It Takes Two to Tangle


RyanGosling says: July 10, 2014 at 11:30 pm 1 1 Rate …

Comment on It Takes Two to Tangle by HirsutePursuit.

RyanGosling says:
July 10, 2014 at 11:30 pm
1 1 Rate This

There is rightly huge rage on here at Murray’s tax shenanigans. Where is the anger at the fact that Craig Whyte just decided not to pay tax?! Thing is, when someone owns or runs a club as is widely recognised here the actions of that persons are legally the actions of the club. The indisputable fact is we were screwed by Craig Whyte, as well as David Murray, and that has to be recognised as well.

Start with the idea that the question of Rangers’ administration/liquidation was simply a matter of timing. Follow on with the notion that he was hand-picked to take the brand through this “transition”.

Had Mr Whyte paid debts as they became due, the club would have just run out of money and been unable to see out the season he had in charge. Not paying tax & NI allowed the transfer of full SFA membership to the new club. They also envisaged the SPL membership to go the same way; but failing that, the entry into the SFL could not have happened mid-season.

For those who have taken solace in the same club spin, how would failure to fulfil their fixtures have affected that idea?

Keeping the lights on till the season’s end allowed the current incarnation to be born and the believers to keep the faith.

To be honest, if you support the current version of Rangers, I don’t understand why Mr Whyte is not lauded as the man who made it all possible.

HirsutePursuit Also Commented

It Takes Two to Tangle
Auldheid says:
June 26, 2014 at 12:31 pm
7 0 Rate This

Hirsute Pursuit
Ally Jambo

It was rule D1. 11 that LNS used as an “in” to undermine D1. 13 aided and abetted by Bryson ‘ s law.

Have a look at The Decision. Do a find on D1.11 and see how it is used. It was not part of the original SPL statement probably because D1.13 was so clear.

I’d do so myself but am on mobile and I could not do it cut and paste justice.

Apart from this aspect LNS also got it wrong by conflating two types of ebts and was able to do so because evidence of the difference was not supplied.

How much more is needed to remove this blatant contempt for supporters from the scene?

I believe that the Bryson “interpretation” is no such thing. Sandy Bryson simply outlined what typically happens when a player’s registration documents are found to be defective.

In practice, the club wants the player to be registered, the player wants to be registered. The SFA recognise that the forms are defective; but take no action to de-register the player – as long as the forms are corrected within a specified period.

The consequences of a player playing under defective registration is a matter for the rules and regulations of the competition in which he plays. This is why I believe the SPL Rule D1.13 refers to both registration AND eligibility.

The SPL rule was written specifically with the “custom and practice” of the SFA registration procedures in mind. The SPL knew, when their rule D1.13 was written, that a player’s registration would not be revoked retrospectively – so specifically added the point regarding eligibility.

Sandy Bryson gave, I believe, an honest account of how the the SFA registration process operates. He gave, as far as I know, no view on the SPL eligibility criteria.

Mr McKenzie (under direction from Neil Doncaster) is much more culpable in his acceptance that eligibility is a consequence of registration. This is not what D1.13 says or even infers.

Mr McKenzie explained to us that SPL Rule D1.13 had hitherto been understood to mean that if, at the time of registration, a document was not lodged as required, the consequence was that a condition of registration was broken and the player automatically became ineligible to play in terms of SPL Rule D1.11.

This is the point that is wrong.

“…a condition of registration was broken and the player automatically became ineligible to play in terms of SPL Rule D1.11.”

He should simply have said; “…a condition of registration and also of eligibility in terms of SPL Rule D1.11 was broken.”

A trialist can play in official matches. He is eligible; but not registered.
Someone serving a disciplinary ban should not play. Remains registered; but not eligible.
Someone registered incorrectly should not play. Remains registered; but not eligible.

Being registered does not automatically confer eligibility.

Did Mr McKenzie ever make this point?

It Takes Two to Tangle
We need to be careful not to get hung up on the commission’s inspection of the SFA’s registration procedures.The SPL’s Articles and rules were always subject to the SFA’s regulations and it was perfectly valid, IMO, to examine how these all fitted together.

I also think it is too easy to portray Sandy Bryson as the villian of the piece. He may have given an opinion on the registration processes; did we hear any opinion on eligibility?

The problem is not whether LNS should have been looking at the SFA procedures; but the nonsensical interpretation that was made.

Just to be clear, the following is taken from the LNS Commission decision:

[58] SFA Article 12.3, in effect from and including 22 May 2002 provides:
“Furthermore, all payments, whether made by the club or otherwise, which are to be made to a player solely relating to his playing activities must be fully recorded within the relevant written agreement with the player prior to submission to the Scottish FA and/or the recognised football body of which his Club is in membership.”

[59] SFA Procedures Rule 2.2.1, in effect from and including the season 2002/03, provides:
“Unless lodged in accordance with Procedures Rule 2.13 a Non-Recreational Contract Player Registration Form will not be valid unless it is accompanied by the contract entered into between the club concerned and the player stating all the terms and conditions in conformity with the Procedures Rule 4.”

[60] SFA Procedures Rule 4, in effect from and including the season 2002/03, provides:
“All payments to be made to a player relating to his playing activities must be clearly recorded upon the relevant contract and/or agreement. No payments for his playing activities may be made to a player via a third party.”

[86] Evidence was given by Alexander Bryson, Head of Registrations at the SFA, who described the registration process. During the course of his evidence he explained that, once a player had been registered with the SFA, he remained registered unless and until his registration was revoked. Accordingly, even if there had been a breach of the SFA registration procedures,such as a breach of SFA Article 12.3, the registration of a player was not treated as being invalid from the outset, and stood unless and until it was revoked.

The key phrase (from SFA Procedures Rule 2.2.1) is “…a Non-Recreational Contract Player Registration Form will not be valid unless it is accompanied by the contract…”

Despite the clearly written SFA procedure, Alexander Bryson is reported by the Commission to have stated that: “..even if there had been a breach of the SFA registration procedures,such as a breach of SFA Article 12.3, the registration of a player was not treated as being invalid from the outset, and stood unless and until it was revoked.”

Based on the Bryson testimony, Mr McKenzie accepted then that the SPL had no power to retrospectively revoke a player’s registration if the SFA rules would not allow the registration form to be considered invalid from the outset. Perhaps Mr McKenzie felt obliged to accept this SFA “ruling” on the registration process. What he (and LNS) were not obliged to do was conflate registration with eligibility.

SPL Rule D1.13, in effect from and including 23 May 2005 provides:
“A Club must, as a condition of Registration and for a Player to be eligible to Play in Official Matches, deliver the executed originals of all Contracts of Service and amendments and/or extensions to Contracts of Service and all other agreements providing for payment, other than for reimbursement of expenses actually incurred, between that Club and Player, to the Secretary [of the SPL], within fourteen days of such Contract of Service or other agreement being entered into, amended and/or, as the case may be,extended.”

SPL Rule D1.13 deals with both registration AND eligibility.

Eligibility is not a direct consequence of being registered. Eligibility is gained through the fulfilment of the conditions of Rule D1.13.

Whilst the SFA registration processes may have an impact on the SPL’s ability to retrospectively revoke registration, a failure to fulfil the conditions of Rule D1.13 should still have rendered the player ineligible from the outset.

Recent Comments by HirsutePursuit

Who Is Conning Whom?
I am with you in most of what you say, but there are some important differences.

SFA Article 6.1 & 6.2 say:

Clubs or associations undertaking to promote Association Football according to the Laws of the Game and these Articles and other rules of the Scottish FA may be admitted as registered members, associate members or full members, subject to the provisions of Articles 6.2 to 6.7 (both inclusive).
6.2 A club or association shall be admitted as a registered member automatically by reason of its being admitted as a member of an Affiliated Association or an Affiliated National Association, or in the case of a club through membership of or participation in an association, league or other combination of clubs formed in terms of Article 18 and in the case of an association by being formed in terms of Article 18, provided it is not already an associate or full member. A registered member shall not be a member of more than one Affiliated Association or more than one Affiliated National Association. A registered member may apply at any time to become an associate member.

We are in complete agreement, I think, that SFA Article 6.2 made Sevco a registered member of the SFA from the date it was accepted by the SFL – 14th July 2012.

But, and I think this is important, the nearest the SFA get to insisting that a club has associate or full SFA membership is Article 6.2 which simply says, ‘A registered member may apply at any time to become an associate member.’
Note: no timescale applies… and no consequences (from an SFA perspective) if a club chooses to not make that application.

So I think we are on common ground that Article 6.2 was applicable as far as the registered membership was concerned – and Sevco did not take the opportunity to apply for associate membership by this method.

If we then go back to what the SFL Rules actually said:

6. REGISTRATION WITH SFA A CONDITION OF MEMBERSHIPA Member or Associate Member who is not already a full or associate member of the Scottish Football Association must make application to become a full or associate member of the Scottish Football Association (as the case may be) within fourteen (14) days of being admitted to membership of the League failing which its membership of the League will lapse, and in the event that the application is unsuccessful, its membership will lapse upon that decision being intimated to the League.

Now, if the SFL was being prescriptive about which SFA Article was to be used (to apply for full or associate membership), and that Article 6 was the only valid route, why mention full membership as an option. If ‘application’ is meant to mean only applications in terms of SFA Article 6, the only relevant option would be to apply as an associate SFA member.

No, the SFL rules are not prescriptive in the manner of that application. I think Rule 16 is clearly written to allow a transfer of associate or full membership from an existing club to a new club or entity under SFA Article 14. 

In fact the only method by which this could be achieved is SFA Article 14

14. Prohibition on Transfer of Membership14.1 It is not permissible for a member to transfer directly or indirectly its membership of the Scottish FA to another member or to any other entity, and any such transfer or attempt to effect such a transfer is prohibited, save as otherwise provided in this Article 14. Any member desirous of transferring its membership to another entity within its own administrative group for the purpose of internal solvent reconstruction must apply to the Board for permission to effect such transfer, such consent not to be unreasonably withheld or delayed. Any other application for transfer of membership will be reviewed by the Board, which will have complete discretion to reject or to grant such application on such terms and conditions as the Board may think fit.

…which allows the board to grant an application for transfer of an existing membership on such terms as it sees fit.

Importantly, the discretion only applies to which terms and conditions to a transfer of a membership that already exists.

Having complete  discretion on how or if that transfer (of full membership) took place is completely within the board’s power via Article 14.

What it doesn’t do is empower the board to create a new type of membership. 

And, even if it does claim to have done so, I still don’t understand how the SFA ‘conditional’ membership would satisfy the SFL requirement for an application for associate or full membership?

Remember, this transfer application was an SFL requirement. The SFA had no interest in whether or not Sevco applied for associate or full membership.

It seems to me that the SFA and SFL approached the Sevco scenario in a similar way as they did when Inverness Caledonian were admitted (as a new club) in 1994.

Difference is ICT, the SFL, SPL and SFA all recognise that that club was founded in 1994.

As I said earlier with regard to the birth of Sevco, the deceit is not so much in what they all did, but in what they said and continue to say.

Who Is Conning Whom?
The new club (Sevco) was issued with written permission to use the name of a club in full membership (Rangers).

This was necessary because both existed as SFA member clubs at the time.

Who Is Conning Whom?
This was the nub of the ‘conditional membership’

10.7 Each club in full membership or associate membership shall in its Official Return register its ground and playing field dimensions and no such club shall remove to another ground without first obtaining the consent of the Board. Any club in full membership or associate membership wishing to make any alteration to its name, its registered ground or its playing field dimensions must first obtain the prior written consent of the Board. No club in registered membership shall adopt in whole or in part the name of a club in full membership or associate membership without the prior written consent of the Board.

Who Is Conning Whom?
The 14 day application deadline was an SFL requirement – not something that the SFA had any locus in considering.

As long as Sevco was a member of the SFL it was a member of the SFA.

It would have been up to the SFL management committee to decide if the application for transfer (rather than application for a new associate membership) met its requirements. If it did not, it would have been within its powers to revoke Sevco’s league membership. It is an arguable point, but there is no suggestion, as far as I’m aware, that the SFL league management committee ever met to even discuss the matter.

Nevertheless, I think you are saying that Sevco was no longer a member of the SFL at the time of the SFA statement – therefore needed this ‘new’ SFA membership category to play Brechin.

But how would any type of membership of the SFA help if it was no longer a member of the SFL? If its membership of the league had already lapsed or been revoked, another SFL EGM would have been required to try and vote the club back in. I’m 100% sure that did not happen.

On 29th July, Sevco must still have been a member of the SFL as the Ramsden Cup was only open to members of that league.

There was simply no mechanism for the club to rejoin the league in the available time. If it did not rejoin (and I’m as certain as I can be that it did not) then it cannot ever have been removed as a member of the SFL.

And as I keep saying, as a member of the SFL, it was also a member of the SFA.

The SFA’s deceit was not in its actions – but was in its words.

Don’t forget that the SFA had to consider the use of the Rangers name. The ‘conditional’ membership squirrel has been particularly useful in covering up the SFA board’s approval for Sevco to play Brechin under the Rangers name.

That, in reality, was the big announcement on that day. The rest was sleight of hand.

Smoke and mirrors.

Who Is Conning Whom?
The golf club analogy has been used before.

Dear old dad is a member of St Andrews (other golf clubs are available). To make best use of the facilities new members must apply to a ‘house’ that will give access to their respective lounges and bars. After 15 years of continuous membership Mon pere was awarded the status of ‘Gold Member’.

Gold Members have their own lounge and gain a range of additional benefits. 

Recently poor old dad has become poorly and suggests that l join the golf club and take over his ‘Gold Membership’.

I join the club and, with a letter of agreement from sickly pater, apply for the transfer of his ‘Gold Membership’ status.

The committee meet and decide that I can only take on the enhanced membership status if old pop dies.

I tell them that father is on his last legs and won’t last the weekend.

As an existing member I can enter the club’s Saturday medal competition. On a conditional basis, they tell me I will be eligible to use the ‘Gold Members’ facilities. They issue me with a letter to confirm this arrangement.

They will reconvene in several weeks to confirm the transfer of membership status – assuming that by then papa will be gone. If he makes a miraculous recovery I must then apply to join one of the standard houses.

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