In the Service of Fools

Given the recent heightened focus on the refereeing standards in Scotland, I was asked to update a previous blog from 2010 that included suggestions for changing the way refereeing is managed in Scotland .

Having had a look at original my thoughts are “ here we are again”, for the very same reasons the blog was penned in 2010.


Because the refereeing issue is in my view connected to a lack of proper financial controls that create moral hazard, where one party can act with reckless abandon (see Rangers latest accounts), but other parties, as happened in 2012 are left to face the consequences.

So I’ll just repeat the suggestions made then but with an added comment on the proposed use of VAR, and how that and proper financial controls can save Scottish football from itself. First the Referee Service

Note the word “service” for this is the way that much of what the SFA do should be viewed. The SFA provide a number of services to the clubs who play in Scotland. They should not be seen as their masters but their servants. Or in modern terms the clubs in their professional leagues are the customers and the SFA the service providers. This change of attitude would allow competition to provide such services to enter the scene and so improve them.

This would be a huge cultural change but it has to start somewhere and here we are again under starters orders IF supporters act to bring the change about by calling their clubs to account for allowing the past to repeat itself today  as a result of the notorious  sporting integrity breaking Five Way Agreement, that UEFA never clapped eyes on where our game became a franchise and clubs where stores that changed from Mr Noodles to Nachos but were still the same because they sold food. 


The Referee Service

This would be split with the SFA doing the recruitment, training and match appointments (having taken the nature of the game to be officiated into account). However the monitoring and evaluation would be the province of the customer, using referees or ex refs from anywhere to mark to a standard set by the customer. This spilt of responsibilities would prevent any one person being in a position to exert his own influence on referees as a result of being part of the appointment and evaluation process. It would safeguard the SFA from the kind of suspicion that led to the referees’ strike and lead to a higher standard of referee because the customer would be setting the standard not the supplier (as happens everywhere in business but football) If it did not, it would free the SPL/SL to hire their own referees from wherever they could get them. A bit of competition never did anybody any harm and that includes our referees who, if they reached higher standards, would be in more demand outside Scotland.

Here is the addition brought on by the introduction of VAR which is just another service. Use this “here we go again” opportunity to put the VAR service AND the refereeing it watches over out to tender. The VAR supplier is also the referee monitor service to the leagues and the SFA become trainers and developers at lower levels of professional referees and work with the VAR service under a contract that rewards both parties.  

The Licensing Service

This needs to be calibrated to meet the financial position of Scottish clubs.  The principles in UEFA FFP that stipulate what is to be treated as allowable income and allowable debt continue,  but regulating controls to prevent clubs going bust or acting in a reckless financial manner need introduced. Points deduction is no deterrent if such recklessness creates huge points gap at end of season when the CL money is at stake. Nor is the threat of losing all won by that recklessness a deterrent, when the nature of how it was won is downplayed then ignored and airbrushed from football history.

If survival depends on access to CL geld then referees , as matters continue to stand will come under the kind of scrutiny that unless addressed,  leads to an ever growing suspicion,  because here we bloody well are again,  that our game is bent .

Worse it leads to thinking that the clubs like it that way but ignore that their supporters do not and will continue to ignore until supporters vote with their feet.

In short the Licensing Service that is supposed to protect the financial well being of Scottish clubs has failed. It perpetuates a moral hazard almost by design that caused Rangers demise in 2012  and that failure and how it was dealt with under the 5 Way Agreement has undermined the integrity of our game, causing increased scrutiny of referee decisions and if not dealt with this time will eventually kill football in Scotland as a sport.

VAR however if introduced as a professional service on lines suggested should encourage more prudent financial behaviour in future by making reckless behaviour so risky it will stop and with it the moral hazard it creates.

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About Auldheid

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.

821 thoughts on “In the Service of Fools

  1. Guess which sports governance body issued a press statement yesterday which contains the phrase
    “Failure to do so would undermine the integrity of the league.. .”?

    You’ve guessed correctly! None other than the SPFL

    Having facilitated , endorsed and promoted the creation of the insultingly stupid lie that TRFC is ‘continuity RFC of 1872’, the SPFL is in no position to invoke notions of ‘integrity’ as being part of their thinking.
    And for as long as the biggest sporting lie in Scottish football history continues to lie at its heart , words like ‘sporting integrity’ are nothing but hypocritical cant when used by the SPFL.

  2. wokingcelt 28th Dec 11.44.

    Given that the SG are predicting the peak Omicron infection rate is still a month or so away do you honestly believe fans will be attending games post break in any greater numbers than could have been accommodated at present?

  3. Barry Ferguson seems to believe that Morelos getting a kick in the back side has led to an improvement in recent appearances. Could this also be a case of a looming transfer window and most scouts, managers looking at recent performances in looking at options to purchase. What have you done for me lately comes to mind. It would be interesting to look at past December stats for Morelos and look at what happened after the transfer window closed and he still resided at Ibrox.

  4. Postponing one match away from home with no fans and complaining about that decision then postponing your own home B team match because you want fans to watch has an element of double standards . The fact is one match behind closed doors was seen as a benefit for them while the other didn’t allow for maximum financial gain . Once again the sense of entitlement and the belief that the World should revolve around what’s best for them is on full display. That they then had the audacity to play the “sporting integrity” card was almost laughable.

  5. @Albertz11 – I don’t know and neither do you. What I (and you) both know is that a game played tomorrow would have no more than 500 fans whereas as a game played in three weeks may have 50,000 fans. It seems pretty clear to me that the SPFL are trying to respond as best they can under the laws of the land – it is the SG that is limiting attendances remember.
    When at least 10/12 clubs agree with the approach I would want to hear a very strong argument as to why such a strong majority are in the wrong.
    And I would like you to reconcile for me the public positions taken by TRFC with regard to their first team match against Celtic and their Colts match also against CFC (please bear in mind that Boris Johnson Cakeism is already totally discredited).

  6. Timtim 28th Dec 20.07

    Two entirely different situations that are in no way comparable Timtim. One of the key objectives in Rangers participating in the LL was to play in front of larger attendances. With this in mind it makes perfect sense to postpone the game until this is possible.

    Also i’m not sure why you think playing the Old Firm game behind closed doors would “benefit” Rangers. The previous BCD game ended in a 1-1 draw whereas a 2-1 victory was achieved in front of a capacity crowd at Parkhead the previous season.
    wokingcelt 23.12

    Given the latest from Jason Leitch i believe that there is little to no chance of fans attending games after the break.

    JASON Leitch sparked fears Scotland’s tough curbs on crowds and hospitality could last longer than three weeks as he warned Omicron’s “terrifying” big numbers are still to come.

    The national clinical director said the peak of the UK’s latest Covid wave may not hit until February – suggesting the planned end date for restrictions will have to be pushed back.

    Whether played in front of 500 or 0 the games could have taken place.

  7. wokingcelt 23.12

    Ran out of time above, but just to add that whilst you are correct to say the SPFL are acting under the SGs crowd restrictions this didn’t require them to cancel the final two rounds of fixtures.SG never said we couldn’t continue.

    Following this decision we then have the SPFL statement which includes the following-

    “There’s absolutely no more leeway in the calendar and whatever the situation in the New Year, we simply have to get these games played.

    “If we can’t then we are in real danger of being in the same situation that we were two years ago with potential curtailment.”

    Does this make any sense?

  8. And just for fun, I reminded myself of the text of the RIFC plc ‘Prospectus’:
    ‘ 8. Pursuant to the share exchange agreement, the Company [i.e the proposed RIFC plc] has agreed to acquire the entire issued share capital of RFCL [i.e Rangers Football Club Limited [i.e CG’s sevco5088/sevcoscotland/ club 12,] (which we know was admitted as a new football club into Scottish Football in 2012 and CLEARLY could not have been the good old Rangers of 1872 of my grandfather’s day[now RFC 2012 in Liquidation]),

    and the lie implied in the statement that “RFCL [i.e SEVCO] acquired the the assets .. and now operates the club”, implying that the club they ‘operate’ is RFC of 1872.

    Honest to God, that our football Governance people and, much more importantly, the Nomad and the FCA should not have seen what was happening! A child could see through the fiction.

    Or, perhaps more likely? they saw, but chose, like BBC Scotland and the SMSM generally, to ignore the underlying deceit, and not only accept the deceit but actively propagate it.

    There has not ever been any serious factual /legal legal explanation as to why or how TRFC can possibly , under any provision of Insolvency or Commercial law’ or of the articles of association of the then SPL, or of the SFA ,be regarded legitimately as RFC of 1872.
    A fact that the late, lamented Turnbull Hutton knew, and alone was man of principle enough to declare as much publicly on the steps of Hampden.

    And I hope to call the Nomad who facilitated the IPO into question for his acceptance of the Prospectus and authorisation of its publication.
    In my view he clearly got it wrong or was misled by duff info which he did not check.
    We’ll maybe get there before I die!
    But certainly at some point in the future, the truth will be revealed.
    And the ‘baddies’ in sports governance and sports journalism and in the deceitful TRFC in their miserable hearts know it.
    And bad cess to them for their complicity in sports cheating.

  9. @Albertz
    Given the horrendous injury list at Celtic it would have been advantageous to play against a much weakened team . It has often and very recently stated that Celtic are spurred on by their support , to suggest a stadium full of Celtic fans would benefit the away team is utter bunkum. As for your statement that one of the objectives to playing in the LL was to play in front of larger crowds is just more nonsense . How big do you think crowds are at LL matches ? It’s 2 men and a dug territory . This was about maximising income which if you haven’t noticed is a priority these days.

  10. I note that ‘The Scotsman’s leader-writer has the gall to agree with China’s Consul-General when the later closes a letter of complaint to the paper with ” A lie has speed, but truth has endurance. The liar’s attempt is doomed to fail”
    I would ask that leader-writer to look at ‘The Scotsman’s unquestioning acceptance of deceit in the world of Scottish Football, and seriously consider whether a newspaper without the guts to report football truth has any right to complain about others who may not tell the truth in really serious matters.
    I used the words ‘hypocritical cant’ the other day.
    And I use them again today of any assertion by ‘The Scotsman’ that “..their first desire is to be honest”.

  11. I support Thistle and was happy not to join the ballot for tickets for our home games under restriction . I care for a disabled partner and a 92-year-old mother and wouldn’t like to be responsible for infecting them . At games I have attended during the pandemic , I’ve been struck by the nonchalance of the population in it’s response to covid rules – to me , the majority pay lip service at best to the management of the problem , and controls are lax and the basic minimum . For some people these days , football actually is a matter of life and death .

  12. Timtim 29th Dec 11.21

    Despite this “horrendous injury list”, and a few rumoured Covid cases, Celtic were able to field a starting team in their previous game versus St Johnstone that cost over £ 21 million in transfer fees. Added to that you had 3 Internationalists from Croatia, USA & ROI and a couple of U21 players from Scotland & ROI. A further £5 million of talent sat on the bench unused. I’m positive fans of other clubs on the site would love to have this problem.

    Attendances at the Rangers LL games have been close to 1000 on a couple of occasions and average around 600 so not exactly “.2 men and a dug”.

  13. In my opinion the question over fans in stadiums hinges on the fact that the current Scottish Government has a clear disdain for football, and football fans. They applied a figure of 500 across the board, no matter whether the stadium holds 60,000, or 2,000. If a percentage figure was applied it would surely be fairer. Politics play a huge part of course and it’s more advantageous for the Government to allow middle Scotland more freedoms, such as zero restrictions on non-essential shopping within packed indoor malls. Football fans are the bottom of the social ladder as far as this Government is concerned. In my opinion that is as clear as day.

  14. @Albertz
    So similar to attendances at Stenhousemuir or Stirling Albion is not a big audience , by comparison no different to reserve league attendances for them . I remember going to a Celtic v Rangers* reserve game at Celtic Park with over 30,000 others in the 80’s or 90’s. To suggest the LL gives higher attendances as a reason for joining is not backed up by the facts. But hey ho

  15. Timtim 29th Dec 20.03.

    I have no idea what attendances Celtic attract to their games but with an average figure of 600+ Rangers are more than happy with the support given to what is basically the U19 squad.

    Having attended in excess of 250 Reserve/Youth games throughout the years believe me this is a massive increase in the numbers that would normally turn up, and does in fact justify one of the reasons given for playing in the LL.

  16. To:

    Thu, 30 Dec at 00:11

    Dear Commissioner,
    I believe that the IPO Prospectus issued in December 2012 by Rangers International Football Club plc contained misleading information, to wit, that on formation the Rangers International Football Club plc (‘ RIFC plc’)would become the holding company of ‘The Rangers Football Club’ that was founded in 1872, incorporated by Companies House on 27 May 1899 under the name ‘The Rangers Football Club Limited’ and allotted Company number SC 4276. It was re-registered as a public company on 31 March , retaining the same name and company number-SC 4276. There was no separately registered ‘holding company’ : that is, the football club was the company and the company was the football club.

    That football club, Rangers Football Club plc, company number SC 4276 , entered Administration on 14 February 2012, the Administrators signally having failed either to find an outright buyer OR to achieve a Company Voluntary Arrangement. It ‘cleverly’ changed its name to ‘RFC 2012 plc’, before the Court of Session on 31 October 2012 ordered that it be wound up and it entered Liquidation where it remains to this day.

    On suffering the insolvency event of Liquidation, RFC 2012 plc ( formerly The Rangers Football Club plc) was required under the Articles of Association of the then Scottish Premier League Ltd (‘SPL’) to surrender its share in that Company.

    And under the Articles of Association of the Scottish Football Association ( ‘SFA’) it ipso facto ceased to have entitlement to membership of the SFA.
    In short it ceased legally to exist as a professional football club (as, of course, many other even honest clubs over the years have done)

    It follows that whatever entity ‘Rangers International Football Club plc’ was to become the ‘holding club’ of [ see section B.3 of the Prospectus in question], it could not have been the Rangers Football Club plc (IL), and therefore not the Rangers Football Club of 1899 incorporation, or the Rangers Football Club that was founded in 1872.

    No. The ‘RFCL’ ( company number 42519) of which the Rangers International Football Club plc was, according to the Prospectus, to be the holding company, did not acquire and own any football club.

    It bought a basket of assets from the failed Administration. That is, RFCL did not ‘acquire’ a football club: the Rangers Football Club of 1872, 1889, 2012, is still in Liquidation. There was no ‘holding company’ that went into Liquidation! It was company number SC 4276, the football club, that did so.

    ‘RFCL’ , first incorporated by Companies House as SevcoScotland Ltd , company number 42519,had to be specially admitted as a new football club into the Scottish Football League(SFL) , having been refused entry into the SPL.

    Personally, I am astonished that any ‘Nomad’ ever allowed any kind of suggestion in the Prospectus that potential investors would be investing in the holding company of the most successful football club in the world , with a glorious sporting history over a period of 140 years.

    Happily I was not seriously tempted to invest, but it is conceivable that I might have done. So while not actually suffering financial loss, I think I am nevertheless entitled to ask hard questions about the Prospectus and its authorisation.

    For the sake of completeness, I will add that I tried to raise this matter with the FCA a year or three ago but they somehow lost my original actual physical letters to them and it was too much hassle to try to follow up.

    And, for the sake of openness and honesty, I will l post this email on to the widely read football blog I occasionally post on.

    I do think there is something to be at least looked at by you, even after 9 years!

    I can do no more than express that opinion, albeit in the expectation that if you disagree with me you will give some kind of reason why you think the ‘Nomad’ / FCA was right to authorise the IPO Prospectus of Rangers International Football Club plc.

    I wish you and your colleagues a ‘Guid new Year’ frae Edinburgh.

    Yours sincerely,


    At the very least, in the records there will be some challenge to the Big Lie.
    Of course, if I was not an auld impoverished pensioner but had a few bob to spare I’d have gone to a lawyer years ago. It’s such a stupid lie!

  17. @Albertz
    “Despite this “horrendous injury list”, and a few rumoured Covid cases, Celtic were able to field a starting team in their previous game versus St Johnstone that cost over £ 21 million in transfer fees. Added to that you had 3 Internationalists from Croatia, USA & ROI and a couple of U21 players from Scotland & ROI. A further £5 million of talent sat on the bench unused. I’m positive fans of other clubs on the site would love to have this problem.”

    Of course this has absolutely no bearing on the club* you support which as I have already pointed out would benefit from playing a much weakened Celtic . Your concern for other clubs is a nice touch . if you can just master sincerity you’ve got it made.

  18. My post of 30th December 2021 At 00:35 refers

    A reply to my email to the Complaints Commissioner came in at 11.12 this morning- same day! Here is the text of the message:

    “Thank you for your email received 30 December 2021.
    I understand that the FCA sent its decision letter to you in May 2020 and you referred your complaint to the Commissioner on 30 December 2021.

    A complaint must usually be referred to the Commissioner within three months of the date of the regulator’s decision letter. You have not referred your complaint to the Commissioner within three months of the date of the FCA’s decision letter to you.

    The Commissioner will however consider reasons you may wish to put forward as to why you have referred your complaint outside of the three-month time limit. This does not guarantee that the Commissioner will subsequently investigate your complaint. The Commissioner will consider your explanation of why your complaint was sent late and then decide whether there is good reason to consider your matter.

    Yours sincerely, ”
    I have since replied indicating that the complaint to which the FCA replied and which was not upheld was only my complaint at how slow they were in replying: they had not actually realised that there was a much more serious complaint about the ‘integrity’ of the Prospectus, and had not addressed that complaint.
    I explained that I believed the FCA wanted nothing to do with the matter for fear of the hoo-ha that would arise if my complaint had substance and the Prospectus was found to have been potentially ,carelessly misleading.
    I further explained that I only discovered a short while ago the existence of a Complaints Commissioner, independent of the FCA, with power to investigate the very FCA itself, and that had I known that at the material time I would have sent my complaint to that Commissioner so that no one in the FCA who had been connected with authorisation of the Prospectus would be involved in any wee fresh look at.

    I added that the media here, including the BBC, would not wish to see an investigation undertaken: since they themselves failed to investigate and merely accepted what in my opinion was a false claim or shocking mistake.

    [Now that I think about it, I just wish I had adduced “considerable public interest in the possibility that all was not quite right with the Prospectus” as a reason for the Commissioner to allow a late complaint!]
    But to tell the truth, the FCA’s attitude to a certain contempt of court case weakened my belief in that organisation as any kind of serious Regulator, or rather, strengthened my view that the Law itself makes it difficult to regulate the world of business and finance.

  19. Well, birthday present from son and his wife and the grandweans in Australia arrived this morning ( arranged online, of course, and delivered by an Amazon man, if that’s not an oxymoron): bottle of Glenfiddich single malt 12 year-old (yep! 3 years older than TRFC).
    I messaged my thanks and said that I would open it tonight at 11.58 when standing on the doorstep after ‘putting the ashes’ out’ and chapping the door as soon as I hear the first ship’s siren from Leith ( or first bell anywhere!) hoping that as per hallowed custom Mrs C lets me in.
    When she does I shall pour her her usual thimbleful, myself a decent few fingers, and we shall raise our glasses to wish them a guid new year.
    [It’s beside the point that I shall have had a sip or two of basic Bell’s afore then, you cynics!]
    But before then, let me wish and its skipper and crew and all who sail in her with honest minds and truthful hearts a happy healthy New year!

  20. Enjoy the dram JC – a lovely tradition you have there. I won’t make it till midnight (Mrs Wokingcelt already called it a night), but sipping a Lagavulin before bedtime).
    Here’s wishing all a happier, healthier and more honest 2022.

  21. A daily reader but an infrequent contributor but every day I learn something new in the cesspit of Scottish Football governance and politics. Long may it continue. A guid New Year to all contributors and the gaffers as well. Onwards and upwards.

  22. Happy New Year to everyone- from my Covid-infested quarantine bedroom ???

  23. One of the Glasgow clubs seems to be heavily reliant on securing the title and the potential riches of the CL which could make a sizeable dent in the losses raced up over the past number of years. If I follow the plot in regards to the CL berth I believe it may not be the outright guarantee that has been suggested. Does the overall co-efficient come into play and this could impact the eventual Scottish champion. Happy to be corrected but there was an article sometime ago that hinted/suggested that this wasn’t an automatic entry into the CL. If that is the case one team is involved in another high stakes poker game.

  24. vernallen 1st January 2022 At 17:04
    ‘..If that is the case one team is involved in another high stakes poker game.’
    If by ‘team’, vernallen, you mean the ‘Board’ of RIFC plc, I would argue that those around the board table up the marble stairway are about as much a ‘team’ as the members of the Downing Street Cabinet Office!
    They have to hang together or, metaphorically, they may hang separately.
    But there is one guy , not already on the Board, and not to my knowledge generally known to be ‘team player’ who may be more interested in his personal fortunes than in ‘what’s best for the enterprise as a whole’ and who may be seeking to safeguard his interests by demanding a seat round the table.

    One of my favourite cinematic experiences was watching the scene in ‘The Untouchables’ , in which the major criminal scum of Chicago, in their tuxedos, were at a dinner presided over by Capone, ‘capo dei capi’.

    Capone makes the kind of a wee ‘company chairman’ speech about the individual effort and initiative required to move things on, in the context of ‘team-work,’ before smashing in, with a baseball bat, the head of one of the other baddie who, he had discovered , was quietly ripping him off by running his own independent bootlegging operation.
    Does my experience of that scene colour my view?
    Am I comparing that scene with anything that happens round the board room table at Ibrox?
    Well, as far as I know there isn’t a baseball bat on the premises, so….

  25. Big Pink 1st January 2022 At 14:41

    Happy New Year to everyone- from my Covid-infested quarantine bedroom ???


    Happy New Year BP. You have my sympathy. I had a very lousy November due to said virus and still have lingering issues. The only positive was my GP reckoned without my two vaccines I’d have been in Hospital. Well, not the only positive because Mrs UTH tested negative so I was in the spare room (or the West Wing as I call it in the pub!) for quite some time LOL! I’m boosted now of course like many others…take care and get well soon.

  26. upthehoops 1st January 2022 At 23:15
    ‘.my GP reckoned without my two vaccines I’d have been in Hospital.’
    That is encouraging, uth, for those like me who, double vaxed and boosted, have not yet contracted the illness: I might cope with being unwell at home, but being hospitalised doesn’t really bear thinking about.
    Thankfully, with every passing day the scientific medics are finding ways to help
    All the best in your recovery.

  27. John Clark 1st January 2022 At 23:36


    I’m 59 years old, and have always had good health. To some I’m an old git, to others I’m still a youngster. However the virus gave me a real wake up call, and I had thought I was doing all the right things. I’ve got a mate who currently has it and says he has had worse colds. I guess it’s just the way the cookie crumbles for us all individually. Thankfully I think many people know how to keep themselves as safe as possible. One thing I was particularly glad of is I am retired. At least I didn’t have work to worry about, because I know if I was still working I would have worried about it and somehow tried to cope while feeling unwell. Sadly a lot of people will still have to do that.

  28. vernallen 1st January 2022 At 17:04
    My impression is that one club will possibly get direct entry to the group stages and one club would have to go a series of qualifiers , meaning we could have two clubs in the groups sharing the golden pot ?

  29. Happy New Year to all at SFM

    BP. Hope you make a full and speedy recovery.

  30. I see the Scottish media are reporting that Everton are close to signing a Rangers* bench warmer who has played just 2 games this season for a deal worth up to 16m . I have ran that through the Morelos calculator and come up with a figure closer to 3 than 16. The important details are “close to” and “deal worth up to”. As they are always prone to exaggeration and that the deal is yet to be completed and of course payment is usually in 3 tranches I think it would need to be verified by Everton themselves before taken as fact. It wouldn’t be the first time they have included the players wages over the length of his contract into the deal worth up to as they haven’t stated who it is worth to. Regardless I would be surprised if this deal can sort out their debt on its own …. if it goes through.
    Get well soon BP and any others who are in sick bay at the moment

  31. Timtim 2nd January 2022 At 21:35
    Heart and Hand podcast is suggesting a £12 million fee , with potentially £4 million add ons plus a sell on percentage . Need to see what Everton say to FA .

  32. Timtim 2nd Jan 21.35

    The transfer fee for NP is £12 million (£9 million upfront) that could rise to £16 million with add-ons, plus a sell on fee.
    Doesn’t weaken the starting eleven and is a good deal for both club & player.
    As a matter of interest when did Rangers include the players wages in any deal?

  33. The Patterson transfer thing raises a general question in my mind about transfers (probably just mine!)

    In transfers generally, does it suit both clubs to pretend the fee is higher than actually agreed and brief the Press accordingly? I’m thinking of FFP here.

    Obviously, if the selling club can tell the Press that the fee was several million higher than actually paid, it helps them in that their fans are more likely to accept the player leaving than if they got peanuts for him, but I’m thinking specifically on FFP just now. Those extra millions wouldn’t actually exist so couldn’t be added to ‘football-related income’ so couldn’t help their FFP situation.

    Does it help the buying club? They are reported as spending more so they might benefit from being seen as a ‘big’ club; their fans might also be more willing to accept the player than one for whom they paid less (the Kevin Nisbet isn’t good enough for “Rangers” view) but the actual lower fee remains so the Press reporting doesn’t affect them re FFP.

    Could it suit a buying club under FFP to agree to an actual higher fee? Apart from the Boumsong theory, I can’t think of a situation where it does (for those not in the know, there is a theory that after leaving Rangers for Newcastle, Graeme Souness effectively gave Rangers money for Jean Alain Boumsong simply because they needed it – Boumsong subsequently hardly played for Newcastle).

    Spending football-related income is, of course, allowed under FFP and if a buying club has enough such income, they might not care and therefore be willing to agree that the actual fee can be inflated, but this seems highly unlikely. I don’t think there’s any benefit under FFP to the buying club in paying more for a player than they need to. Please correct me if you can see any.

    Obviously, in financial accounts, tax records and official reports to the local football authorities etc, the actual fee would have to be recorded correctly but in Scotland, no-one from the SMSM would investigate to that extent!

    I can’t see any reason why Everton might go along with inflated reporting so is everyone being too paranoid in thinking that no club would be willing to pay £10-16m for a boy who has played so few games in a league perceived as poor quality? Until it happens and is reported as such, I don’t think they will either, but if it does go ahead and is reported at those levels both North and South of the border, I might need to believe it unless anyone can give me a reason for Everton going along with it.

  34. @Nawlite
    I think you’ve covered most of the angles there although Everton making no comment isn’t really going along with it . There was one player they* sold where the buying club said the money paid was nowhere near the figure quoted but which one evades me for now. SkySports Scotland are not a reliable source and Hand and Heart or 4 lads had a dream are hardly neutral on the matter. Until the audited accounts come out it will be guesswork , which is the problem with having a history of telling lies and exaggeration you lose credibility. 150yrs – 55 titles – 30m bid for Morelos – his translategate and the attempted murder with someone cutting his brake pipes and many many more episodes of fantasy. 12m+4m in add ons + a sell on fee for a boy that has played 2 games this season and most of it paid up front ? I might have to take a trip to Liverpool just to check if London Bridge now spans the Mersey.

  35. Timtim 3rd January 2022 At 14:39
    ‘….Obviously, in financial accounts, tax records and official reports to the local football authorities etc’, the actual fee would have to be recorded correctly but in Scotland, no-one from the SMSM would investigate to that extent!
    But, of course, Timtim, we have to keep in mind that there is one infamous case of a club doing the tax-man and the UK public out of tens of millions by NOT recording honestly and correctl; and in consequence going into Liquidation and BEING STRIPPED OF THEIR LEAGUE SHARE AND THEIR SFA MEMBERSHIP when the tax-man chased them for payment?

  36. JC and Timtim, like you I know the past instances that have led to the ‘paranoia’ about believing anything that comes out of TRFC and/or the SMSM. I was genuinely trying to think if there could be ANY reason why Everton might be prepared to back up TRFC/SMSM reporting the fee as it has. I realise their silence isn’t quite that.

    If it goes through and the fee is reported as anything like the numbers so far, is there a way to disprove or corroborate the fee. I.e. would Everton respond to a query? Would the FA/SFA respond? Would we have to wait for audited accounts? I think even in the AAs, it might be consolidated so as not to be visible.

  37. nawlite 3rd Jan 13.47

    Agree with the majority of your comments although i feel you’re a bit unfair on JAB. A total of 47 appearances in just 1.5 seasons doesn’t equate to hardly playing.

    I would add that Newcastle United first expressed an interest in him during a pre-season tournament, fully one month before Graeme Souness was appointed manager.

  38. Speculation regarding the Paterson transfer.
    I imagine the top line can be put out as any figure they want, as the structure of add-ons can be anything from achievable, to pie in the sky.
    It seems Everton may be prepared to take a punt on the boy, but I would suggest for a cast-iron fee reflective of his inexperience, with the add-ons structured around his potential.
    In other words, any total disclosed fee will only be achieved through the add-on performance related parameters being met.
    It would be wise of Everton to heavily weigh the final transfer fee on the side of caution.
    Both clubs could easily state the fee to be £100m for eg, ……..(On condition Everton win the CL).

  39. Albertz, I know your Pavlovian response is to sugarcoat criticism of anything Rangers-related, but you’re twisting some facts there! Boumsong was picked up on a free by Rangers because they couldn’t afford anything else at that time then sold after 28 games for a reported £8m – a bit strange to say the least. He did last a season and a half at Newcastle, but for most of that time was worse than poor. Google ‘Boumsong Newcastle’ to see the slatings.

    I’m actually surprised you’ve chosen to draw attention to Boumsong as it was the police investigation into that transfer that led to the exposure of the side contracts and the whole EBTs issue that led to the Big Tax problem that in turn led to your club’s Liquidation – shall we chat about that?

  40. I continue to be baffled by former Ranger players and their grasp of the financial situation. Craig Moore’s comments regarding the “potential transfer fee” for Patterson are almost amusing or the result of not paying attention to the math teacher. I fail to see how a rumored fee of $10 million will enable the Ibrox club to balance the books on the back of accumulated losses rumored/said to be in the range of of $100 million.

  41. nawlite 3rd January 2022 At 17:23
    ‘….to draw attention to Boumsong as it was the police investigation into that transfer that led to the exposure of the side contracts and the whole EBTs issue that led to the Big Tax problem that in turn led to your club’s Liquidation’
    You got in before me, nawlite:
    From the DR:
    By Keith Jackson
    02:11, 18 JUN 2012UPDATED23:35, 3 JUL 2012

    ‘HE had never heard of an EBT until the day he signed for RFC. But now those six little letters will live with Jean-Alain Boumsong for the rest of his days.’

  42. @Vernallen – in many regards the historic losses have been covered by the numerous share issues over the years and with no FFP in Scotland this is not an issue (I don’t know how that reconciles with UEFA fair play rules as I recall they charged Man City a couple of seasons ago…). The issue is covering the current trading losses as the model is to fund via player trading. What the pundits and media fail to understand/point out is that funding via player trading only works when you bring in more than you spend – there will be headlines soon about the “war chest” available to GVB following the sale of Paterson (which looks increasingly likely), but of course the receipt for Paterson is needed to pay existing bills.
    I would hazard a guess that what the sale of Paterson won’t do is reduce the wage bill by much compared to if a more established player were to be sold.
    I am curious as to what the net ins and outs across clubs will be in this window given COVID uncertainties balanced against potential CL monies. A real test of Boards applying their (legally binding) fiduciary duties…

  43. wokingcelt 3rd January 2022 At 21:58
    ‘..I would hazard a guess that what the sale of Paterson won’t do is reduce the wage bill by much compared to if a more established player were to be sold.’
    I’m inclined to agree.
    The lad will have been on more money per week than I would ever had thought of being able to pull in in a year, but not yet in the mega-thousands!

    The big- salaried players are what TRFC/RIFC plc need to get shot of: before their temperamental tantrums make it obvious to prospective buyers that it might be money ill-spent to buy them as being utterly unreliable and difficult to manage.

  44. From The National:
    “His transfer eclipses the £9million that Rangers received when Alan Hutton made the move to Tottenham Hotspur in 2008”

    Perhaps we should ask the reporter to show us where this transaction is shown in the accounts of The Rangers International Football Club, the year that Hutton was transferred. “hoist with one’s own petard” comes to mind, por cierto

  45. While I will always treat any news emanating from Ibrox with a healthy dose of scepticism, I can’t help but think people are getting massively over-excited at the prospect of Nathan Patterson being sold for a decent price, whether that be £12m, or £16m with add-ons.

    Weren’t player sales precisely what everyone on here demanded should happen in order to balance the books? Fair enough, as said above, operating a policy in which player sales are a fundamental requirement will only work if the money coming in exceeds the money going out.

    However, you could be forgiven for thinking that the volume of posts on the subject of Patterson’s impending sale in the past few days was illustrative of the fear among the Celtic contingent on SFM that the Ibrox board may have finally got something right, and that Rangers* will be uncatchable in the league.

  46. Here is a question: can someone be legally bound by a NDA when the subject matter of the NDA may involve criminal matters such as ,perhaps, an intent to assist/conceal/ a fraud or other crime coming to light?
    Not, it seems, an academic question, as witness the plan by Prince Andrews lawyers to get Ms Giuffre’s action against him dismissed.
    Opens up interesting possibilities in other areas of life, n’est-ce pas?

  47. ‘Highlander 4th January 2022 At 09:21

    While I will always treat any news emanating from Ibrox with a healthy dose of scepticism, I can’t help but think people are getting massively over-excited at the prospect of Nathan Patterson being sold for a decent price, whether that be £12m, or £16m with add-ons…’
    I’m sure much of the noise about Patterson’s (still-pending, as I write) transfer to Everton is being generated by the sum involved for an inexperienced player (26 club appearances, mostly as a sub, since his debut in Jan 2020) who can’t displace the lesser-known (in England, at least) Tavernier brother from the TRFC starting XI.

  48. Jingso.Jimsie 4th January 2022 At 11:26
    “I’m sure much of the noise about Patterson’s (still-pending, as I write) transfer to Everton is being generated by the sum involved for an inexperienced player (26 club appearances, mostly as a sub, since his debut in Jan 2020) who can’t displace the lesser-known (in England, at least) Tavernier brother from the TRFC starting XI.”

    You may well be right JJ, but what bearing does any discrepancy between Patterson’s true value versus the fee eventually paid by Everton have on the aims of this blog?

  49. Highlander 4th January 2022 At 11:38
    ‘…what bearing does any discrepancy between Patterson’s true value versus the fee eventually paid by Everton have on the aims of this blog?’
    If you had addressed that question to me, Highlander, I would give a cogent, trenchant reply.
    But I’ll leave it to Jingo.Jimsie!

  50. Highlander 4th January 2022 At 09:21
    Can you tell me how

    the Ibrox board may have finally got something right
    Rangers* will be uncatchable in the league
    in your eyes ?

  51. paddy malarkey 4th January 2022 At 12:48
    “Can you tell me how

    the Ibrox board may have finally got something right
    Rangers* will be uncatchable in the league
    in your eyes?”

    Paddy, I didn’t say one thing equals the other. However, it doesn’t take a lot of imagination to speculate that if Rangers* do finally get the balance right between European/domestic prize money and player purchases/sales, they’ll conceivably sail over the horizon into the distance with a massive 2-in-a-row flag fluttering aloft.

    I can assure you it’s not my idea of a dream future, but it’s certainly not out of the question.

  52. ‘Highlander 4th January 2022 At 11:38

    You may well be right JJ, but what bearing does any discrepancy between Patterson’s true value versus the fee eventually paid by Everton have on the aims of this blog?’
    I don’t know Patterson’s true value. I’m OK with that because I’m confident that EFC is taking a punt here. I don’t know who at EFC identifies players for acquisition, but someone there has decided he’s the player for them. Patterson is a 20 year old who’s played a grand total of 1553 first-team minutes (or the equivalent of seventeen & a quarter matches) for TRFC over 3 (three!) different seasons.

    His price, which is different from his value, has been hyped up by TRFC whispers to the media. They’ve responded by happily publishing that he’s a £10m player. As recently as 6 weeks ago, they were pumping out that he was a £25m player. He’s gone for nowhere near that, despite their best efforts.

    The bottom line is, that whatever EFC pay, Patterson is a development player for the Toffees. He couldn’t displace the current right-back at Ibrox. He couldn’t impress Gerrard or GvB sufficiently to be more than a benchwarmer. Will he manage to displace the current right-back (and club captain) at EFC? Will he have to wait until Coleman, who’s 33, drops out of the team due to age, injury or loss of form to become a regular? Will Patterson push on (something that seems to have been beyond him at Ibrox) or will he become another Scot lost to the multi-loan shuffle so prevelant in the EPL?

    Incidentally, EFC has confirmed the signing & states the fee is ‘undisclosed’. There’s no mention of the fee in the main article on the TRFC website. Clarity there is none.

    (No doubt Albertz11 will be along shortly to assure us that his ‘sources’ confirm it was £12m, with £8m upfront & a further tranche of £4m before year end. Extra payments to TRFC when he reaches 100 Scotland caps, scores the winner in the Champions League final, wins the Grand National & finds a cure for cancer!)

    Where does the aims of this blog & Patterson’s transfer coincide? At the point where the piss-poor SMSM, instead of accurately reporting what’s going on at certain football clubs, decide it’s OK (in fact, it’s better than OK) to have an agenda where Club Z is beyond reproach yet the other Clubs A to X are always to be reproached. THE SMSM choose to act as cheerleaders & boiler-room hype artists for the Ibrox club. That’s corrupt: a gross distortion of their role in a democracy.

  53. Jingso.Jimsie 4th January 2022 At 16:14

    Then I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree. An extraordinarily high number of recent posts have been, to my eyes at least, nothing less than a giant whinge-fest from the Celtic-facing majority on here, based on the prospect that Rangers* might receive a substantial fee from Everton for Master Patterson, which might contribute to the balancing of books.

    I simply don’t recall any such kerfuffle when Kieran Tierney or Odsonne Edouard departed south from Scotland, that’s all.

    I shall now go and remove my blue-tinted goggles. Oh no, wait…

  54. Dear Everton please ensure as per agreement that fee is undisclosed
    Best wishes Douglas
    PS if you need a bus ………or a car or a goalkeeper , a defender, midfielder………..
    PPS – anyone have undisclosed in the whits the reported fee bingo ?

  55. Highlander 4th January 2022 @ 1736hrs –

    I can’t speak for other posters, not would I wish to.

    The SMSM has shown itself to be a passive, lickspittle lapdog to RIFC/TRFC. They’re actively pimping players for sale on a daily basis. I presume that’s at the behest of, or with the approval of, the Ibrox club as I’m sure DUPMan would be putting a ‘staaap’ to it in short order if it was unwelcome.

    Well done to the inexperienced Patterson & to TRFC for obtaining the fee that they did. Imagine what it could have been had his managers actually had the confidence in him to let him play?

    As to your comparisons with Tierney & Edouard at CFC:

    Tierney – 100 matches in 4 (injury-affected) seasons. His first two matches were at the tail-end of the 2014-15, so 102 matches in total. In his first full season he displaced Izaguirre, the first-choice left full-back.

    Edouard – 116 matches in 4 seasons.

    Not really comparable…

  56. @Highlander – I get your point (to a point!), for me the Patterson transfer is interesting because it is the first significant player trade under the model that TRFC have adopted. The fee is pretty much the same as the one Celtic received for Frimpong – another young, relatively inexperienced player – so maybe the going rate.
    As regards Tierney – speaking as a Celtic fan there was a sadness in the inevitable outcome of a player-fan so talented outgrowing Scotland. The vast majority of Celtic fans wished him well and were thankful for his contribution. And personally I am relieved that he appears to have overcome injuries that I feared would have stayed with him from overplaying as a fan of CFC when as a professional he should have said no.
    And Edouard – probably a classic example of the player trading model, with its pluses and minuses. Yes, some super goals and great memories but then frustrations when he appeared to down tools. Underlying value supported by goals for France U21s – he appears to be doing ok in the EPL, but not yet well enough to move to a team in England that will give him European football.

  57. wokingcelt 4th January 2022 At 20:11
    ‘..the Patterson transfer is interesting because it is the first significant player trade under the model that TRFC have adopted.’
    Well, wokingcelt , at least it is an acceptably honest and legitimate ‘business model’;
    in sharp contrast to the model adopted by SDM, who tried to build[ in the event, hollow success] by tax evasion!

    And the fact that RIFC/TRFC have apparently signed another ‘loan player’ (James Sands of NYC) for 18 months, with option to buy, at the same time as they expect to receive £12 M for Patterson suggests that there are other, prior and more pressing imperatives relating to what that £12M is needed for!
    Just like their PR advisors, I suspect that their advisors on constructing a business model which tries to balance ‘player purchases’ and ‘player development-and sale-on’ are themselves needing some advice!

    Or perhaps the stark financial realities at Ibrox are such that no sensible balance can be reached between the absolute need to win matches while keeping the lights on!

    And a major shareholder’s offer to join the board of RIFC plc has not yet ( to my knowledge) been either accepted or declined.
    A sign that there is significant Board disagreement.

  58. DURING a high-profile court case Shota Arveladze’s lawyer revealed Rangers actually paid £8.5million for the Georgian striker when they signed him in 2001 – which staggeringly is more than four times the publicised fee.

    Now I’m not suggesting that NP really went for 64m but just to point out that clubs will lie about fees paid for their benefit. In this case it was to cover for the mass overspending going on at the time and to cover up the dirty money tricks of Murray. At the other end of the scale we had claims that Goram was earning less than a shelf stacker in Asda. Claiming a massive fee for NP may ease nerves amongst creditors or even encourage investment while appeasing fans . Rangers* have claimed it’s a record fee but considering the highest previous fee received was around 3m they may well be telling the truth for once.

  59. Timtim 5th January 2022 At 11:18
    ‘… just to point out that clubs will lie about fees paid for their benefit. ‘
    And I daresay there are some plcs which may have been launched on the basis of a misleading Prospectus.
    The deeper problem for society arises when those charged with the duty of governance and regulation whether of a Sport or of business/finance in general fail in that duty.

  60. My TRFC-supporting mates are positively giddy that their club has sold a player , and for a club record fee . Nine -year olds , eh ?

  61. Corrupt official 5th January 2022 @ 1609hrs –

    They don’t. That’s his ‘value/price-tag’ in the the EPL’s Fantasy Football League. (It caught me out for a moment. That’s until I Googled it…)

    Incidentally, I saw a punter-comment earlier that Everton had confirmed the fee as £11.5m upfront plus £4.5m future add-ons. I can’t see that anywhere on EFC’s official site or Twitter feed. Anyone able to confirm/deny?

  62. The prices for the two players are in relation to the online game Fantasy Premier League. See the #FPL in the bottom corner of the images.

  63. wokingcelt 5th January 2022 At 16:03
    ‘…Following on from the story about Coventry Women’s Football Club, there’s a happy update:.’
    From your link, wokingcelt,
    “..”The existing shareholders didn’t liquidate – that was the deadline we all needed to reach agreement on..
    Everyone in the virtual room wanted to save the club so, by about one minute to five – and five o’clock was the point where the club would’ve been put into liquidation – we all had the thumbs up.”
    By contrast, not one group of all the big-talking lovers of ‘Rangers’ wanted to save RFC of 1872 from Liquidation badly enough to put their money where their mouths were and raise all the finance required to clear all its debts.

    No, it was left to the weak, panicked, dishonest SFA/SPL/SFL to conjure up the lying assertion that somehow RFC of 1872 was not in Liquidation, and that a nine-year old creation calling itself TRFC was actually 140 years old.
    Honest to God, how any of those rotten crews can sleep at night is something of a mystery, knowing that they are widely and justly regarded as betrayers of their offices of Trust.

  64. Kidding and swanking aside , I think that the Patterson deal is a good one for both clubs and the player , regardless of the accuracy of the figures quoted .

  65. Corrupt official 5th January 2022 At 16:09

    Everton say £4.5m

    Putting that together with what Agent Scotland (not necessarily accurate) says and all the reports suggesting between £10m and £11m total excluding add-ons, that sounds like Everton reporting only the first tranche?

    Would that be normal for a club to report only the first tranche in a way that looks like the total fee?

  66. Just noticed that only today was Companies House notified by RIFC plc that DK had ceased to be a person with significant control last June!
    Is the RIFC plc Company secretary hopelessly inefficient, or is there a reason why CH would not be notified more or less at the time King had ceased to hold 25% plus of the RIFC plc shares?

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