Scottish Football: An Honest Game, Honestly Governed?

A Guest Blog by Auldheid for TSFM

Honesty requires both transparency and accountability. In pursuit of honest, transparent and accountable governance of Scottish football, and only that objective, the following letter, with attachments, has been sent to SPFL lawyers, CEO and SPFL Board Members.

An honest game free from deception is what football supporters of all clubs want. It is the action the letter and attachments prompt that will tell us if there is any intention of providing it.

It is a response on behalf of readers here on TSFM, but the sentiment which underpins it is almost universally held amongst fans of all clubs.  Importantly it is a response directly to all clubs, especially those with a SPFL Board member, that will make the clubs and the football authorities aware just how seriously supporters take the restoration of trust in an honest game, honestly governed.

The annexes to the letter contain information which may be published at a later date. We thought it appropriate to first await any response from any of the recipients.

Please also draw this to the attention of friends who are not internet using supporters and love their football and their club.



Harper MacLeod
The Ca’d’oro
45 Gordon Street
G1 3PE
19 Feb 2014
Copy sent to SPFL CEO and Board Members *
Dear Mr McKenzie
We the contributors to The Scottish Football Monitoring web site write to you in your capacity as the legal adviser employed by Harper MacLeod to assist the Scottish Premier League (now the Scottish Professional Football League) to gather evidence and investigate the matter of incorrect player registrations involving concealed side letters and employee benefit trusts as defined in the eventual Lord Nimmo Smith Commission.
We note from the then SPL announcement that set up an enquiry that the initial date range to be covered was from the inception of the SPL in July 1998, but that was changed to 23 November 2000 because, according to our understanding, that is the date of the first side letter supplied by Rangers Administrators Duff and Phelps. It is also our understanding that the SPL asked for all documentation relating to side letters as well as the letters themselves.
It is a matter of public record that Rangers Administrators failed to supply the SPL all relevant documentation. Indeed the seriousness of not complying with SPL requests was the subject of an admonition of Rangers/Duff and Phelps from Lord Nimmo Smith under Issue 4 of his Commission.
Quite how serious that failure to comply or concealment was in terms of misleading the Commission and so Lord Nimmo Smith can now be assessed from the information contained at Annexes 1 to 10 attached.
We think that as legal advisers to the SPL (now the SPFL) you have a responsibility to make them aware that their Commission was misled by the concealment of documents starting on 3 September 1999, and signed by current SFA President Campbell Ogilvie, whose silence on the ebt matters referred to in the attached annexes* is questionable at the very least.
This letter but not attachments is being posted on The Scottish Football Monitor web site as this is matter for all of Scottish football and support for the issue being pursued to establish the truth can be gauged by responses from supporters from all Scottish clubs once the letter has been published there.
A copy of this letter with Annexes has also been sent to the SPFL CEO and members of the SPFL Board.
Acknowledgement of receipt and reply can be sent by e mail to:
(Address supplied)
Yours in sport

On behalf of The Scottish Football Monitor contributors and readers.

Addressees copied in
Neil Doncaster CEO
The Scottish Professional Football League
Hampden Park
Glasgow G42 9DE

Eric Riley (Celtic),
The Celtic Football Club
Celtic Park
Glasgow G40 3RE

Stephen Thompson (Dundee United),
Tannadice Park,
Tannadice Street,
Dundee, DD3 7JW

Duncan Fraser (Aberdeen);
Aberdeen Football Club plc
Pittodrie Stadium
Pittodrie Street
Aberdeen AB24 5QH

Les Gray (Hamilton),
Hamilton Academical FC
New Douglas Park

Mike Mulraney (Alloa)
Alloa Athletic FC
Clackmannan Road
Recreation Park
Alloa FK10 1RY

Bill Darroch (Stenhousemuir).
Stenhousemuir F.C.
Ochilview Park
Gladstone Road

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About Trisidium

Trisidium is a Dunblane businessman with a keen interest in Scottish Football. He is a Celtic fan, although the demands of modern-day parenting have seen him less at games and more as a taxi service for his kids.

3,234 thoughts on “Scottish Football: An Honest Game, Honestly Governed?

  1. So Keith Jackson has a sense of humour – of sorts.

    From Twitter this morning:

    The Daily Record ‏@Daily_Record
    Good morning from Record HQ – see if you can spot the story in today’s paper that doesn’t quite have the ring of truth to it…

    keith jackson ‏@tedermeatballs
    @Daily_Record don’t tell me ‘craig whyte’s a billionaire?’ (Thought i’d get that in first)

    Daily Record Sport ‏@Record_Sport
    @tedermeatballs You are about 7th – Must Try Harder.

    keith jackson ‏@tedermeatballs
    @Record_Sport damn it!

  2. Barcabhoy says:
    March 31, 2014 at 11:07 pm

    Not forgetting his past life as an Ibrox ST holder…

  3. nowoldandgrumpy says:
    April 1, 2014 at 1:03 pm

    Not sure if anyone has seen this or commented upon it.

    Blue Pitch Holdings and Margarita Trust are connected to the Abela family from Lebanon via the Barbel C Abela Trust (Abela Jnr’s mum) and family lawyer Mazen Houssami. The main reason they want to keep their involvement secret is a certain conviction for fraudulent bankruptcy involving a catering firm in Italy. The fact that Rangers officials are scared to even mention the name Abela speaks volumes. The millions of pounds that have evaporated from the club are the “legacy issues” that the current Chief Executive speaks of. Is it not time that the board at Ibrox began to tell the full truth about what has gone on here?

    Yea but the day before a Bear investor posted on LSE:

    Blue Pitch holdings is headed by a named individual Arif Naqvi of a company called Abraah Capital. Think of them as a middle-eastern based Laxey type of company. They have more of a sleeping partner type interest in TRFC. The difference between them and Laxey is that Laxey have been involved in some key decisions while Blue Pitch have given their proxy votes to the Easdales and let him represent them on the board. Think Laxey, but without the drama hassle.

    No outsider actually knows who is behind Blue Pitch, Margarita and other shareholders – most of whom were the original investors who invested in Sevco 5088 – as they are hidden behind nominees. I wouldn’t even bet that anyone on the current Board knows their identity.

    So they have been there from the beginning and are still there – but what is their plan?

    I did several pieces on Naqvi on scotslawthoughts as did Paul himself and I think it’s fair to say that both of us strongly suspected that Naqvi had been an original investor but got out and there are two possible reasons both of which might have come into play.

    Firstly that Green had initially promised the original investors they would be paid-off in cash but this was changed to be handed shares and this deal was sweetened by them getting shares at 1p. However the argument goes that Naqvi told Green to stuff it and cough-up the cash as agreed and that because of his financial and political muscle Green had to comply and Naqvi departed.

    There is also the fact that Naqvi – who is very careful of his reputation – had become worried about the adverse publicity which was being generated involving Rangers and decided to distance himself and cashed-in his chips. I emailed him several times, emailed his bank’s PR department and emailed his personal lawyer in Switzerland to try and clarify the issue but total silence was the loud reply.

    One piece I did might prove interesting and it deals with Orlit supposedly introducing Naqvi to Green as a potential Rangers investor as well as Green’s smoke and mirror approach to whether Naqvi was an investor or not. Green’s statement was carried on the Rangers official website from memory although I can’t remember if it was ever published on AIM.

  4. EJ

    I haven’t watched the clip so I’m maybe missing something, but to answer your question, because Leigh Griffiths isn’t just a fan?

  5. easyJambo says:
    April 1, 2014 at 5:05 pm

    Bizarre decision for Lunny to issue a notice of complaint against Leigh Griffiths for singing about Hearts being in Administration…
    “Disciplinary News
    Leigh Griffiths receives notice of complaint
    Tuesday, 01 April 2014

    The Compliance Officer has issued the following Notice of Complaint:

    Alleged Party in Breach: Leigh Griffiths (Celtic FC)
    Date: 30th March 2014
    Disciplinary Rule(s) allegedly breached:

    Disciplinary Rule 86: Not acting in the best interests of Association Football by singing in public about Heart of Midlothian FC in administration…”
    Don’t know the background to this particular story, but on the face of it…

    Now, you would think/hope that eventually a player or club would engage a smart / mischievous lawyer to have a real go at the SFA.

    From the above, we have a surreal situation where the SFA believes it can complain about someone “…Not acting in the best interests of Association Football…” and its authority is surely worth a challenge ?!

  6. Good Afternoon
    I have not seen the clip nor do I have the intention of watching it.

    As a Celtic supporter I am disappointed that Leigh Griffiths got involved in this, but as an individual with rights, it is his private time and he should be allowed to do and say what he wants, within the limits of the Law.

    It is a step too far for the SFA, particularly in view of the miasma of corruption surrounding them to take issue with Leigh Griffiths at this time.

    Where was the disciplinary notice for McCoist when he called out the members of the tribunal which was reprehensible and even more irresponsible?

    Where are the notices to “The Rangers” for the vile sectarian singing of their fans throughout the country and which has been broadcast time after time on Television?

    I do not say this in a whataboutery or tit for tat scenario but I merely highlight it as an example of the duplicity and disingenuity of the SFA.

    I would love nothing better than going head to head with the SFA over this.

    While it may have been better if Mr. Griffiths did not behave publicly in this manner, it may well have been banter.
    Even if he was serious he has human rights which guarantee him the right of free speech and that should not be breached even if we do not agree with what he says.

    As a famous French philosopher once said, I disagree with what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

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