators were hardly likely to have established of their own volition the importance of the documents to the enquiry and yet, had they been supplied, the enquiry could not have been based on the defence Stewart Regan was at such pains to stress in his interview with Alex Thomson at a time only 3 months after Mr Regan and Campbell Ogilvie had joined Craig Whyte for dinner as a result of an invite prompted by questions on the SFA UEFA Licence handling of the wee tax case , created by the very same unlawful ebts.

AT But as the governing body why did you not say to Rangers “look guys this this smells really bad, this looks bad you look (and you have admitted you have not paid your tax) you know we can’t do this, we have got to be open and above board, it looks bad.

SR Well think you need to look at what is legal and above board. At the time the club, were in dispute with HMRC. There was a tax case ongoing the new owner was in discussion with HMRC. In fact he has made comments and the club have made comments to that effect and because the amount was not crystallised under UEFA guidelines, whilst ever it’s in dispute it’s not classed as overdue.

AT Sometimes

SR So you need to separate out the licensing requirement, which is what the Licensing Committee did, from the tax that was owed to HMRC which is as we know what is still ongoing.

Mr Regan was not being accurate here.  The Big Tax case was in dispute and the bill has not crystallised as a result. However the wee tax case crystallised in mid June 2011 and at 30th June 2011, the UEFA licence checkpoint under Article 66 of UEFA FFP, did not meet the conditions to excuse it as being an overdue payable to HMRC. Quite how the SFA handled the processing of the Article 66 submission from RFC is subject to a resolution asking UEFA to investigate put to the Celtic AGM in November 2013 which is still in progress. As has been mentioned twice before Mr Regan has either been kept in the dark or was being less than honest with Alex Thomson. Interestingly Andrew Dickson who has been at Rangers in various administration and executive capacity since 1991 sat on 3 of the four UEFA Licensing Committee meetings during 2011. He may of course have excused himself from any discussions on this matter as the rules allowed, but was a full explanation why he did so, if indeed he did, offered? Would such an explanation have enlightened Mr Regan of what he was dealing with?

AT Sometimes things can be within the rules but from a PR point of view, indeed from a moral point of view, hate to introduce morality to football but can be the wrong thing to do. You would accept that?

SR Well I think that football around the world is going through a difficult time, clubs are in difficult financial circumstances, not just in Scotland, you look down into England and look at the clubs in Administration at the moment. You know Portsmouth and Port Vale in recent times and I think Plymouth is as well again. As far as that is concerned you know that indicates that clubs are living from hand to mouth and there are deals being done all the time with HMRC, payment plans being agreed. There is huge amounts of debt in football.

AT I’m just inviting you to accept that sometimes things can be within the rules but just look bad because morally, they are bad.

ST I think when taxes aren’t paid ehm VAT in particular, National Insurance Contributions of course that’s bad and I think we accept that and we know that in the current regime there is evidence to suggest that Rangers has not paid its taxes since Mr Whyte took over the club. That’s wrong that is against the spirit of the game and certainly we would look to deal with that and stamp out that type of behaviour which is not acting with integrity.

If Carlsberg did irony!

End of Interview.

The Hard Not to Believe Conclusions

There is always the danger in examining anything of finding what you want to be there rather than what is there and it is a danger any writer has to be aware of, but given the responses from Harper MacLeod on TSFM and the total lack of response from the SPFL and SFA when being informed of the missing evidence along with what has been written here it is hard not to conclude that the Lord Nimmo Smith Inquiry was deliberately set up in such a way as to produce two results

  • The minimising of the wrongful behaviour that had taken place from 1999 to 2012 when The Commission sat
  • The avoidance of the consequences of admitting that serious wrongdoing in the form of illegal payments had been made via irregular EBTs, which consequently made the players involved ineligible from the outset, making the Bryson ruling inapplicable in those cases with the consequences of that ineligibility on trophies and remuneration won.

The reader will find it hard not to conclude that either

  • there was a huge screw up by the SPL lawyers charged to set up the Commission which they might be able to defend
  • or
  • Vital knowledge was concealed within the SFA itself in order to achieve the above two results and
  • This knowledge was deliberately concealed because had it not been The Inquiry could not have come to the conclusion it did on player eligibility, not only because unlawful ebts were used in early instances, but also because the deliberate concealment from HMRC of the side letters to De Boer and Flo, the former also kept from Harper and MacLeod, suggests Rangers knew all along and in 2005 in particular that what they were doing since 2000 was morally wrong and against the spirit of the game. It perhaps also explains why HMRC is determined to push an appeal all the way.
  • This failure to supply all documents meant that the line being taken by Mr Regan in March 2012, when the Commission was being set up into the use of ebts and failure to register them with the SFA, came to fulfilment in the Decision of Lord Nimmo Smith himself, achieving the two aims suggested above.

Given that Harper MacLeod have said they passed on to the SFA in September 2014 the evidence kept from them by Rangers Administrators, has Stewart Regan spoken to either Ogilvie or Dickson since then about keeping him in the dark? Or did he know all along?

Of course these hard to believe conclusions could be discounted as delusional ramblings if either the SFA or SPFL were to say they would investigate the evidence kept from Harper MacLeod. It would also help if only one of the thirteen main stream journalists would look at the hard copy of the concealed documents they were provided with, because until someone who values sporting integrity does, the stench of corruption will hang over Scottish football for years to reek out anytime the Lord Nimmo Smith Commission is used as a justification for anything that it contains.

Annex One – Extracts from Lord Nimmo Smith Decision

[5] Although the payments in this case were not themselves irregular and were not in

breach of SPL or SFA Rules, the scale and extent of the proven contraventions of the disclosure rules require a substantial penalty to be imposed;

 

Outline of the Scheme

 

[35] As we have said, a controlling interest in Oldco was held by David Murray through the medium of Murray MHL Limited, part of the Murray Group of companies. Murray Group Management Limited (MGM) provided management services to the companies of the Murray Group. By deed dated 20 April 2001 MGM set up the Murray Group Management Remuneration Trust (the MGMRT). (We note that the MGMRT was preceded by the Rangers Employee Benefit Trust, but we are not aware that they were different trusts. We shall treat them as a continuous trust, which we shall refer to throughout as the MGMRT.)

 

[40] Mr Ogilvie learnt about the existence of the MGMRT in about 2001 or 2002, because a contribution was made for his benefit. He understood that this was non-contractual. Although as a result he knew about the existence of the MGMRT, he did not know any details of it. He subsequently became aware, while he remained director of Oldco, that contributions were being made to the MGMRT in respect of players. He assumed that these were made in respect of the players’ playing football, which was the primary function for which they were employed and remunerated. He had no involvement in the organisation or management of Oldco’s contributions to the MGMRT, whether for players or otherwise. He said:

“I assumed that all contributions to the Trust were being made legally, and that any relevant football regulations were being complied with. I do not recall contributions to the Trust being discussed in any detail, if at all, at Board meetings. In any event, Board meetings had become less and less frequent by my later years at Rangers.”

He also said: “Nothing to do with the contributions being made to the Trust fell within the scope of my remit at Rangers”.

However it should be noted that Mr Ogilvie was a member of the board of directors who approved the statutory accounts of Oldco which disclosed very substantial payments made under the EBT arrangements.

 

[88] In our opinion, this was a correct decision by Mr McKenzie. There is every reason why the rules of the SFA and the SPL relating to registration should be construed and applied consistently with each other. Mr Bryson’s evidence about the position of the SFA in this regard was clear. In our view, the Rules of the SPL, which admit of a construction consistent with those of the SFA, should be given that construction. All parties’ concerned – clubs, players and footballing authorities – should be able to proceed on the faith of an official register. This means that a player’s registration should generally be treated as standing unless and until revoked. There may be extreme cases in which there is such a fundamental defect that the registration of a player must be treated as having been invalid from the outset. But in the kind of situation that we are dealing with here we are satisfied that the registration of the Specified Players with the SPL was valid from the outset, and accordingly that they were eligible to play in official matches. There was therefore no breach of SPL Rule D1.11.

 

[104] As we have already explained, in our view the purpose of the Rules applicable to Issues 1 to 3 is to promote the sporting integrity of the game. These rules are not designed as any form of financial regulation of football, analogous to the UEFA Financial Fair Play Regulations. Thus it is not the purpose of the Rules to regulate how one football club may seek to gain financial and sporting advantage over others. Obviously, a successful club is able to generate more income from gate money, sponsorship, advertising, sale of branded goods and so on, and is consequently able to offer greater financial rewards to its manager and players, in the hope of even more success. Nor is it a breach of SPL or SFA Rules for a club to arrange its affairs – within the law – so as to minimise its tax liabilities. The Tax Tribunal has held (subject to appeal) that Oldco was acting within the law in setting up and operating the EBT scheme. The SPL presented no argument to challenge the decision of the majority of the Tax Tribunal and Mr McKenzie stated expressly that for all purposes of this Commission’s Inquiry and Determination the SPL accepted that decision as it stood, without regard to any possible appeal by HMRC. Accordingly we proceed on the basis that the EBT arrangements were lawful. What we are concerned with is the fact that the side-letters issued to the Specified Players, in the course of the operation of the EBT scheme, were not disclosed to the SPL and the SFA as required by their respective Rules.

[105] It seems appropriate in the first place to consider whether such breach by non-disclosure conferred any competitive advantage on Rangers FC. Given that we have held that Rangers FC did not breach Rule D1.11 by playing ineligible players, it did not secure any direct competitive advantage in that respect. If the breach of the rules by non-disclosure of the side-letters conferred any competitive advantage, that could only have been an indirect one. Although it is clear to us from Mr Odam’s evidence that Oldco’s failure to disclose the side-letters to the SPL and the SFA was at least partly motivated by a wish not to risk prejudicing the tax advantages of the EBT scheme, we are unable to reach the conclusion that this led to any competitive advantage. There was no evidence before us as to whether any other members of the SPL used similar EBT schemes, or the effect of their doing so. Moreover, we have received no evidence from which we could possibly say that Oldco could not or would not have entered into the EBT arrangements with players if it had been required to comply with the requirement to disclose the arrangements as part of the players’ full financial entitlement or as giving rise to payment to players. It is entirely possible that the EBT arrangements could have been disclosed to the SPL and SFA without prejudicing the argument – accepted by the majority of the Tax Tribunal at paragraph 232 of their decision – that such arrangements, resulting in loans made to the players, did not give rise to payments absolutely or unreservedly held for or to the order of the individual players. On that basis, the EBT arrangements could have been disclosed as contractual arrangements giving rise to a facility for the player to receive loans, and there would have been no breach of the disclosure rules.

[106] We therefore proceed on the basis that the breach of the rules relating to disclosure did not give rise to any sporting advantage, direct or indirect. We do not therefore propose to consider those sanctions which are of a sporting nature.

[107] We nevertheless take a serious view of a breach of rules intended to promote sporting integrity. Greater financial transparency serves to prevent financial irregularities. There is insufficient evidence before us to enable us to draw any conclusion as to exactly how the senior management of Oldco came to the conclusion that the EBT arrangements did not require to be disclosed to the SPL or the SFA. In our view, the apparent assumption both that the side-letter arrangements were entirely discretionary, and that they did not form part of any player’s contractual entitlement, was seriously misconceived. Over the years, the EBT payments disclosed in Oldco’s accounts were very substantial; at their height, during the year to 30 June 2006, they amounted to more than £9 million, against £16.7 million being that year’s figure for wages and salaries. There is no evidence that the Board of Directors of Oldco took any steps to obtain proper external legal or accountancy advice to the Board as to the risks inherent in agreeing to pay players through the EBT arrangements without disclosure to the football authorities. The directors of Oldco must bear a heavy responsibility for this. While there is no question of dishonesty, individual or corporate, we nevertheless take the view that the nondisclosure must be regarded as deliberate, in the sense that a decision was taken that the side letters need not be or should not be disclosed. No steps were taken to check, even on a hypothetical basis, the validity of that assumption with the SPL or the SFA. The evidence of Mr Odam (cited at paragraph [43] above) clearly indicates a view amongst the management of Oldco that it might have been detrimental to the desired tax treatment of the payments being made by Oldco to have disclosed the existence of the side-letters to the football authorities.

Auldheid  Feb 2015

About the author

Auldheid author

Celtic fan from Glasgow living mostly in Spain. A contributor to several websites, discussion groups and blogs, and a member of the Resolution 12 Celtic shareholders' group. Committed to sporting integrity, good governance, and the idea that football is interdependent. We all need each other in the game.

5,190 Comments so far

andyPosted on1:39 pm - Apr 14, 2015


from FF
____________________

Sadly, I’ve had to withdraw from the action. Happily, it means we have over a thousand pounds to donate to charities or good causes.

I was lucky enough to receive some free legal advice from a couple of sources so there has been no expenditure and the Sports Direct lawyers offered to waive their costs in return for a withdrawal of the request.

I was advised that Sports Direct would very probably win and there was a danger that they might be able to set a further precedent in law to stop other shareholders in the future from obtaining the register. Previous similar cases have floundered on the shareholder having either not having a significant shareholding or proving that they are a professional investor.

I’m writing to thank all our donors this afternoon and ask where they would like charitable donations to be made to.

Overall, for an outlay of just over £40 we managed to draw attention to Sports Direct business practises and how bad the Rangers contract is via national media coverage.

Many thanks to everyone for their support – it is through hundreds of small battles like this that we will win the war.

View Comment

scapaflowPosted on1:45 pm - Apr 14, 2015


andy says:
April 14, 2015 at 1:39 pm

A smart move on Dingwall’s part, but it demonstrates once again, as if it were necessary, just how unbalanced the legal system often is.

It also highlights another problem with the law governing UKPLC, I’ll added it to the list, its a fecking long list :mrgreen:

View Comment

gc58Posted on2:08 pm - Apr 14, 2015


MoreCelticParanoia @ 1.12pm

1983 US invasion of Grenada
Airborne assault by the 75th Rangers

There must be some mistake with the ordinal number—surely??
😀
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Invasion_of_Grenada

View Comment

MoreCelticParanoiaPosted on2:48 pm - Apr 14, 2015


gc58 says:
April 14, 2015 at 2:08 pm

MoreCelticParanoia @ 1.12pm

1983 US invasion of Grenada
Airborne assault by the 75th Rangers

There must be some mistake with the ordinal number—surely??
__________________________________________________________

Was there not 500million in that division? 😆

View Comment

The Rangers nil? Who missed the penalty?Posted on2:54 pm - Apr 14, 2015


Can anyone help me find a missing fixture?

The current Premiership league table indicates that:

St Johnstone, Hamilton Accies, Partick Thistle, Ross County, Motherwell and St Mirren have already completed their 33 pre-split fixtures.

Aberdeen, Inverness Caley Thistle, Dundee and Kilmarnock have each played 32 of their 33 fixtures, so have one still outstanding.

Celtic and Dundee Utd have each played 31 of their scheduled33 fixtures, so have 2 still outstanding.

The SPFL Website currently lists the following outstanding fixtures:

15/04/15 Celtic v Kilmarnock: This game will complete Kilmarnock’s pre-split fixtures, leaving Celtic with one match outstanding

18/04/15 Aberdeen v Dundee Utd: This match will complete Aberdeen’s fixtures leaving Dundee Utd with one match outstanding.

22/04/15 Dundee v Celtic This will complete both Celtic’s and Dundee’s fixtures

So with all the published fixtures completed, Dundee Utd and Inverness Caley Thistle will still have one fixture outstanding.

Can anyone tell me the scheduled date for this match?

View Comment

ecobhoyPosted on2:54 pm - Apr 14, 2015


MoreCelticParanoia says:
April 14, 2015 at 1:12 pm

It’s a similar principle that leads to the absurdity of the USA invading Grenada in the 1980s for “national security”.
—————————————————
Do you think all those guys in uniform frequenting Ibrox have been members of Ashley’s tank regiment on a recce?

I think it’s a bit much asking them to risk life and limb abseiling from the main stand right enuff 🙄

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Resin_lab_dogPosted on3:27 pm - Apr 14, 2015


andy says:
April 14, 2015 at 1:39 pm

from FF
____________________

… and the Sports Direct lawyers offered to waive their costs in return for a withdrawal of the request.

_______________________________

Pretty Magnaninous of SD given the circumstances. Almost paternalistic you might say.

Still, its the ‘King’ they are after I suppose, not his pawns.

Happy that some good came of it nevertheless, and MD deserves some grudging respect for having a square go.

View Comment

John ClarkPosted on3:33 pm - Apr 14, 2015


To the Dingwall chappie I would say fairness is as fairness does.
The now deceased club that he supported , for a number of years under SDM, was the very antithesis of ‘fairness’,
It’s a bit rich that he should prate on about ‘fairness
to small shareholders’.
He seemingly appeals to notions of ‘rights’, of the rights of the little man, the small shareholder, to call the major players to account.
I would concede those rights,very readily.
But I would insist that those rights to fairness and truth be conceded to those of us who insist on the truth when it comes to denying the legitimacy of TRFC as sny kind of heir to the defunct RFC.
Truth is indivisible.
‘Fairness’ likewise.

View Comment

sannoffymesssoitizzPosted on3:48 pm - Apr 14, 2015


Views on fan ownership model from East Stirlingshire
http://www.scottishfans.org/supporter-ownership-week-interviews-east-stirlingshire/

View Comment

Resin_lab_dogPosted on3:52 pm - Apr 14, 2015


Phil MacGiollaBhain
‏@Pmacgiollabhain

Is Douglas Park still enthusiastic about being part of New Regime at Ibrox? I’m sure the investigative churnalists can check that one out.

_____________________________________________________

Phil seems to be signalling more imminent bad news for bear land.

If Park walks, then that about wraps it up for the requisitioners, and quite probably stuffs TRFC for good.

UNLESS…

I think the only possible way out for TRFC (short of DCK personally bankrolling the whole shebang to the tune of North of £50m – £30m of which would go straight to SDH, the rest to keep the lights on) would be for Park to publicly denounce the King, and rally the bears back to Mash before it is all too late.

… If Mike will even answer the phone to Park.

Because I don’t think Murray and King will ever be allowed across the SD door.

Whereas Park could get the fans on side and trash King for Mash into the bargain.

And now Mash is probably Park’s only hope of seeing any return for his £1.5m loan and shares.

DK hasn’t even been appointed. So if Park could get PM pushed aside (he’s there because … er… why is it again? – His personal investment? is it his er…. association with Dave King who has er… invested how much so far again? )

Put a couple of the SD guys back in there and show PM the door, make peace between Mash and the rest of the RRM, it could be the last throw of the dice.

Otherwise they are paddleless.

That EGM vote is STILL looking stupider by the day.

View Comment

ecobhoyPosted on4:03 pm - Apr 14, 2015


John Clark says:
April 14, 2015 at 3:33 pm

To the Dingwall chappie I would say fairness is as fairness does.
The now deceased club that he supported , for a number of years under SDM, was the very antithesis of ‘fairness’
———————————————————
I assume that you haven’t read my earlier post about MD. In it I pointed out he was one of 2/3 Rangers Supporters who took DM on in public at agms and elsewhere because he thought the way the club was being run would end in financial disaster.

He also wanted to know where the money was coming from and going to. He earned no favours from those in charge or from many of his fellow supporters.

He stood-up when virtually no one else did and I tend to judge people’s character by their public actions especially when it would have been easier and safer to stay anonymous, keep silent and walk away.

View Comment

normanbatesmumfcPosted on4:03 pm - Apr 14, 2015


John Clark says:

April 14, 2015 at 3:33 pm

To the Dingwall chappie I would say fairness is as fairness does.
The now deceased club that he supported , for a number of years under SDM, was the very antithesis of ‘fairness’,
It’s a bit rich that he should prate on about ‘fairness
to small shareholders’.
He seemingly appeals to notions of ‘rights’, of the rights of the little man, the small shareholder, to call the major players to account.
I would concede those rights, very readily.
But I would insist that those rights to fairness and truth be conceded to those of us who insist on the truth when it comes to denying the legitimacy of TRFC as any kind of heir to the defunct RFC.
Truth is indivisible.
‘Fairness’ likewise.
……………………………………………………….Couldn’t agree more.

truth and fairness should not be applied selectively, nor just to shareholders. How’s about some truth and fairness to the small creditors of RFC PLC and to the “man-in-the-street” supporters of all other clubs.

Lies and unfairness is more likely to be their fodder.

View Comment

MoreCelticParanoiaPosted on4:14 pm - Apr 14, 2015


mcfc says:

April 14, 2015 at 1:29 pm

MoreCelticParanoia says:
April 14, 2015 at 1:12 pm

============================================

Agree – but I think it’s a bit more nuanced. Ashley cares about the opinion of those he cares about – not the fan in the street.

Ashley can reek revenge on King in the eyes of the business/investment community without blood and snot flying in public.
_____________________________________

I agree also – the only reason it’s public is because the RRM and the Scottish media (sometimes indistinguishable) are making it public with a lot of noise and bluster to present the illusion to TRFC fans that they are in control and taking some positive action to lead them back to their “rightful place”. A risky and unwise course of action.

It’s just as well he’s not concerned with the opinions of fans because the Scottish media can be relied upon to repeat the most craven PR guff to paint him as the baddie even though a couple of short months ago, award winning churnalists were talking authoritavely of his plans to fund a TRFC assault on the CL the season after next

View Comment

TartanwulverPosted on4:27 pm - Apr 14, 2015


ecobhoy says:
April 14, 2015 at 4:03 pm

He [Dingwall] stood-up when virtually no one else did and I tend to judge people’s character by their public actions especially when it would have been easier and safer to stay anonymous, keep silent and walk away.
———————————————
That’s an absolutely a fair point, and I can visualise SD from the view of being the heavy hand of capitalism, out to make sure that the small man and woman is denied legitimate access to shareholder information.

But I can also understand that, given recent Rangers history (albeit from the mouths of other actors in the saga) when someone starts asking the equivalent of ‘Who are these people?’, that SD can feel justified in making sure that they offer every protection to their shareholders’ anonymity.

View Comment

TaysiderPosted on4:33 pm - Apr 14, 2015


The Rangers nil? Who missed the penalty? says:
April 14, 2015 at 2:54 pm

Re the Inverness Caledonian Thistle v Dundee United game, quite simply the scheduling has not yet been announced. Given both sides are in the top six, I assume there is less urgency? I wouldn’t be surprised if this is confirmed soon with the other o/s Premiership fixtures so we can all make our plans.

For the second year in a row the play off between the Premiership and Championship is sustaining interest where otherwise there would be none (Hearts promoted and St Mirren strong favourites for the drop) although I guess Motherwell fans may have a different view. 😎

While they often come in for justified criticism, it’s maybe worth observing that with the introduction of the play off, re-distribution of funding with improved payments in the Championship and a play off for the bottom team in the Second Division the Scottish football administrators have managed to get a few things right these last few years!

View Comment

mcfcPosted on4:36 pm - Apr 14, 2015


MoreCelticParanoia says:
April 14, 2015 at 4:14 pm

a couple of short months ago, award winning churnalists were talking authoritavely of his plans to fund a TRFC assault on the CL the season after next

=====================================
You’ve gotta laugh – anywhere else in the world Radar would be the village idiot with his track record of dumb comments and picking losers. I used to work with a guy who gained the nickname Sadim for his ability to turn any project he touched into shit – maybe I should recommend him to the DR as a sports churnalist.

View Comment

jimlarkinPosted on4:37 pm - Apr 14, 2015


normanbatesmumfc says:
April 14, 2015 at 4:03 pm
John Clark says:

April 14, 2015 at 3:33 pm

To the Dingwall chappie I would say fairness is as fairness does.
The now deceased club that he supported , for a number of years under SDM, was the very antithesis of ‘fairness’,
It’s a bit rich that he should prate on about ‘fairness
to small shareholders’.
He seemingly appeals to notions of ‘rights’, of the rights of the little man, the small shareholder, to call the major players to account.
I would concede those rights, very readily.
But I would insist that those rights to fairness and truth be conceded to those of us who insist on the truth when it comes to denying the legitimacy of TRFC as any kind of heir to the defunct RFC.
Truth is indivisible.
‘Fairness’ likewise.
……………………………………………………….Couldn’t agree more.

truth and fairness should not be applied selectively, nor just to shareholders. How’s about some truth and fairness to the small creditors of RFC PLC and to the “man-in-the-street” supporters of all other clubs.

Lies and unfairness is more likely to be their fodder.

……………………………..

Exactly.

Why did Dingwall decide to take this course of action?
The WATP mentality, and furthermore, he put out an APB to his fellow Sevconians to ‘fund’ the challenge on the same WATP basis !
This was not a Samson v Goliath fight.

The Mark Dingwall’s/Chris Graham/Craig Houston/Graham Spiers/Chic Young shenanigans

– is more like a fight in a bucket of crabs

View Comment

ecobhoyPosted on4:47 pm - Apr 14, 2015


I see that the RFC section of the LSE Share site has been closed probably the first actual casualty of AIM delisting.

It used to be quite an informed site but became crazier and crazier with the passage of time. Still it’ll be interesting to see where the regular LSE protagonists will land-up to continue their mortal combat 😆

View Comment

joburgt1mPosted on4:52 pm - Apr 14, 2015


Allyjambo says:
April 14, 2015 at 11:25 am

I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Ashley doesn’t put all that great an effort into winning the case, preferring to lose and take it to an appeal so that a precedent will be set, and thus changing the law in his favour!

—————–

I have felt for a long time now that this is exactly what Hector has been and is doing with Rangers (IL)

View Comment

tearsofjoyPosted on4:52 pm - Apr 14, 2015


mcfc says:

April 14, 2015 at 12:09 pm

ecobhoy says:
April 14, 2015 at 11:35 am

The biggest question for me has always been whether Ashley was using Rangers as a ‘test bed’ for a larger plan that extended beyond the Ibrox club and wasn’t necessarily dependent on retail kit sales.

===========================================================
I remember reading this ona NUFC fans website some months ago and pooh poohed the idea at the time. but since then I’ve been to Cyprus & Bratislava (Slovakia). SD have mega stores there – I have never bothered to check how far the business empire stretches. But given the undoubted global reach of SD , it does kind of make sense (to me , anyway) now.

That is a very worrying trend , in my opinion.

View Comment

theoldcoursePosted on4:57 pm - Apr 14, 2015


I have this vision of any meeting between MA and the RRM being akin to the scene in You Only Live twice with MA seated at a table stroking a white cat, berating the RRM and with his foot on the button which drops the bridge over his tank of pirhanas 🙂

View Comment

woodsteinPosted on5:00 pm - Apr 14, 2015


sannoffymesssoitizz says:
April 14, 2015 at 3:48 pm

Views on fan ownership model from East Stirlingshire
http://www.scottishfans.org/supporter-ownership-week-interviews-east-stirlingshire
—————————————————————-
“There is a fundamental flaw in the idea of fans of small, part-time Scottish clubs buying shares and becoming the owner of the club. The flaw is in the nature of the institution itself. Most clubs in Scotland of our size are private limited companies.
The only real ‘fan ownership model’ that does all the things it’s supposed to is a private members club or perhaps some kind of third sector entity. But turning small, part-time football club ownership structures away from market capitalism and more towards the kind of thing seen at golf and rugby clubs across Scotland would considerably benefit ‘fan ownership’.”
—————————————————————-
In other words, more or less just as they were before incorporation. ❓

View Comment

jimlarkinPosted on5:14 pm - Apr 14, 2015


Is there a a magical lamp being passed round the regulars of the Louden Tavern?
Is King the ‘real’ genie of the Lamp ?

. . . . . . . Lewis Macleod to return to Ibrox?

After his headline-making move to Brentford at the end of 2014, Lewis Macleod’s big ambitions in the English Championship could not have gone any worse, fueling major speculation he could be returning to Ibrox next season.

The young midfielder, so pivotal for Rangers until his departure, has failed to even make a substitute appearance at Griffin Park thanks to an injury he picked up on his final appearance in Govan, one which has led to multiple setbacks for his new club.

His manager, the similarly-departing Mark Warburton, explains the scenario:

”He’s coming along. We have to be fair to the player. I want him to be involved. He’s been out for three or four months and he’s got to be comfortable that he can commit 100 per cent. The last thing you want to do is put a player on with a doubt in his mind with regards to a sprint, challenge, jump or tackle. He’s very close but we have to be fair to the player.”

Macleod moved to Brentford for a fee understood to be just shy of £1M (speculation has it at £850,000) when Rangers’ previous board decided to bring in funds by pawning off the Club’s prized assets.

But with a new board and supposed funds available now for new players, a cut-price deal to bring Macleod back to Ibrox next season for around £500,000 looks very possible indeed.
Posted by Ibrox Noise at 10:00 Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to Pinterest

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mcfcPosted on5:23 pm - Apr 14, 2015


DR being rather indelicate pointing out the enormous wealth Ashley is not spending at ibrox: “He’s loaded and he don’t care – about The Rangers”

“Billionaire Mike Ashley’s just made himself even more money as MASH profits more than double to £542.6million”

http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/billionaire-mike-ashleys-just-made-5518330

View Comment

James DolemanPosted on5:39 pm - Apr 14, 2015


On Mr Dingwall at court. I’d not be so charitable as others as he invoked a serious principle, shareholder rights, then surrendered when the going got tough.

Not good news for real activists attempting to use the same methods in more worthy causes.

View Comment

AllyjamboPosted on5:45 pm - Apr 14, 2015


mcfc says:
April 14, 2015 at 5:23 pm

I find this totally nonsensical:

‘The new Rangers regime will have to repay the £5m loan he lent them to gain control of the intellectual property rights.’

They will have to repay the loan because that’s what happens with loans (unless they are EBTs), and the law says they will have to repay it. Loans aren’t paid back to get your security back, they are paid back because that is what is meant to happen when you borrow money, regardless of whether or not the lender holds security.

Why, if they want a real story, don’t they ask if the loan has been defaulted on, or if the money is available should SD demand repayment. They won’t get an answer, but they will, at least, be asking the right questions.

Can anyone think of a reason why a man with less than 10% of a football club’s shares, should be expected to use any of his increased wealth to fund that football club?

View Comment

upthehoopsPosted on5:49 pm - Apr 14, 2015


James Doleman says:
April 14, 2015 at 5:39 pm
On Mr Dingwall at court. I’d not be so charitable as others as he invoked a serious principle, shareholder rights, then surrendered when the going got tough.

Not good news for real activists attempting to use the same methods in more worthy causes.
============================================

I was caught between the views below:

1) Forget the fact it is Mark Dingwall and think more of the wee guy having a chance against the corporate behemoths, with all their money and fancy lawyers.

2) on the other hand did Dingwall give two hoots about SD staff on zero hours contracts? Rangers were his only motivation.

View Comment

TartanwulverPosted on6:01 pm - Apr 14, 2015


mcfc says:
April 14, 2015 at 5:23 pm

DR being rather indelicate pointing out the enormous wealth Ashley is not spending at ibrox: “He’s loaded and he don’t care – about The Rangers”

“Billionaire Mike Ashley’s just made himself even more money as MASH profits more than double to £542.6million”

http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/billionaire-mike-ashleys-just-made-5518330
———————————————
Perhaps, if the Record looked at it from another point of view, they might consider that the reason Ashley makes that kind of money is precisely because he doesn’t throw it away on lame duck vanity projects?

View Comment

ecobhoyPosted on6:01 pm - Apr 14, 2015


I’ve finally worked my way through the various charges created wrt the £5 million loan ‘Facilities Agreement’ between TRFCL and SportsDirect.

Unfortunately I have been unable to find any details of the contents of the ‘Facility Letter’ which is an important document as it defines ‘Event of Default’.

Apparently, if a default event occurs the security becomes enforceable meaning the Lender can demand payment.

Powers on enforcement give the Lender a wide range of powers and without further notice the Lender can sell or otherwise dispose of and convert into money any of the assigned rights.

There’s no doubt it’s heav duty stuff so obviously Rangers have to avoid a default at all costs.

But we don’t know what circumstances constitutes a default and in spite of all the rumours about an imminent default they remain speculation unless we know what action or lack of action creates a default.

View Comment

ecobhoyPosted on6:28 pm - Apr 14, 2015


upthehoops says:
April 14, 2015 at 5:49 pm
James Doleman says:
April 14, 2015 at 5:39 pm

On Mr Dingwall at court. I’d not be so charitable as others as he invoked a serious principle, shareholder rights, then surrendered when the going got tough.

Not good news for real activists attempting to use the same methods in more worthy causes.
============================================
I was caught between the views below:

1) Forget the fact it is Mark Dingwall and think more of the wee guy having a chance against the corporate behemoths, with all their money and fancy lawyers.

2) on the other hand did Dingwall give two hoots about SD staff on zero hours contracts? Rangers were his only motivation.
———————————————————–
I haven’t a clue what MD’s motivations were and whether they were genuinely based on finding a way to contact shareholders to create a shareholder alliance against SportsDirect and its way of doing business.

I have no doubt that his involvement with Rangers and support of the Requisitoners would play a large part in his motivation but does that make it wrong in terms of the principle? Not necessarily in my book.

As to having a go at him for not getting dragged into legal action which could have cost him tens of thousands of £s well I ask all posters what their decision would be.

I would doubt there would be many ‘real activists’ amongst us on that basis and I count myself in the ‘not real’ camp.

I have stood-up for principles throughout my life and suffered quite badly for them including being sacked – several times – and being on the Economic League’s Black List.

Would I do it all over again? Probably not. Does that make me a bad person? I’ll let other judge as long as they are prepared to be judged to the same standard.

MD’s spat with Ashley is a very small interlude in a huge story of great importance to Scotland and I’m quite amazed at the personalisation which has taken place.

I actually find it to be quite worrying.

View Comment

mcfcPosted on6:30 pm - Apr 14, 2015


Allyjambo says:
April 14, 2015 at 5:45 pm

I find this totally nonsensical:

‘The new Rangers regime will have to repay the £5m loan he lent them to gain control of the intellectual property rights.’

================================================================

‘The new Rangers regime will have to repay the £5m loan he lent them to gain control of the intellectual property rights because it is not a normal EBT-style loan that never needs to be repaid, ever, as approved by the highest court in the land. It is one of those perverse, aberrant, abhorant loans that you have to pay back with money. That’s the kind of man we’re dealing with here in Mike Ashley.’

View Comment

James DolemanPosted on6:34 pm - Apr 14, 2015


Mark Dingwall as the fearless “little guy” taking on the big corporations?

Given the man and his history excuse me for not buying it.

View Comment

Resin_lab_dogPosted on6:37 pm - Apr 14, 2015


Tartanwulver says:
April 14, 2015 at 6:01 pm

mcfc says:
April 14, 2015 at 5:23 pm

DR being rather indelicate pointing out the enormous wealth Ashley is not spending at ibrox: “He’s loaded and he don’t care – about The Rangers”

“Billionaire Mike Ashley’s just made himself even more money as MASH profits more than double to £542.6million”

______________________________________________________

On the plus side, if all of those merchandise sales and IPR exploitation translate into SD profits instead of RIFC losses (writeable off against tax liability on future profits… stop corpsing!) , at least – for once – the taxman gets something back out of Ibrox on the back of this.

(from the SD accounts 2014:
……
“Taxation
The effective tax rate on profit before tax for FY1
5
H1 was 23.0% (FY14H1: 25.0%).
The difference between the prevailing corporate tax rate of 21%
and the effective rate reflects depreciation on non-qualifying assets”

…..

So those shirt wearing bears can at last enjoy the sense of the dignity that goes with good citizenship, knowing that 23% of the vig on their SD merch. went straight back to Hector, when actually – none of it needed to, had they kept it all in house!

Such social responsibility is laudable.

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ecobhoyPosted on6:45 pm - Apr 14, 2015


James Doleman says:
April 14, 2015 at 6:34 pm

Mark Dingwall as the fearless “little guy” taking on the big corporations?

Given the man and his history excuse me for not buying it.
————————————————————–
I don’t know know any poster that has taken that line. I certainly didn’t but did post of his history when he repeatedly took on David Murray at a time when no Scottish journalist was prepared to do so.

There’s also things about his view that I don’t accept and oppose but in my way through life I find most people are a mixture af things I find acceptable and unacceptable.

He had a go at something and withdrew after getting some publicity.

The point he raised whether he carried through or not was valid. The fact that he didn’t want to probably end-up penniless and bankrupted and tens of thousands in debt seems to have been a sensible decision.

I certainly wouldn’t attack anyone who made that decision as it is one for each individual to make.

EDIT

I don’t think in any case that MD took-on Sports Direct – I believe they initiated the legal action.

View Comment

James DolemanPosted on6:54 pm - Apr 14, 2015


It’s all about opinions Eco. In my view he made an ill-thought out punt at embarrass Mike Ashley and blew it. What exactly Mr Dingwall going to do with a list of SD shareholders, send a chain letter?

It was a laughable attempt and he should think himself lucky he got away with his shirt thanks to a very generous gesture from the other side.

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ecobhoyPosted on7:10 pm - Apr 14, 2015


James Doleman says:
April 14, 2015 at 6:54 pm

It’s all about opinions Eco.
——————————————–
Yip and I’m afraid that’s one of the biggest problems with Scottish Journalism and has been for a long time. Too much opinion and No Facts has been the media culture here.

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James DolemanPosted on7:14 pm - Apr 14, 2015


Not for everyone Eco, can think.of a number of exceptions

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ecobhoyPosted on7:27 pm - Apr 14, 2015


James Doleman says:
April 14, 2015 at 7:14 pm

Not for everyone Eco, can think.of a number of exceptions
———————————————
There are always exceptions.

However the overwhelming weight of so-called journalistic output is based on hot air and personal opinions of the journo and that’s why I referred to it as the prevailing ‘culture’.

I’m afraid there are very very few real journalists tackling big issues involving powerful people, institutions, companies and all the issues that are left hidden such as sectarianism.

Z List celebrities and attacks on actual ‘little people’ are about all the SMSM can stretch to.

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Resin_lab_dogPosted on7:38 pm - Apr 14, 2015


McMurdo’s take on Mash next move:

” am hearing that Sports Direct want the loan money back pronto as they feel the conditions have been breached.”

“It wouldn’t surprise me if Newcastle United followed suit and asked for the £500,000 promotion money to be ringfenced.”

“In addition to this, my understanding is that Mike Ashley is preparing a strong legal case against certain key players in the new regime concerning their conduct in the recent tussle for control.”

https://billmcmurdo.wordpress.com/2015/04/14/got-those-big-club-blues/

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James DolemanPosted on7:42 pm - Apr 14, 2015


I’m not really in a position to comment about the “SMSM” never having been a part of it.

I’ll leave it there.

View Comment

ecobhoyPosted on8:20 pm - Apr 14, 2015


Resin_lab_dog says:
April 14, 2015 at 7:38 pm

McMurdo’s take on Mash next move:

” am hearing that Sports Direct want the loan money back pronto as they feel the conditions have been breached.”
————————————————————-
He should get a hearing aid then and maybe a pair of specs and read my earlier post about the loan Facility Letter which defines a default event.

It’s not a question about how anyone ‘feels’. It’s about what will be carefully defined in the letter – if it’s been breached then action will follow.

It a default event occurs then the security becomes enforceable and SportsDirect can demand repayment of the loan and if this isn’t done – I think within 7 days but I can’t face going back to the docs to have another look as it’s too spooky – then scary things happen.

Powers on enforcement give the Lender a wide range of powers and without further notice the Lender can sell or otherwise dispose of and convert into money any of the assigned rights.

I keep thinking I’ve missed a step like getting permission from court and maybe I have. But if I haven’t this looks a brutal and quick way for the lender to react but perfectly legal.

The message is loud and clear – if you take a loan and assign charges on assets to the Lender then make sure you do NOT break any conditions and end-up in default.

The Newcastle loan is an interesting thought and could be combioned with DL and BL going for constructive dismissal and asking for their notice money to be ring-fenced.

Might even spark McCoist and McDowall into going down the same route. This all looks very much like the circle is being squared so to speak.

As to the legal action against individuals involved in the takeover – could take years but it will cost in legal feels and just generally soaking-up time and providing aggro for the individuals.

I reckon though if there’s any truth in what McMurdo says then could be Ashley just opening-up various ‘fronts’ to do battle on.

Got to be remembered though that it’s possible counter-action could come from the incumbents over the decision of the old Board to refuse other loans.

At the end of the day if this all happens as predicted I reckon Rangers can’t escape collapse and if they ever get restarted then support could be cut drastically to around 12-15,00K and at that level they can’t afford Ibrox.

I’m sure Celtic will run them some seminars on State Aid for a suitable fee of course 😆

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Resin_lab_dogPosted on8:41 pm - Apr 14, 2015


ecobhoy says:
April 14, 2015 at 8:20 pm

Resin_lab_dog says:
April 14, 2015 at 7:38 pm

____________________________________

I think the ‘tell’ here is that it potentially answers the question I asked any journalists looking in to put to the board as a follow up to the statement of 8pm Sunday … i.e. what is the current status of the LA underpinning the IPR asset transfer security: Is it:

(a) In force
(b) In dispute
(c) In default or
(d) don’t know.

If McMurdo’s info is on the level, it means that Mash considers the answer to be (c)

which means the board are now stuck with (b), (c) or (d), depending on the extent to which they (i) agree with Mash’s assessment and (ii) are remotely clued up.

(a) was the good option. Its probably now gone.

(d) is still the worst option. It can’t still be surely????

I can hypothetically entertain the possibility of a charm offensive by the board to win Ashley back round.

But the problem with that is, Mike will want his price, and its hard to see what further meaningful humiliating concessions to SD its still possible for the Ibrox outfit to make?

Rename MP Ashley Park? He can do that himself when he forecloses.
Grovelling apologies?
Buy him his own blazer and brogues?
I don’t think Mash sets alot of stall by such trinkets.

Level 5 are gonna have their work cut out to spin this one round.

View Comment

AuldheidPosted on8:49 pm - Apr 14, 2015


Good Evening

Many thanks for the contributions towards a condensed version of the main blog that could form the basis of an advert to be placed in a mainstream newspaper.

The problem with the latter is that what is said has to be verifiable so it has taken time using Ecobhoy’s experience in that area to make statements of fact that can be supported if questions are asked.
So if some of the suggestions made are on the cutting room floor in terms of their expression we hope their sentiments have nevertheless been captured in what has been produced.

A suggestion that has been adopted is a Question and Answer section which would not form part of any advert for reasons of length mainly, but it will be used in combination to get the message across on line and hopefully in fanzines sold at grounds. Only the main statement will be presented to potential advertisers.

In the meantime we would like the following which is posted separately to be used by all TSFM readers to put to their own club match day fanzines and of course published on their own on line network of blogs. The Celtic on line community and fanzines will be contacted so at ease the green chaps, but this message really has to come from across the wide spectrum of Scottish football and this exercise in informing others is a very important part of what is a process working towards accountability in Scottish football so that it is clean, honest and honestly governed.

So Red Lichties, Dons and Arabs, Steelmen, Jambos,Hibees, Buddies and all names not mentioned please put what follows to your fellow supporters and have them asking questions of your clubs that in time will change the state of Denmark (with apologies to Danish Pastry for the Shakespeareian metaphor).

If folk want the following post as a file then contact Auldheid at auldheid046@gmail.com

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AuldheidPosted on8:50 pm - Apr 14, 2015


Was Lord Nimmo Smith Duped?

Please read, discuss and circulate this statement and help force the SPFL and SFA to stop hiding and serve the fans who are the lifeblood of our ‘beautiful game.’

The Lord Nimmo Smith (LNS) Commission, established in 2012 by the SPL to investigate the use by Rangers Football Club (RFC) of Employee Benefit Trusts with side letters, was derailed and duped – deliberately or otherwise – by the inexplicable failure to supply already existing evidence of earlier ‘irregular’ RFC EBTs. Consequently the invalidated Commission findings must now be set aside in the best interests of Scottish Football. The facts are:

• SPL announced on 5 March 2012 that every EBT with side letters used by Rangers Football Club (RFC) from 1 July 1998 would be investigated.

• However, only EBTs with side letters from 23 November 2000 onwards were actually scrutinised under the ‘SPL LNS Commission’ terms of reference. Why? Full details of three EBTs, two with side letters, weren’t provided to SPL lawyers as requested in March 2012 and neither was key HMRC documentation.

• The withheld documentation would have revealed three EBTs from 1999 and 2000, two with side letters, which were ‘illegal’ in HMRC terms and ‘irregular’ in LNS terminology. In 2005 Murray International Holdings (MIH) denied holding these side letters when questioned by HMRC. But March 2011 saw RFC finally admit liability for “The Wee Tax Case” following legal advice. The EBTs in question were illegal and side letters clearly existed.

• Side letters were lodged in each applicable player’s contract file at Ibrox and when HMRC at a later time requested two files for examination from MIH they were obtained from Ibrox. But on checking the files HMRC found no trace of the side letters which they already knew existed and should have been in the files. These missing side letters aren’t necessarily related to those mentioned previously but indicate behaviour.

• Similar EBTs used by a Scottish-based company – unconnected to Rangers – had already been declared ‘irregular’ following HMRC legal action. LNS subsequently ruled ‘no dishonesty’ in ignorance of the highly relevant evidence which revealed deliberate dishonesty in 2005 and possibly 2012. This has exposed his Lordship’s Decision as fatally flawed particularly with regard to his not considering sanctions of a sporting nature.

• The missing documentary evidence was drawn to the attention of SPFL* lawyers and the SPFL Board by The Scottish Football Monitor blog (TSFM) in Feb 2014. The lawyers subsequently failed to reasonably convince TSFM that the withheld documents wouldn’t have impacted on the LNS Decision and at no point has the SPFL Board responded to the points raised.

• Lord Nimmo Smith was informed by email of the documentation and correspondence in April 2014 but has not responded. Fourteen journalists have also been provided from September 2014 with the same evidence and TSFM blog debate. No story has been published and only one engaged and confirmed the case was sound. In September the SPFL lawyers stated that all documentation had been passed to the SFA.

• Campbell Ogilvie, when Secretary at RFC, was involved in the setting up of the first of the irregular EBTs in 1999. By June 2011 – when he was SFA President – the irregular EBT tax bill became due and resulted in “The Wee Tax Case”. Ogilvie was in receipt of a later RFC (“Big Tax Case”) EBT which is of course still currently under dispute by HMRC.

• Although Mr. Ogilvie excused himself from the EBT investigation proceedings he gave evidence to the Commission, but appears not to have provided any evidence that would have highlighted the differences in tax treatment between the three earlier (illegal) EBTs and the later ones.

• Stewart Regan, SFA CEO, may or may not have had the distinction explained by the SFA President. If not! Why not? Lord Nimmo Smith apparently wasn’t informed and appeared unaware illegal EBTs existed when issuing his tribunal findings. The extent of that ignorance was total as revealed by LNS stating in his Tribunal Decision: ‘We are not aware that they were different trusts. We shall treat them as a continuous trust.’ If only the withheld evidence had been provided it’s difficult, if not impossible, to believe the same decision could have been reached.

Q&A

Why revisit the LNS Decision? The hidden evidence clearly reveals that the whole truth wasn’t presented to LNS causing his Commission to get it horribly wrong.

What hidden evidence? That DOS EBTs had already been declared illegal and although Rangers accepted this and accepted the ensuing tax liability this was kept from the LNS Commission.

Does it matter? Only if you are interested in establishing the Truth which is the very least the Scottish game and its fans deserve. Lord Nimmo Smith might also be unhappy at being kept in the dark.

How did the judge get it wrong? LNS concluded from the evidence presented that all EBTs were similar. They weren’t and DOS EBTs had already been declared illegal. It seems unlikely that senior Rangers people and others involved in football governance were totally unaware of this.

Name names! Well the SFA President is in a unique position to do so. Although it appears he didn’t tell LNS about the different EBTs. Campbell Ogilvie authorised the first DOS EBT in 1999 and himself benefitted to the tune of £95K as a beneficiary of the revised EBTs. If anyone knows the difference between them it’s him. Mr Dickson who provided a witness statement to the LNS Commission and was responsible for the “mechanics” of EBT administration and the files in which documentation was kept at Ibrox might also be in a position to shed light on the DOS EBT side letters that were stated by MIH not to be on files when HMRC asked questions in 2005.

Can the Truth finally emerge? Only by reconvening the Commission preferably under LNS who would surely welcome having the full facts this time round. It would not only restore his good name but that of Scottish Justice.

The earlier seriously flawed judgement cannot be allowed to stand in the face of the facts which have been unearthed and which render the previous findings invalid.

Will it happen? It’s down to Scottish Football fans and up to every single one of us – irrespective of club – to speak as one and tear down the united wall of silence erected by the SFA, SPL, SPFL, the SMSM and even Lord Nimmo Smith’s Commission which was used to provide a veneer of legality and then appears to have been duped.

Justice must not only be done but be seen to be done, even at this late hour. And it must not be carried out behind closed doors with fans excluded and no transcript of the evidence produced.

Notes
Initial RFC EBTs – The Wee Tax Case – used a Discount Option Scheme subsequently ruled illegal by a FTT in Oct 2010.

From 2002/03 the RFC EBT scheme was altered but HMRC still believed the new arrangement was illegal and started the Big Tax Case. To date a First Tier Tax Tribunal and an Upper Tier Tax Tribunal have ruled these EBTS legal but HMRC has again appealed with a hearing due soon.

* The Scottish Football League (SFL) and Scottish Premier League (SPL) amalgamated to form the Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) in June 2013.

A video of an interview with Mr Regan by Alex Thomson Ch4 News and further detail appear on line at http://www.tsfm.scot/did-stewart-regan-ken-then-wit-we-ken-noo/

edit: me bad – missed removing an assumption stated as a fact.

View Comment

seniorPosted on8:52 pm - Apr 14, 2015


McMurdo’s take on Mash next move:

” am hearing that Sports Direct want the loan money back pronto as they feel the conditions have been breached.”

“It wouldn’t surprise me if Newcastle United followed suit and asked for the £500,000 promotion money to be ringfenced.”

“In addition to this, my understanding is that Mike Ashley is preparing a strong legal case against certain key players in the new regime concerning their conduct in the recent tussle for control.”

___________________________________________________________

Who would have thought Mc Murdo is a student of Phil Mac Giollabhain’s blog.

View Comment

Resin_lab_dogPosted on8:56 pm - Apr 14, 2015


ecobhoy says:
April 14, 2015 at 8:20 pm

Resin_lab_dog says:
April 14, 2015 at 7:38 pm

McMurdo’s take on Mash next move:

” am hearing that Sports Direct want the loan money back pronto as they feel the conditions have been breached.”
————————————————————-

As to the legal action against individuals involved in the takeover – could take years but it will cost in legal feels and just generally soaking-up time and providing aggro for the individuals.

I reckon though if there’s any truth in what McMurdo says then could be Ashley just opening-up various ‘fronts’ to do battle on.

Got to be remembered though that it’s possible counter-action could come from the incumbents over the decision of the old Board to refuse other loans.

_____________________________________________________

This could explain Mash’s ferrets looking into the liquidity and Net worth of the requisitioners.

Working out who to sue, and how much to chance it.
Business is business. No point in suing people for what they haven’t got.
(Unless they have really upset you to the extent you want to make them homeless, of course!

I Wonder if the next statement that PM utters will have been written for him by a sports direct lawyer. And how many times the word ‘Sorry’ appears in it)

View Comment

Resin_lab_dogPosted on9:01 pm - Apr 14, 2015


senior says:
April 14, 2015 at 8:52 pm

McMurdo’s take on Mash next move:

” am hearing that Sports Direct want the loan money back pronto as they feel the conditions have been breached.”

“It wouldn’t surprise me if Newcastle United followed suit and asked for the £500,000 promotion money to be ringfenced.”

“In addition to this, my understanding is that Mike Ashley is preparing a strong legal case against certain key players in the new regime concerning their conduct in the recent tussle for control.”

___________________________________________________________

Who would have thought Mc Murdo is a student of Phil Mac Giollabhain’s blog.

____________________________________________________

Curious, the way you never see those two together at the same time isn’t it? 😆 :irony:

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Cluster OnePosted on9:05 pm - Apr 14, 2015


Could the default kick in with the badges, if king gets on the board?

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Para HandyPosted on9:47 pm - Apr 14, 2015


sannoffymesssoitizz says:
April 14, 2015 at 3:48 pm

Views on fan ownership model from East Stirlingshire
http://www.scottishfans.org/supporter-ownership-week-interviews-east-stirlingshire
————————————
Interesting viewpoint and I would say a few shrewd observations. I was once in favour of fan “ownership”, not fans of the blazer and brogue variety but fans from the stands.

However, I no longer consider that to be important or indeed effective. What is needed is a governance model that:
– takes the fans into account
– involves them in the decision making processes
– gives them if not an equal say and vote in all matters, allows for it in areas that directly impact on fans – prices, facilities (inlcusinf safe standing), etc.
– enforces openness and accountability in the areas of finance, the SFA & the SPFL

The list could go on but I think that would be a fair start…

View Comment

ecobhoyPosted on10:07 pm - Apr 14, 2015


Para Handy says:
April 14, 2015 at 9:47 pm

What is needed is a governance model that:
– takes the fans into account
– involves them in the decision making processes
– gives them if not an equal say and vote in all matters, allows for it in areas that directly impact on fans – prices, facilities (inlcusinf safe standing), etc.
– enforces openness and accountability in the areas of finance, the SFA & the SPFL
—————————————————————-

I think you’ve nailed. Different clubs require different ownership levels/structures which suit the circumstances of a particular club and its fans.

The uniform approach must come at the governance level and show that every fan is equally valued for their contribution to the game and they deserve if not ‘rights’ then being consulted and their views listened to and an absolutely level playing field wrt the rules.

There also needs much more openness and especially explanations of any controversial decisions whether on or off the field and a commitment and willingness from all sides to learn from mistakes and improve the system.

Our sport and fans deserve no less from the administrators.

View Comment

AuldheidPosted on10:08 pm - Apr 14, 2015


Para Handy says:

April 14, 2015 at 9:47 pm (Edit)

Views on fan ownership model from East Stirlingshire
http://www.scottishfans.org/supporter-ownership-week-interviews-east-stirlingshire
————————————
Interesting viewpoint and I would say a few shrewd observations. I was once in favour of fan “ownership”, not fans of the blazer and brogue variety but fans from the stands.

However, I no longer consider that to be important or indeed effective. What is needed is a governance model that:
– takes the fans into account
– involves them in the decision making processes
– gives them if not an equal say and vote in all matters, allows for it in areas that directly impact on fans – prices, facilities (inlcuding safe standing), etc.
– enforces openness and accountability in the areas of finance, the SFA & the SPFL
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The Supporters Forum introduced by Celtic’s Supporter Liaison Officer (SLO) – a UEFA requirement but a post all clubs should have – is a step in that direction.

Further work needs done and a CST Resolution to that end was adjourned at last years AGM because although Celtic could not agree to the means suggested, the spirit behind it was recognised and there will be meetings with interested parties to see what improvements can be made.

That was a major advance on previous attempts that Celtic always voted down, suggesting minds are gradually changing on both sides to the model you suggest.

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Danish PastryPosted on10:15 pm - Apr 14, 2015


Not quite seeing Mark Dingwall in the ‘Mr Smith Goes to Washington’ role.

The whole thing seemed frivolous and ill-advised, and soliciting yet more money for this one-man kamakazi project was an insult to his fellow fans who are already seriously out of pocket.

All of this has come about because people have chosen to believe and perpetuate a myth, Dingwall included. They could end it tomorrow by setting up an honest newco. They probably wouldn’t get all the fans back, but they’d probably get the right ones. Can’t repeat this often enough — the football fans among the support could have an alternative club, modest, but theirs. Barrng that, they could just support the nearest local team, as many may already have chosen to do.

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jean7brodiePosted on10:26 pm - Apr 14, 2015


Danish Pastry says:
April 14, 2015 at 10:15 pm

_______________________________________

A very welcome voice of reason DP. Thanks for that.

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scapaflowPosted on10:55 pm - Apr 14, 2015


Even douche-bags, as my youngest would put it, have rights. In fact, its only by ensuring that douche-bags have rights, that we can be certain the rest of us do.

I’m pretty sure that some people would describe a Greenpeace, or an Amnesty International that tried a similar protest, around say a big electronics company that used questionable employment practices in the production of its tablets and phones, in much the same way.

The basic principle is worth fighting for, regardless of whether the chap seeking to make use of it, is a douche-bag or, a hero/heroine, depending on your viewpoint.

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Resin_lab_dogPosted on11:08 pm - Apr 14, 2015


Ah Doncaster… Is there no beginning to your competence?

_______________________________________________

http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/fixture-farce-marathon-talks-tv-5519398

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The Rangers nil? Who missed the penalty?Posted on5:42 am - Apr 15, 2015


Thanks for the clarification re the Dundee Utd/Inverness Caley match.

In my naivete I presumed that all the pre-split fixtures would be completed before the split (hence the pre-split tag).

Your clarification has stimulated, in the deepest recesses of my increasingly fading fading memory, a vague recollection that a similar situation has occurred previously.

Now, where did I put those keys?

View Comment

The Rangers nil? Who missed the penalty?Posted on5:46 am - Apr 15, 2015


mcfc says:
April 14, 2015 at 4:36 pm

“Sadim”.

Love it. 😆

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Long Time LurkerPosted on7:05 am - Apr 15, 2015


Do Rangers have an active, functioning CEO and Finance Director at the moment? I ask as it appears that both Derek Llambias and Barry Leach remain suspended from work.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/rangers/11461422/Rangers-suspend-Derek-Llambias-Barry-Leach-and-Sandy-Easdale.html

In the aftermath of the resignation of the Nomad, the failed attempt to secure a replacement, de-listing, the transfer of ownership of the IP – is the club/company addressing the business fundamentals of costs exceeding income?

I would imagine that in the absence of any leadership [no CEO or FD] if there is no one in authority coordinating the basic fundamentals of keeping the business alive then at worst, the situation is only going to get worse, at an alarming rate, or at best efforts to create savings will not be effective as they ought to be.

The announcement from Paul Murray that the club/company are reviewing all the contracts is not a money saving exercise – if contracts were to be unpaid, then costs are likely to increase when the lawyers get saddled up.

Is there any evidence / background chatter of monies due to suppliers not being paid etc. If history is going to repeat itself [irony alert :-)] a growing list of late payments etc. would be a significant indicator – in that regard past actions are likely to be an accurate indicator of future performance.

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upthehoopsPosted on7:26 am - Apr 15, 2015


The latest post by Auldheid re LNS possibly being duped really does make me believe that some day we WILL have the truth revealed about what actually happened. History shows in this country there have been many high profile cover ups, sometimes taking decades to be admitted. Of course, this particular issue does not involve life or death or wrongful imprisonment, but nonetheless it has had a profound effect on our national game, and those who invest as club owners and paying customers. Officialdom has no right to cheat any of those people.

The truth will out, I am absolutely positive of that. I just hope I am here to see it.

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ecobhoyPosted on8:45 am - Apr 15, 2015


scapaflow says:
April 14, 2015 at 10:55 pm

Even douche-bags, as my youngest would put it, have rights. In fact, its only by ensuring that douche-bags have rights, that we can be certain the rest of us do.

I’m pretty sure that some people would describe a Greenpeace, or an Amnesty International that tried a similar protest, around say a big electronics company that used questionable employment practices in the production of its tablets and phones, in much the same way.

The basic principle is worth fighting for, regardless of whether the chap seeking to make use of it, is a douche-bag or, a hero/heroine, depending on your viewpoint.
————————————————————
I think it’s best summed-up by the statement which goes something like: ‘I am totally opposed to what you say but I will defend your right to say it’. Obviously there are caveats that would apply in most democratic, civilized societies.

However IMO if someone wants to lay their hands on a company’s list of shareholders and not for a criminal purpose – so what? I’ve done it plenty of times.

And the more difficulties that were placed in my path the harder I tried because I simply wondered what name/s were in there that had to be kept hidden.

Indeed we have a classic situation wrt Rangers and the mystery overseas investors and even some closer to home. Should we not be allowed to know their identity?

Does the outcome of the SportsDirect v. Dingwall action mean that we shouldn’t even try to find out?

As to MD he spent £40 quid and got an immense amount of PR. He asked fellow Rangers fans for help with expenses and got £1,000 and that’s to be donated to charity and those who donated are being asked whether they have any preferences.

There are many things about MD and FollowFollow I don’t agree with but then I’m sure the reverse is true.

I am amazed that in the middle of a financial maelstrom engulfing Rangers that Dingwall has been moved to centre stage on TSFM. But that’s the world of internet posting and everyone’s entitled to their views and freedom of action I hear 🙄

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BarcabhoyPosted on9:02 am - Apr 15, 2015


If I was Ashley……..

Q Would I demand immediate repayment of my £5 million loan ?

A No . I would want to see what plan the RRM have for the funding of the business.

Q Would I insist on 2 nominated Directors taking their place on the RIFC board

A No . I would want to see what plan the RRM have for the funding of the business.

Q Would I move to sell any of the secured assets held by SD ?

A No . I would want to see what plan the RRM have for the funding of the business.

Q Why ?

A 1 Because there is no need to show my hand. No need to remove the question of how , when or if I will make a move. Keeping the RRM in the dark about my intentions is an advantage for me and a disadvantage for them.

2 Because I obviously have a desire to own a larger shareholding, as shown by my request to the SFA . The most obvious way of achieving that is if it is demonstrated that I am the only option to avoid another insolvency

3 Because doing nothing now forces the RRM , who I suspect don’t have sufficient resources , to do something. That something is unlikely to be enough to satisfy the expectation of the fans . Dissatisafaction with the RRM will reduce the credibility of those who campaigned against SD .

Summary

The downside of doing nothing doesn’t appear much of a downside at all. Stand back and watch the RRM realise they are out of their depth . Worst case scenario is you still own 9% , all your contracts are in place. Best case is you are absolutely the only game in town and all previous regulatory objections disappear.

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The Exiled CeltPosted on9:06 am - Apr 15, 2015


ecobhoy says:
April 15, 2015 at 8:45 am

Indeed we have a classic situation wrt Rangers and the mystery overseas investors and even some closer to home. Should we not be allowed to know their identity?

********

And therein lies the issue for me with MD and FF – instead of pretending to care about zero contracts and really be honing in on the SD contract with TRFC (which as a SD shareholder I would be delighted if it were weighted so heavily in SD favour so why would I want to protest against it?)………

Why did he not as a shareholder join up and force TRFC to name these shareholders who were making the decisions at the various EGMs?

He only thought about this tactic where SD was concerned?

I know you won’t know why he has not done this so am not asking for your view on this – merely pointing out that the shadowy figures within TRFC continues unabated, untouched and uninvestigated by the TRFC fans clubs who would rather concentrate on state aid and now SD……….

Whereas anyone else who does investigate is quickly labelled “obsessed”…..

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Gee69Posted on9:25 am - Apr 15, 2015


Just read this nonsense this morning.

Just play by the rules you’ve signed up to FFS

From the Daily Mail……………………………

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SPFL clubs are poised to do battle over a late Hibernian move to cash in on the Premiership play-offs.

Currently second in the Championship, the Easter Road club stand to make £1million from anticipated sell-out home gates against Rangers and the 11th place club in the Premiership – currently Motherwell.

Under recently passed SPFL rules, however, play-off sides must hand over 50 per cent of their play-off profits for distribution among lower league clubs within seven days.

And, faced with the possible loss of substantial sums from two lucrative matches, Hibs chairman Rod Petrie has garnered support from Hearts and Motherwell for a resolution to slash the profits levied from play-off finalists from 50 per cent to 25 per cent.

The issue will go to the vote at the SPFL AGM next Thursday, but faces opposition from the SPFL board who believe the move puts self-interest above those of all 42 clubs.

On Tuesday, one senior club figure told Sportsmail on condition of anonymity, that the Hibs, Hearts and Motherwell proposal was ‘outrageous’.
‘The agreement two years ago was that the clubs from the bottom three divisions would get more of the money,’ Sportsmail was told.

‘As part of that overall package we agreed a levy on the play-offs. No one at that time anticipated you might have a Rangers-Hibs play-off final.
‘Now there is a move by people with vested interests to say “we might be doing ourselves out of a bit of money!”. And they are attempting to revisit it.

‘That’s potentially outrageous because all clubs voted for the restructuring on the basis of the overall package and you can’t suddenly decide later that because you are in the play-offs you are not happy with it.’

Hibernian declined to comment last night although the Easter Road club will argue that funding for lower league clubs will be unaffected by slashing the levy because of a new six-figure broadcast deal for the play-offs and the imposition by the SPFL of new minimum pricing policy of £15 and £10 for all six matches.

Hibernian are believed to have had reservations over the 50 per cent levy before the redistribution package was passed and have now gathered backing to revisit the issue next Thursday from Motherwell – also likely to be involved in the play-offs – and city rivals Hearts.
One Easter Road source told Sportsmail: ‘A rule change has been introduced by the SPFL stopping clubs allowing their season ticket holders into the play-off games for free.

‘They have also imposed a minimum price of £15 and £10 for the play-offs.
‘In addition there was no television money in place for the play-offs last year while this year they have secured six-figure revenues to go round the clubs.

‘Add in the fact the parachute payments to the Premiership clubs are fully funded by the SFA – not the SPFL – and people at Hibs take the view that to hand back 50 per cent of the money generated is excessive and unnecessary. The suggestion that it be reduced is not unreasonable. Hearts and Motherwell agree.’

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Their greed knows no bounds

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ecobhoyPosted on9:32 am - Apr 15, 2015


Barcabhoy says:
April 15, 2015 at 9:02 am

Yip the old adage about doing nothing but simply watch and let your enemy make the mistakes probably fits best of all.

The only caveats I would raise is that I think there is a time pressure of the end of the season coming-up in terms of insolvency.

I don’t think it matters a curdy to Ashley whether Rangers get promoted this season or not as he has the financial luxury to plan long-term and similarly any points penalty for another insolvency event is immaterial in the longer term.

He has every asset currently in his control except players’ contracts and tbh the current Board might need to flog the few of them worth anything very rapid to get to ST time. The rest are out of contract after the season anyway.

We have the shell of a club but no stadium. We have the useless Hampden. It’s a long punt but might Ashley build a new stadium for the SFA shared by Rangers in Ibrox? I’m sure the SFA would then have no problem with him bringing in loan players by the bus load.

I have, of course, always wondered why Ashley has become so involved with Rangers and whether there is a wider plan. But I could be talking tripe.

So if not the grand plan he still wants to make money from his retail activities, But does he really want to be involved with the fractious and fractured Rangers support?

I think not. And that IMO leaves the door slightly ajar for selected RRM to ‘run’ the footballing side of things under Ashley appointed exec directors. I doubt we would see a return of DL and BL right enough.

But for that to work if there’s to be no new stadium then wampum will need to be delivered say in the shape of baubles, badges and crests. It would cost SD nothing as they have the exclusive worldwide licence anyway and control of Rangers Retail Ltd.

And by the time I talk of all threat of financial implosion would have passed under Ashley’s stewardship so there’s no risk that anyone else could then snatch those important Club totems.

EDIT

Oh I should have mentioned that the new stadium would be paid for by a massive regeneration of the Ibrox area – State Aid would play its part. And I wouldn’t be in the least surprised if Ashley had looked at the Celtic Vision in the East End and thought – I can replicate that and make a packet!

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ecobhoyPosted on9:41 am - Apr 15, 2015


Gee69 says:
April 15, 2015 at 9:25 am

The issue will go to the vote at the SPFL AGM next Thursday, but faces opposition from the SPFL board who believe the move puts self-interest above those of all 42 clubs.

Don’t these pesky rebels realise yet that only 1 club in Scotland is allowed under the rule books to put its interest before all other clubs ❓

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AllyjamboPosted on9:43 am - Apr 15, 2015


Gee69 says:
April 15, 2015 at 9:25 am

I can’t understand why my club would be involved in this with nothing, immediately, to gain. I can only think they have decided to show solidarity with their neighbours! I wonder, though, how many of the clubs involved would have backed such a proposition if they hadn’t been, well, involved? Whatever the justification for this 50% levy, it was in place when the competition began and would go unchallenged if it was 3 or 4 of the less fashionable clubs left to battle out for the Premiership place.

It’s simple, though. The point has been made that it is unfair; so, during the close season, the proposal should be put forward and any changes agreed put in place in time for the start of next season. Sorted!

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ecobhoyPosted on9:58 am - Apr 15, 2015


The Exiled Celt says:
April 15, 2015 at 9:06 am
ecobhoy says:
April 15, 2015 at 8:45 am

Why did he not as a shareholder join up and force TRFC to name these shareholders who were making the decisions at the various EGMs?
————————————————————-
I don’t know whether he did or not but I do know that a host of organisations he is a member of have done that, as have various Bear groups and individual supporters.

The issue is one that has been bubbling away since the beginning on Rangers fan sites especially stoked by supporters suspicious of the various Boards that have passed through Ibrox.

Other fans I accept haven’t been interested because they are genuinely only interested in the football – there’s a lot like that in all clubs btw.

But the others who have argued that the Boards know the identity of the mystery men and that should be accepted on trust have tended IMO to be very pro-Board – all Boards until they are replaced. However, in a curious turn the devout pro-Boarders have had an about-turn with the present Board and that’s the first they don’t support.

I don’t think TRFC are in a position to name the shareholders concerned as you suggest because they aren’t shareholders of TRFCL but of RIFC Plc.

In any case the names filed don’t necessarily reveal the ultimate ownership ID – but that’s another rather involved story. Btw I would assume that MD is a TRFCL shareholder to be able to attend agms and egms and view various company documents either at the registered office or SAIL location.
the

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tykebhoyPosted on9:59 am - Apr 15, 2015


I agree with Allyjambo on the levy. I can’t see why Hearts would be involved and I also think if it is to be changed it should be from the start of the competition/season not when those that have ended up with a vested interest decide its unfair.

The irony is I’m sure in playing down a TRFC bumper pay-day squirrel the levy has previously been pointed out and irony of ironies that Hibs (Petrie?) were one of the chief protaganists in forcing it through. That they should end up being involved in the Premiership play-offs in the first 2 years of its existence obviously wasn’t on Hibs radar.

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mcfcPosted on10:00 am - Apr 15, 2015


Resin_lab_dog says:
April 14, 2015 at 11:08 pm

Ah Doncaster… Is there no beginning to your competence?

http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/fixture-farce-marathon-talks-tv-5519398
=====================================================

It may be an urban myth, but I remember hearing that a linguistics professor interviewed on Radio 4 some years back was asked to name his favourite word. Quickly he said “Oh that’s easy ‘f*ck’. It is by far the most versatile word in the English language. Only the other day I was passing a building site and I saw a labourer hitting a cement mixer with a spade and declaring ‘f*ck, the f*ckin f*cker’s f*ckin f*cked.’”

Was the professor also passing Neil Doncaster’s office at Hampden yesterday after talks concluded on the match schedule?

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The Exiled CeltPosted on10:11 am - Apr 15, 2015


Ecobhoy – apologies – yes I meant shareholder of RIFC not TRFC – I still get mixed up as you can see with all these etheral beings and clumpanys – apologies!

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tykebhoyPosted on10:12 am - Apr 15, 2015


Resin_lab_dog says:
April 14, 2015 at 11:08 pm

Ah Doncaster… Is there no beginning to your competence?

http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/fixture-farce-marathon-talks-tv-5519398
=====================
I take it Celtic have played their last 3.00pm Saturday this season, other than a potential cup final, then. From memory the Dons and Terrors at Home and Dundee, ICT and the Saints away would be an 19/19 and 2/2 split assuming it fits in with the other’s 19/19. I would imagine BT/SKY will definitely carve all those 5 up probably meaning impossible logistics for Dons fans travelling to Celtic Park (7.45 Friday?11.30 Sunday?)

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SmugasPosted on10:16 am - Apr 15, 2015


Am I missing something here.

Hearts with nothing to lose (would they, as champions, get a share of the levied profits?) sign up to it presumably in a shoulder to shoulder Edinburgh thing.

Hibs with a lot to gain, as potentially six big games for them, sign up unsurprisingly.

Motherwell, with a lot to gain, but on a precipice depending on results, sign up.

Sevco, with most to gain as they’re talking about potentially four and possibly six sellout matches, with ‘their’ sellouts being 40,000+, plus a rather drastic need for money and they’re not mentioned. 😕

Not asked? Not involved? Attention elsewhere?

Or a principled stand for the good of the other 41?

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ecobhoyPosted on10:20 am - Apr 15, 2015


The Exiled Celt says:
April 15, 2015 at 9:06 am
ecobhoy says:
April 15, 2015 at 8:45 am

Indeed we have a classic situation wrt Rangers and the mystery overseas investors and even some closer to home. Should we not be allowed to know their identity?
********
And therein lies the issue for me with MD and FF – instead of pretending to care about zero contracts and really be honing in on the SD contract with TRFC (which as a SD shareholder I would be delighted if it were weighted so heavily in SD favour so why would I want to protest against it?)………
————————————————
Not all company shareholders are interested solely in the financial return from their shares.

Other have wider moral concerns. Indeed we only have to look at those Celtic shareholders who have been pressing for the introduction of the living wage.

They obviously have taken a moral decision it’s the right thing to do and more appropriate to spend money that way than say buying players or paying dividends.

Wrt SportsDirect you appear to have opted for the ‘cash’ decision rather than the ‘moral’ one as I interpret how MDs case hase been presented in the MSM.

Of course there are cash arguments to the moral case as well in that it’s argued a better-paid workforce will be more motivated and produce a higher profitability level. And that seems to be the MD argument which also appers to be your’s.

On the Rangers contract with SD he argues that if it was a better deal for Rangers then more kit would be bought by Bears and SD would make more profits which would advantage shareholders. Again he would seem to be at one with you.

My observations are based on stories published by English-based media and not by internet speculation or SMSM offerings btw.

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Gee69Posted on10:22 am - Apr 15, 2015


Smugas says:
April 15, 2015 at 10:16 am

Indeed. Very conspicuous by their absence.

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ecobhoyPosted on10:23 am - Apr 15, 2015


The Exiled Celt says:
April 15, 2015 at 10:11 am

Ecobhoy – apologies – yes I meant shareholder of RIFC not TRFC – I still get mixed up as you can see with all these etheral beings and clumpanys – apologies!
——————————————————-
So do I – frequently 🙄 But that was all part of the plan from way before Day 1 😎

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