The Case for a New SFA.

After making inquiries into progress on Resolution 12 to the Celtic AGM of 2013 there is little doubt in my mind that the SFA made a serious error in the process of UEFA licensing.

Here are some facts:


  1. UEFA does not issue licences to clubs who have due tax bills outstanding,
  2. UEFA require the SFA to satisfy themselves of a club’s eligibility for a licence and that clubs have provided proof no overdue tax payable exists,
  3. UEFA also require a club to tell the SFA and UEFA if, after the issue of a licence there are material changes in their circumstances which would affect their eligibility – including the situation at #1 above,
  4. UEFA awarded Rangers a licence to play in European competition in March 2011,
  5. In May 2011 Rangers received a tax bill, which they did not contest or appeal or agree a payment plan. The bill (which remains unpaid) was overdue by 30 June 2011,
  6. UEFA received no notice of this,
  7. Rangers did not lose their licence and in fact competed in both the Champions’ League and The Europa League in that season.


None of these facts are disputed (as far as is known) by anyone connected to the saga. What is in doubt, because the SFA won’t answer the question, is whether they received a copy of the tax bill and the May letter that accompanied it from Rangers or not.

If they did send it to the SFA, Rangers could reasonably argue that they did their bit and the SFA fell down on the job by failing to notify UEFA of their new unfavourable tax status.

If Rangers did not send it, then they had broken not only UEFA FFP rules but more importantly the trust amongst SFA members that full disclosure is honestly made in a self-certification process. The SFA in not carrying out their monitoring responsibilities properly and using the powers UEFA FFP gave them also broke that trust.

In either case, there is a systematic failure by the SFA to administer the sport effectively; either through a failure of trust, a failure of administration – or both.

Even worse, in the four years that have elapsed since this incident, it seems that nothing has been done to put matters right. The SFA have been very active in refusing to answer questions on the matter, particularly this one;

“How will you prevent it happening again?”

 Incredibly, up to now, no measures have been put in place to add rigour to the licensing process. Are they really saying that they think the process was carried out satisfactorily?

No they are saying nothing. Silence and denial, followed by silence and inaction.

So what is the point of this article? Let’s call out the elephant in the room right away – it is unequivocally not to have a go at Rangers. This is no longer really about Rangers at all, but about the SFA’s mal-governance of the game. Besides, clubs affected by this seeming failure on the part of the authorities (in that year Celtic, Dundee United and Hearts and Kilmarnock) are hardly likely to successfully sue a club now in liquidation (although small shareholders might take a different view with regard to the SFA’s conduct).

Nor am I seeking to find some retrospective punishment for the club (as far as I know sanctions are neither available retrospectively, nor useful in this case ) but to be aware that the question above urgently needs to be addressed if the status of football as a sport is to be maintained.

To the extent that this is about what has happened to Rangers, does anyone – no matter what club they owe their allegiance to – seriously consider that TRFC would NOT be in a better situation today had the SFA acted with propriety and applied their rules correctly in 2011/12?

With the kind of money on offer these days for entry into Europe, and the interdependent nature of the game, it seems fairly self-evident that trust is not enough to allow effective regulation, and that incompetent governance where money is the paramount consideration is unacceptable.

The SFA has long enjoyed a misconceived impression of its function as being that of a quasi-legal body, bestowing upon it a status of independence and aloofness from the partisan interest of the clubs. In the main, fans have largely bought into that myth. However the SFA is nothing of the kind.

It is in fact merely a cartel which is allowed to govern itself for its own benefit and is only accountable to the clubs that make up its membership, and not the fans. Check out the last sentences of almost any rule, where discretionary powers awarded to itself effectively render the rule worthless and unenforceable.

Literally, a nihilistic approach to governance

Maybe it is time the SFA scrapped the get out of jail discretionary clauses, and put some robust regulation in place to ensure the financial transparency of all clubs?

Even better, politicians are never slow to tell us of the importance of football to the social fabric of the country – in that case why not follow their own rhetoric, recognise that it cannot be allowed to self regulate in narrow self interest, and legislate to have football governed independently?

If I was a Rangers fan, I’d be thinking that the SFA’s failure to police the UEFA licencing issue helped accelerate the club’s demise – by making it easier to paper over the cracks.

If I was a Celtic, Hearts, Dundee United or Killie fan, well the consequences for them in terms of lost financial and competitive opportunities are fairly obvious.

Conclusion? The clubs can no longer be trusted to run the affairs of the industry themselves.

A new independent, accountable regulatory body (funded by the clubs) is the minimum we need to save the game in this country. It should comprise representatives of the clubs, the fans and other stakeholders – and it should have a holistic remit as its prime directive, whilst ensuring fair and equitable treatment of all clubs.

It can take decisions on the basis of what is good for the game without the baggage of self-interest, and without any west of Scotland institutionalised bias. Of course Scotland isn’t alone in this. Football is a powerful political force across the world, and as developments at FIFA over the past couple of years have demonstrated, it is institutionally corrupt. The clubs can no longer be allowed to run it as they see fit, and we need to begin a campaign which will ultimately convince the pay-at-the-gate fan of the truth of that.

The UEFA licensing issue is only a pebble in the sand of football incompetence and corruption, but it is a microcosm of what ails the game. The good of the sport, and not individual clubs, is paramount. The SFA cannot and will not deliver that.

The case for a new regulatory body is clear, and the status quo is not an option unless the death of the sport is deemed acceptable.

There is little doubt in my mind that unless regime change is effected, in a few decades there will be no regime .

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John Cole

About Big Pink

Big Pink is John Cole; a former schoolteacher based in the West of Scotland, He is also a print and broadcast journalist who is engaged in the running of SFM . Former gigs include Newstalk 106, the Celtic View, and Channel67. A Celtic fan, he is also the voice of our podcast initiative.

1,255 thoughts on “The Case for a New SFA.

  1. Looks like James Doleman’s article on Bella Caledonia may have been removed.

    I have removed Homunculus’s post of 16th October 2015 at 10:20 pm and all posts referring to it.

    I am surprised, in the light of constraints on social media imposed today in court, that people would be assuming ANY intent on the part of the accused.

    If I can reiterate, it is the law of the land – and the opinion of the mods on this blog – that all of the accused in this trial should be afforded the presumption of innocence, and that any premature conclusions should be left to outlets run by someone else.

    We are serious that SFM should be protected. Obviously from the threat of judicial sanction, but also reputationally.

    As an example of jumping to conclusions, it has often been suggested that a blind eye was turned to the request by the court for a submission from Duff and Phelps on conflicts of interest. Today’s developments demonstrate that this was definitely not the case.

    A bit of common sense is required, not just to satisfy the mods’ sensitivities, but to protect their ability to keep the blog running. I hope people will think carefully before they post, and we need to be able to trust posters not to put the blog in jeopardy.

  2. I am thinking of putting together a twice or three times weekly Podcast summarising newspaper content with commentaries.

    A kind of oral Stunney if you will 🙂

    For once, there may be a use for TU/TD07.

    Can you folks give me an indication of how that would be received?

  3. Danish Pastry 16th October 2015 at 11:06 pm #
    ‘..More from @jamesdoleman on Bella. ‘
    Hej, DP. Hvordan gar  det?
    And are you taking the proverbial with that link? And here’s me all po-faced and solemn!03

  4. Sorry BP but couldn’t catch the edit button to delete my reply to Homunculus. 

    No worries CO
    Thanks for the heads-up 🙂

  5. Big Pink 17th October 2015 at 12:07 am #
    ‘..I am thinking of putting together a twice or three times weekly Podcast summarising newspaper content with commentaries.’
    I take it for granted that you mean summarising just the football material. And I assume that would mean the football material in every paper ( including local papers)that has a readership, and writes about football matters, in  the territory of any  club in the SPFL?
    That could be quite a big job.Have you a set of criteria in mind against which you would assess the material?
    I quite like the idea,  as I think back to the trenchant Brian Inglis and the  ‘What the papers say’ of former times. As I recall, he made us ask ‘what was the paper saying’ ‘who was saying it’ ‘why were they saying it’ ‘what was their source’ and ‘why were they saying it now’ and ‘who will profit from what they say’.

  6. Given the uncertainty over TRFC Ltd’s future, are the odds of 20/1 on Hibs to win the Championship at Skybet a wee bit on the generous side?
    They (I’m not sure who “they” are) say that bookies are rarely wrong, but either the bookies are wrong or they know something that I don’t.
    Even a 15 point deduction would make a significant difference, and the possibility is very real of not actually finishing the season. A 25 point deduction to maintain the continuity myth would probably be fatal to their title ambitions.

  7. Someone posted there has not been much new information today, but from the Daily Record online piece;
    “Prosecutors allege that they were then able to acquire “85.3 per cent of the issued capital of the club for £1 by fraud and did thus obtain a majority and controlling stake” in the shareholding of the club.
    It is claimed that this was done for “the sole or main purpose of facilitating the acquisition of the club by providing finance which was lent by the Club to Wavetower Limited which in turn allowed Wavetower Ltd to repay the club’s debt to the Bank of Scotland PLC.”
    Now surely this is news. This Rangers fanzine are chief cheerleaders for the same club myth yet here is their James Mulholland confirming the club had shares and debt. Should their line not be the issued capital and shareholding of the company that operated the club and the company (that ran the club)’s debt?
    What is it they say about the problem with telling lies?????

  8. Big Pink 17th October 2015 at 12:07 am #
    A kind of oral Stunney if you will 🙂
    Ah Stunney! Anyone ever find out why he got the bump from his paper round?
    Been enjoying a week of continental swally and have enjoyed catching up (though not as much, it has to be said!) Lots to comment on but think I’ll keep my powder dry for now.
    As ever, the MSM regaling us with tidings of joy down Govan way. Unbelievable! Or, perhaps not.
    It is my sincere wish that the wheels of justice will, having got moving, gain some traction and become a juggernaut of justice. Poetic or whit!

  9. normanbatesmumfc          

    Yes I noticed that. Strangely though, despite the liquidation of the entity to which they refer, they subsequently talk about the “club” being purchased when they describe the charges relating to the alleged disposal of the assets for less than the market rate.

    I haven’t seen the precise details of the charges, but I am willing to bet that the “club” is not the wording used in relation to those (latter) charges.

    I would guess that a defence advocate could run a battalion of tanks through any such imprecise and erroneous wording in the charges relating to the exact nature of the entity which is the subject of any alleged fraud.

    I’m betting no such wording will exist anywhere.

    For the record, I can well understand why reporting restrictions are in place. Social media is still unregulated and with its ever-widening reach, any irresponsible coverage would pose a danger to both sides.

    This may be an indication that Lord Hodge reckons the vanilla contempt arrangements in place hitherto have been insufficient.

    I am sure that much of what arises from this trial (if it goes ahead) will serve to disinfect the misreporting and often blatant untruths perpetrated on the football world by the media and  succession of PR agencies.

    I am also convinced that the major casualties of any such disinfecting agents will be the football authorities – regardless of the outcomes of the cases.

  10. John Clark …
    Just a quick note to show my appreciation for the time you put in yesterday and every other time you have covered court precedings for the benefit of this blog .
    Its just a shame the reporting has been restricted , although we can all understand why .
    I see James Doleman had published a summary of the Indictments and also noted that STV and the likes have steered clear of it  Probably on legal advice I would assume ? 
    Maybe goes to show how nervous some organisations are when it comes to real legal repercussions and the need for accurate reporting ! ?  None of the PR dribble that we have regularly seen from some media outlets will be tolerated .
    Let us all sit back and let the truth unfold ! 

  11. Just seen the Daily Record have published the full detail of all 8 charges in the Rangers case .
    Makes for quite Interesting reading and I’m looking forward to seeing how both sides argue their cases .
    But you know what else I noticed (or didn’t notice) ? 
    Not one single mention of this fantasy ” holding company ” that used to own and operate the club ! Nope…… 
    Just the club …
    Amazing what they are forced to do when faced with legals ! 

  12. JC,  It’s disappointing that in this day and age a reasonable ‘sound system’ is not in place in courts.  Along the lines of Justice must be seen (And Heard) to be done.

  13. John Clark 17th October 2015 at 12:15 am #Danish Pastry 16th October 2015 at 11:06 pm #‘..More from @jamesdoleman on Bella. ‘______

    Hej, DP. Hvordan gar det?And are you taking the proverbial with that link? And here’s me all po-faced and solemn!03

    Det går godt, tak, though rather busy. I’m mostly reduced to catch-up reading — and I don’t really have much to offer, what is, a very technical discussion. Sorry about the misleading link. I had no idea the article had been removed by the time you clicked. Seemed very benign.

    Still, the Scottish establishment works in mysterious ways its wonders to perform.

    Speaking of speculative society, I noticed a lot of SDM related posts on twitter last night. A sudden burst of activity from @charleslavery with multi retweets from folk I follow. 

    Have also been wondering, as others, about that nice Mr Ashley, he of the sports emporiums. Seemed a bit miffed about an alleged concert party and three performing bears 🙂

    PS Ah, ‘What the Papers Say’. I watched as a young lad. I think that programme awakened a very early interest in the media for me. Indirectly, it probably led me to free-lancing and the past 20 years of self-publishing. 

  14. Innocent till proven guilty and all that but readng the list of charges there must now be a few squeaky bums at the SFA, the IPA, Pinsent Masons and maybe other parties who gave everything a clean bill of health despite many an internet bampot saying ‘tread carefully” at the very least with regards to all going on down Govan Way.

  15. Home for a long weekend to surprise wife for her 50th birthday: brownie points duly collected.
    Brownie points swiftly cancelled when we where loitering next to Charing Cross trying in vain to find SFM office.
    Tin of biscuits brought as ‘office warming’ pressie now duly scoffed !

    Couple of observations from court updates;
    Thanks JC, as ever, for your Court Reporting: you deserve a pay rise !
    I think I would have had a pop at the  Police or even the Judge – public servants – for not allowing the public to sit in the seats “Reserved for Press” ?! That would have got me going…  07

    And despite being described as a ‘GEF’, the bold Motherwell Billionaire does get some nice looking burds !  He obviously talks a good game.
    Can’t wait to read Charlie’s testimony…that will require several bags of popcorn I think !

  16. JC,

    Belated thanks for your reply to my post from yesterday evening. Am on holiday, with irregular access to wifi.
    Many thanks for your courtroom endeavours. It is reassuring to know that there are trustworthy eyes and ears present to witness events.

  17. I think a wee question should be asked of TRFC fans who have purchased ST tickets, or paid through the gate for the last 4 years. 
         “If it was announced by the SFA, that Sevco Scotland was a new club, but could enter the game using “Rangers” in its name, but it does so with a fresh start without a stain on its character would you have still purchased?”
        Lets face it, 4 years of ST’s and bussing up and down the country can’t have come cheap.
       But why stop there.How about, 
     “If the SFA supplied LNS with ALL of the appropriate evidence at their disposal, and in his wisdom, LNS concluded that Rangers(I.L) had extensively cheated the game, over many years, leaving them no choice but to asterisk the titles. would you have ran into the street to smash a few windaes, and kick passers-by in the hawmaws, or would you have took it like a man, stopping only to thank Sandy Bryson for his “efforts”? 
      Or how’s this one,
       If the SFA had revoked Rangers(I.L) Euro playing rights due to unpaid taxes, would you have blamed the SFA, or Minty, and his disastrous financial strategy, but praised his remarkable deftness of hand with a shredding machine?
       And next
     If you had a serious illness, only treatable with a foul tasting medicine, would you have carried on in years of crippling pain, and a vegetative state, or would you take the medicine?.
    And last but not least,
        Many suspicions were raised across the new media platforms, and allegations, suspicions and questions, forwarded to the SFA by email, letter and banners in stadiums the length and breadth of the country, all of which were unanswered or ignored by the SFA. How do you feel towards the SFA, knowing that these ignored suspicions and allegations, now appear to be mirrored exactly, in indictments being served and high court appearances now being made to answer to them? 
        Only then will we come to understand the level of inadequacy, and perhaps even input,  the SFA had in bringing us to where we are now, which may yet, force the long suffering ST buyers to face all of that again, and more, but now possibly having lost that most essential of human emotions in combating adversity………….Hope !  
        Maybe just one last question
        Would you like to see the secret 5-way agreement published in full……Along with any “side letters” or “dual contracts”, that accompanied it?. 

  18. Apologies.

    I took the view last night that limiting discussion to what had been reported in the newspapers would be within acceptable parameters. However as I am not the person at risk in this then that was not my decision to make. I fully understand and appreciate that others have to protect their own position.

    Sorry for any inconvenience this has caused. 

    No worries H. Thanks for your understanding.

  19. I see that yesterday our award-winning sports journalist of the year could not resist having a cheap swipe at his once Motherwell billionaire hero.

    “Intriguing day all round. Looks like someone’s hired himself another romantic interest.
    — keith jackson (@tedermeatballs) October 16, 2015”

    Why Jackson has to resort to this Level of vindictiveness I do not know.  Let’s hope that the young lady in question makes him regret his slur on her good character.

  20. Big Pink 17th October 2015 at 1:40 am # normanbatesmumfc Yes I noticed that. Strangely though, despite the liquidation of the entity to which they refer, they subsequently talk about the “club” being purchased when they describe the charges relating to the alleged disposal of the assets for less than the market rate. I haven’t seen the precise details of the charges, but I am willing to bet that the “club” is not the wording used in relation to those (latter) charges. I would guess that a defence advocate could run a battalion of tanks through any such imprecise and erroneous wording in the charges relating to the exact nature of the entity which is the subject of any alleged fraud. I’m betting no such wording will exist anywhere. ___________________

    This is something I’ve been wondering. As it appears only card carrying members of the press managed to get hold of copies of the full indictment, we are limited to what the MSM publish and the words they choose to use. I don’t know if the full 20 pages can be published for us all to read, but perhaps James Doleman (hopefully reading this) can answer my query.

    Is there anywhere in the indictment that it is stated that Sevco Scotland (or anyone) purchased, bought or acquired, in any way, Rangers Football Club? Surely, if the club was purchased then the indictment would clearly state that it was – not just that the assets and business were bought/sold!

    Further thoughts brought me to the conclusion that, had the CVA been agreed (however unlikely) and these charges brought against those people, then ‘the purchase/sale of Rangers Football Club Ltd’ would be perfectly clear in the indictment! I guess it would probably state that it was bought from Wavetower plc. I wonder if it states that anyone bought the club’s history?

    I’m raising this old chestnut because it’s, to my memory, the first time a legal document has been made available that had the opportunity to state that RFC was purchased by CG/Sevco, and, indeed, probably would/should have if that was the case.

  21. Regardless of outcome, with these charges – at the very least – partially vindicating the “internet bampots”, and “clueless keyboard clatterers”, etc…

    Presumably the SMSM will soon be full of belated apologies from the ‘reporters of truth’…?

  22. Billy Boyce 17th October 2015 at 10:42 am #I see that yesterday our award-winning sports journalist of the year could not resist having a cheap swipe at his once Motherwell billionaire hero.
    “Intriguing day all round. Looks like someone’s hired himself another romantic interest. — keith jackson (@tedermeatballs) October 16, 2015”
    Why Jackson has to resort to this Level of vindictiveness I do not know.  Let’s hope that the young lady in question makes him regret his slur on her good character.
    Very good point BB: and you don’t have to be a journalist – or even a grown up – to understand that his tweet is wrong on several levels.
    I read this tweet as Keef ‘knowing’ that Whyte’s partner is a hooker.
    Guessing this tweet will be swiftly deleted, with apology to come ?
    Keef is pathetic – and offensive, IMO.  23

  23. Big Pink 17th October 2015 at 1:40 am
    “I am sure that much of what arises from this trial (if it goes ahead) will serve to disinfect the misreporting and often blatant untruths perpetrated on the football world by the media and succession of PR agencies.”

    Eddiegoldtop 17th October 2015 at 3:48 am
    “Let us all sit back and let the truth unfold !”


    I admire, but do not necessarily share, your optimism.

    A quick look at any of the football forums catering for the 500,000,000 chosen ones unsurprisingly reveals that the current court cases are purportedly all about ‘ra peepul’ and how they have been cheated (if only Carlsberg did irony!), and by extension, how their club was never insolvent in the first place, nor should it have been ‘relegated’ to the 3rd division. 

    Not a thought for the many creditors of the old club who were (allegedly) shafted, or for the rest of Scottish football who’ve had to put up with this embarrassing and seemingly never-ending pantomime. Instead, they’re playing the victim card once more.

    Throughout this saga, the mainstream media has been content to report exactly what it perceives its audience wants to hear/read, avoiding the truth at every turn. I fully expect that sort of narrative to continue.

    I’ve long held the view that this entire omnishambles was a predetermined attempt to cleanse Rangers of its massive debts and return it to real Rangers men with the illusion of being the same club, and that this was agreed in advance with the blessing of our corrupt football authorities. The cast may have gone ‘off script’ on occasions due to unforeseen obstacles, and the ad libbing has been woeful, but essentially they are so close to their original goal that there will be no stopping them now, regardless of some trifling little court cases.

    Nothing would give me greater pleasure than to be proved wrong! 

  24. Big Pink 17th October 2015 at 12:00 am #

    I agree with all you say. SFM can’t be put at risk over this. 

    What I am curious about is the court restriction on reporting. There will be many witnesses in this case who are not on trial, but will have a story to tell. If someone from the SFA finally sheds light on agreements made in 2012 why should that be restricted? Many people wish to see closure on how newco was helped by the SFA and to exactly what extent. The SFA are not on trial and surely this information is in the public interest. Speaking hypothetically, if SFA rule bending or breaking is admitted the public have a right to know. 

    Perhaps one of our legal contributors can clarify the exent a reporting restriction is likely to reach. 

  25. I’ve noticed some people in various blogs are querying the latest recruitments down Ibrox way, suggesting it may be a sign that things aren’t as bad there as we mostly suspect. I’d suggest it’s more to do with promises/business plan given to Warburton and Weir where they were told that they could build the team and scouting system as they saw fit. Indeed, was it not part of their role to do so? Imagine the consternation if Warbs had been told by Paul Murray that he couldn’t go ahead and recruit the people he sees as important cogs in the wonder squad he is building!

    It’s been said already that it’s not unusual for businesses, especially those in the public gaze, to spend quite brazenly to continue the veneer of ‘all is well’, but also consider, the monthly outlay on those two recruits will probably be somewhat less than the cost of the equivalent Level5 PR!

  26. upthehoops 17th October 2015 at 11:04 am

    I think I am correct in saying that the restrictions are only for the duration of the trial. Thereafter, a full transcript will be available, probably made available online, too, eventually.

    It’s going to be very frustrating, though, for us all. Fortunately the bulk of the bears seem quite jovial about it all, convinced it’ll all end up happy ever after for them 14

  27. jimbo 17th October 2015 at 6:23 am #
    ‘.. a reasonable ‘sound system’ is not in place in courts. ‘
    I might have unconsciously misled folks: there are microphones in plenty on the advocates’ tables, and speakers well placed to let everybody hear. The problem is that the people don’t use them, or don’t speak into them if they( the  mics)  are even switched on. We could hear the judge very clearly, though.
    I think it’s because the bench and the clerk and the lawyers are all within such easy conversational distance from one another that they forget there are others who are at he back of the room.

  28. StevieBC

    I have PM’d you this morning. Damn those biscuits 🙂

  29. Just on the press reporting with particular reference to OC/NC the bbc was notably brief and to the point obviously (one assumes) quoting the briefing whilst the DR amongst others appear particularly adept at bringing in opinion such as, for instance, buying the club out with the actual quote from the document.

    to be fair this is referring to last nights’ summary.  I haven’t had a chance to go to the tesco bookshelf and peruse my free copy of this morning’s fuller coverage.  Please note other free copies are available!!!

    and for any economists out there – how much would you like the exam question this morning to be describe the prisoners dilemma using a recent case to illustrate your points!  Go on Charlie – twist or stick, twist or stick….

  30. The Keith Jackson tweet about CW’s woman-friend is disgusting. It is sexist, borderline defamatory, irrelevant, betrays a lack of credibility, and is highly unprofessional.

    It is also arguably a contempt of court.

    If someone had posted that here, it would been binned.

    It is strange that people who spend much of their time ridiculing and discrediting social media outlets should embrace the worst of that platform to score cheap points.

    Another bull’s-eye on the irony board for Scotland’s “Best Sports Journalist”

    Be interesting to see how soon he builds up to a faux high dudgeon over some other trivial issue, completely uncontaminated by self awareness.

  31. To be fair of the entire section in reporting Scotland the only bit mrs Smugas commented on was that she was carrying the brief case and speculated what was in it.  Let it  be more tapes.  Please.

  32. Billy Boyce 17th October 2015 at 10:42 am #
    ‘..I see that yesterday our award-winning sports journalist of the year could not resist having a cheap swipe at his once Motherwell billionaire hero.’
    The phrase ‘guttersipe journalist’ springs all too readily to mind.
    An offensive remark, not even aimed at a principal protagonist but at the character of a naturally anxious, worried but loyal woman.
    The ‘journalist’ in question should be made by his editor to tweet an apology. If the editor himself is even marginally higher up out of the gutter.

  33. The ‘journalist’ in question should be made by his editor to tweet an apology. If the editor himself is even marginally higher up out of the gutter.

    This is the Record we are talking aboot?

  34. Desperately sad news about Howard Kendal.

    Everton’s most successful manager, one of their greatest players, and an all-round football great.

    I remember when he played for PNE against WHU in the 1964 FA Cup final. At that time he was the youngest ever participant in the final – a few days younger than WHU’s John Sissons.

    Goodison will be a very sad place today.


  35. I tweeted David Conn at the Guardian earlier today, saying
    ‘Why no mention in Guardian today of start of Craig Whyte / Chas Green etc Rangers trial? Indictments are news surely? Big story’
    He replied
    ‘we’ve been busy, but yes, this is an important story we’ll try to cover’

  36. Big Pink 17th October 2015 at 12:00 am. 
       BP. You make a valid point that as social media, from a courts point of view, is largely unregulated,  comments need curtailed. However you then go on to state that you suspect the “regulated” inky trades have printed a bucket of crap regarding the wording of the charges, and would have tanks driven through it.  Doesn’t that strike you as a bizarre situation, and show that the regulations are either futile, or poorly enforced, or both.
       Please don’t get me wrong. I am not casting aspersions on you, or the blog, or anybody really, but on that bizarre situation.  
        Could it be that with it being Friday, and a high profile case, issuing the 20 pages was a stop-gap measure, prior to it being updated on the courts web-site on Monday?
        As it appears, we are relying (at least for the time being) on SMSM interpretation of the charges, I would suggest that there is some validation in attempts to gain some sort of press accreditations and access rights. 
        Thus being granted a copy of the 20 pages, which could be duplicated here in full, as we do not have to wrestle with that fiddly dilemma of column inches available, or editorially driven, opinion based twaddle. 
        My gripe really is that while the SMSM go unchecked, we, as should be, strive to keep ourselves correct. As a blog, Ally and John are entitled to the same, if not more privileges than the SMSM have EVER earned…..Jeezo, The courts have called them out often enough, even singling them out by name, but still nothing is done. 
        Do we have back up reporters just in case they are called up for jury duty? Or does being a Bampot exclude one from making the cut…… SMSM reader? Oooh suits you sir. 14  

  37. Very sad news about Howard Kendall.

    As part of the ‘holy trinity’ of Ball-Kendall-Harvey, he was a superb team player, and a main part of the engine room of Everton’s 1970 English champions team. That he returned as manager to mould a ‘team of no stars’ that was both easy on the eye and hard as nails was a tribute to his skills and his  ability to continue Everton’s ‘philosophy’ (in the current lingo) as the ‘school of science’. As well as being English champions twice, and winning the European Cup-Winners’ Cup, he was unfortunate to be in possession of a team that was expected to have a serious crack at dominating Europe just when English teams were hit with a European ban. Before Ferguson’s Man United had their go at knocking Liverpool off their perch, it is often forgotten that Kendall took on Liverpool while they were at their greatest in the mid 1980s, and bested them.

    He was one of the greats of the modern game, and the accounts of those who knew him talk of a gentleman. The closest I got to him was watching Everton play Falkirk in a friendly at Brockville many years ago. Everton scored four times, but the only one I remember is a  rocketing headed goal from the edge of the penalty box, Kendall putting the bald part of his head to good use. Rest in peace.

  38. Tartanwulver 17th October 2015 at 12:48 pm #
    ‘..I tweeted David Conn at the Guardian earlier today, ..’
    Well done. Allegations of fraud in football are surely big enough news world-wide, what with FIFA and UEFA, to be of reportable interest to real journalists.

  39. upthehoops 17th October 2015 at 11:04 am #
    ‘…If someone from the SFA finally sheds light on agreements made in 2012 .’
    Not entirely off topic, I hope, but I listened earlier this morning to news that Bob Woodward, he of undying ‘Watergate’ fame, published a new book last week entitled, I think, ‘The Last of the President’s Men’.
    It is expected to be a best-seller by the end of this week, in the US at least.
    Apparently, he tracked down a chap ( who’s name I don’t remember from the reporting of the time), Alex Butterfield, who invited him to his home, and presented him with access to 20 boxes full of files that Butterfield had taken home from ‘the office’. And it is the stuff in those files, including names, that Woodward has written about.
    And there are many folk still alive who, apparently, will be experiencing something of a squeaky bum moment.
    Now, we don’t know whether in any way, shape or form any reference will be made to the actions or inaction of the football authorities in the current court case.
    But they might just as likely be experiencing, 4 years on, something of the same squeaky bum that chaps in the States are experiencing 40 years on, not knowing what might emerge!
    Now would be a very good time for a ‘re-assessment’ by the Football Authorities of the whole approach taken to the RFC(IL) sporting cheating, and the carry-over into whichever new club it was that bought the assets of the liquidated club.
    A ‘hands up’ confession and prompt resignation or two might, followed by sharp, corrective action, go some way to rehabilitation of our Sport.

  40. The SFA should be stripped of all responsibilities with regard to referees.  They can neither train them nor supervise them.   The officials should be made to declare their allegiance to teams they have supported and not be allowed to officiate in the games involving their heroes. 11

    Either that or contract it out to non Scots FAs.  19

  41. Just to jog your memory….

    30 May 2013


    Rangers International Football Club plc (the “Company”)


    Conclusion of Independent Review


    On behalf of Rangers International Football Club plc, the non-executive directors of the Company (the “Investigation Committee”) engaged the law firm Pinsent Masons LLP to investigate the connections between Craig Whyte and former and current personnel of the Company and its subsidiaries (the “Investigation”).


    The Investigation was overseen by Roy Martin QC.


    The Investigation concluded on 17 May 2013 and Pinsent Masons and Roy Martin QC have reported to the Investigation Committee. The Investigation Committee is satisfied that a thorough investigation was conducted despite the inherent limitations of a private inquiry.


    Based on the assessment of the available evidence, the Company considers that the Investigation found no evidence that Craig Whyte had any involvement with Sevco Scotland Limited (now called The Rangers Football Club Limited), the company which ultimately acquired the business and assets of The Rangers Football Club P.L.C. from its administrators; nor which would suggest that Craig Whyte invested in The Rangers Football Club Limited or Rangers International Football Club plc, either directly or indirectly through any third party companies or vehicles.


    On 28 May 2013, a letter before claim was sent to (inter alia) The Rangers Football Club Limited and Rangers International Football Club plcon behalf of Craig Whyte, Aidan Earley and (purportedly) Sevco 5088 Limited. The Rangers Football Club Limited and Rangers International Football Club plc will be preparing a robust response to the letter before claim.  However, given that legal proceedings are threatened in the letter before claim, it would not be appropriate to make public any further content from the report or to comment further about the contents. Pinsent Masons’ and Roy Martin’s reports to the Company are confidential and legally privileged. This announcement is not intended to and does not serve to waive privilege in the contents of the reports which remain confidential and legally privileged.

  42. Big Pink 17th October 2015 at 3:06 pm

    Another document, quasi-legal this time, that shied away from stating that Rangers Football Club was acquired, purchased or bought.

    A company that has, since it’s inception, taken every opportunity – 1872 on the back of football tops, repeated use of the description ‘140(+) year old club’ etc etc – must have a very good reason for avoiding any reference to the original club in such a document.

    Not trying to reopen that old debate, but I would be interested in hearing anyone’s explanation as to why the purchase of the ‘football club’, it’s history even, are missed from any document pertaining to the current Ibrox club, that just happens to be of legal or quasi-legal significance.

    Perhaps it’s time the Scottish legal system employed Level5 to handle the composition of indictments and the publication of findings of investigations carried out by members of the legal profession 21

  43. Good Afternoon
    Not posted for a while.
    Good to see care being taken with regard to Contempt of Court.
    More work for the mods but nothing should get through the net. Apart from any reputational damage to the site, how would someone feel if their comments were held up before a Court as an example of how someone could not get a fair trail?
    What if an innocent party were to be convicted because of something that appeared on the blog or indeed if a guilty party were to be declared innocent?
    Speculation should not be allowed.
    I expect that a copy of the actual Indictment will appear sooner or later but I would not take the wording of the Daily Record at face value (as if anyone would)
    What will be clear over the next months is that there will never be a stronger case to replace the SFA when the evidence unfolds.
    This case will not be complete before the 2016/17 Season gets underway and Sevco will not be playing with the big boys.
    Where is Kings £30 Million?
    Where is this months payroll?
    Why have the SFA/SPFL not asked for accounts from Sevco?
    Where are the cash flows which show that they can complete the season?
    If the SFA/SPFL cannot do the basics of governance what will they do when Sevco implodes?
    Happy days are ahead for all creditors of RFC(In Liquidation)
    Even happier days ahead for all genuine football fans who will not have to endure cheats in their midst.

  44. Jimbo 2.27
    I have yet to see an argument against this idea from Celtic Underground over  3 years ago.
    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.

  45. Auldeid,  Sounds good to me.  Anything but the status quo.  I was a bit wary of bringing the subject up and deliberately omitted any examples of poor refereeing.  But on other sites it’s obvious the dissatisfaction is throughout most if not all clubs in Scotland.

    I won’t hold my breath, they are power mad at Hampden.

  46. Big Pink
    There is little point mounting any enquiry outside a court of law with punitive  powers into goings on at TRFC.
    They simply conceal the evidence that would lead to an undesirable result and they do not get called out.
    HMRC ask in 2005 if side letters for De Boer and Flo held. RFC say no and it takes a police raid in 2007 to establish they lied.
    RFC fail to report arrival of tax bill in May 2011 to SFA and SFA say anything after licence granted is not their problem. Aye right.
    SPL lawyers ask RFC in 2012 for all documentation relating to ebts and side letters from 1998 to be provided. RFC fail to provide evidence of De Boer and Flo side letters along with HMRC letter of Feb 2011 setting out illegal nature of ebts used to pay both players.

    RFC also fail to provide to the SPL lawyers the same tax bill and covering letter of 20 May 2011 kept from the SFA when licencing monitoring took place in June 2011.

    You can see a pattern here, an illusion of governance based on no policing whatsoever of statements made, where the penalty for concealment is not immediate suspension when established but ignoring the evidence.

    What passed for governance was an illusion and it is being exposed with every passing day.

    Internal policing does not work. There has to be some independent body with stakeholder representatives involved to ensure fair play.
    If any good at all comes from RFC’S dishonest behaviour then it will be worth the frustration of getting there.

  47. John Clark 17th October 2015 at 1:31 pm # Not entirely off topic, I hope, but I listened earlier this morning to news that Bob Woodward, he of undying ‘Watergate’ fame, published a new book last week entitled, I think, ‘The Last of the President’s Men’.It is expected to be a best-seller by the end of this week, in the US at least.Apparently, he tracked down a chap ( who’s name I don’t remember from the reporting of the time), Alex Butterfield,….”
    JC, Butterfield was the guy who let the cat out of the bag with regard to there being a taping system in place in the White House.
    Scottish Football needs a good tape archive.

  48. I see my reply to Hoopy 7 has been pulled, I thought I was on safe ground.  Apologies if I crossed a line.

  49. Two thoughts for a Saturday.

    Sorry BB, the first thought isn’t appropriate for us – that’s Celtic forum stuff.

    The second? Carry on …. 🙂

    David Murray. An establishment figure ?

    Murray’s father was a small time businessman from Ayr, who had a chronic gambling problem, and bankrupted himself. That’s not any form of establishment background.

    Murray’s links to the establishment began when he persuaded Angus Grossart to join his board. Grossart’s star has wained more than somewhat in recent years. Some of the largest corporate losses and failures in recent years have had connections to Grossart. However he was hugely helpful in enabling Murray to borrow incredible amounts from Bank of Scotland. These borrowings were nowhere close to being covered by assets on the MIH balance sheet. I am not suggesting any impropriety by Grossart, however his judgement in backing Murray is surely open to question.

    Murray further strengthened his links to the establishment by employing Jack Irvine and Peter Watson to manage reputational issues and opportunities for self promotion.

    Jack Irvine is no longer the force he once was and Peter Watson was removed from Levy & McRae as the firm and Watson are being investigated for their role in the collapse of the Glasgow hedge fund Heather Capital , where £400 million of clients money was lost amongst claims by Richard Keen QC of dishonest assistance by Levy & McRae and in particular by Watson.

    Is Murray an Establishment figure or is he someone who is an embarrassment to the Establishment. I would suggest the latter, which makes decisions and inaction on Murray by all sorts of authorities and regulators more than baffling

  50. Delighted to hear Stuart Cosgrove on Off The Ball talking of introducing modern business methods into football governance.

    Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)  are part and parcel of running a modern business (as are Service Level Agreements) to measure performance.
    The irony in my tweet aimed at Mr C was missed by Annie  but Mr C got my point ok.
    I would love this issue to become a matter of common debate across the media.
    There will be Cons as well as Pros,  but let’s at least have the debate and try to drag football into this century.

  51. Folks,

    Celtic fans may or may not, to a greater or lesser extent running around with steam coming out their ears tonight over the refereeing performance at Motherwell.

    As you know, there is absolutely no point in discussing individual cases of perceived injustice, because everyone has their own story to tell.

    Consequently, we don’t want the blog dragged won that road with no end. Auldheid’s contributions are tangentially related of course, but in a more general sense.

    Refereeing injustices happen every week. That will continue no doubt. Unfortunately we have to live with it, no matter what structures are in place.

    So please think before you post. I have already had to remove half a dozen posts this evening. I am on my own right now. Can I please be allowed to watch the telly for a while? 🙂

  52. Barcabhoy 17th October 2015 at 6:53 pm

    Barca, I appreciate you have a hard-on for all things putting David Murray down but lets call it how it really is.
    Either ‘true’ or ‘pretendy’ establishment, the question is – are these people in it for themselves or in it to do good for society and the wider Scottish public?
    In the majority of cases, over time and history it tends to be the the former.
    Murray was just another ‘loads o money’ Thatcher spawned bullshitter that saw an opportunity. The ‘true’ establishment have been running the same wheeze for centuries and have just been a bit better in covering their tracks. In terms of doing us over Murray is a small fry.
    The sooner we get shot of them all,  the better we will be both in business and civic society as well as in terms of trying to create a successful and productive footballing nation.  Scotland open your eyes.

    Rant over – 🙂

  53. Auldheid 17th October 2015 at 6:59 pm

    Yes, great stuff.

    I’m happy with Strachan from a pure  footballing point of view as long as he can realise his weaknesses and failings in the KPI department and do something about it.

    As discussed a few days back the reliance on his nose to ‘sniff out’ who is ready for the blue shirt is just not good enough in today’s modern approach to sporting competition. The old school approach just isn’t going to be enough these days.

    I was tempted to get in touch with the show and state that if Strachan is only interested in entertaining the thoughts of those ‘inside the game’ as opposed to the fans and the internet bampots then why isn’t he calling up Martin O’Neill,  Kakhaber Tskhadadze, Adam Nawałka and Joachim Löw to find out what these, clearly superior, coaches did to make him and our team a solid fourth pot (or lower) dweller.

    The mention on the show about a KPI relating to the  long term progression and sensible planning of how to deal with rejuvenating a long in the tooth squad was as sensible a thought on the Scottish National team has has been voiced in a long time.

  54. Barcabhoy 17th October 2015 at 6:53 pm #
    I think Murray’s destiny was sealed by having to leave Fettes. (20k + p/a, not including board) when his father went broke.
    The son of a coalman would get a tough time from the toffs – he’s not their type. He’s been driven ever since. A famouly generous man, also reputed to be a good cold reader and the type that would have a file on everybody he’s ever dealt with. The legendary wee black book of contacts that Irvine ‘lost’ before plod got their hands on it would also have been put to good use, backed up by Watson’s hair-trigger litigiousness.
    I’m glad that Grossart, who is in print admitting to having an almost telepathic relationship with Murray, is finally beginning to get some scrutiny. You say his star has wained, Barca. I wouldn’t say that at all. I would suggest that he’s still very influential in almost every corridor of power. Murray’s continued ability to remain clean must be his retained ability to bring his ‘establishment’ chums down with him should he need to. I think we all know that day will never come.

  55. To avoid any rancour I will admit the ‘Well were, well rank the day.
    And for the avoidance of all doubt it should have been 2 pens plus plus.
    Everyone happy now?

  56. The details of the events on Friday, even the non contentious ones, seem to be being reported in a Sevco Advent Calendar style.
    I see tomorrow’s Sunday Mail has a photo gallery which includes the prosecutor, Jim Keegan QC.
    An interesting choice and given that he is a Solicitor Advocate I take it he was the only person sitting at the sharp end of the Court who was not bewigged.
    So far as the lack of clarity about what the Indictment actually charges the Accused (or Panels JC) with one can easily guesstimate how many copies of it are currently circulating and it is only a matter of time before it is put online, hopefully by COPFS, or otherwise.

  57. Interesting that discussion into the Pinsent Mason independent report is re-appearing, as I feel this could prove to be significant in the coming months.   Legally privileged, I doubt it will ever see the cold light of day, but it was possibly the singular and most instrumental factor in Sevco Scotland being granted membership of the SFA and the subsequent follow-ons. 
        It is important to point out that Charles Green nor Craig Whyte would co-operate with this investigation. They played no part in how it would run or its outcome.
        The responsibility for its inception, direction, and subsequent presentation to the SFA was down to neither man, but to the other board member(s), who found themselves lucky enough to be sitting when the music stopped. 
       It would be fair to say, that if anyone was misled by this report, or it influenced decision making in any way, then neither CG nor CW can bear any responsibility, having played no part in it, and it certainly can’t be claimed they “duped” anybody by its use or application………. That responsibility lies elsewhere. 

  58. EDIT. 
        but it was possibly the singular and most instrumental factor in Sevco Scotland being granted membership of the SFA 
      Should read,
         Being allowed to keep membership of the SFA.

  59. ianagain 17th October 2015 at 10:27 pm
    I think we can all understand that referees can make mistakes.
    The speed that the modern game moves at ensures that they cannot keep up with play all the time nor have a good sight line of every contentious decision.
    Having said that my main problem with this issue is with the assessors of referees.
    It seems to me that as a referee progresses up through the ranks a layer of Teflon is added until the reach such a lofty position that nothing sticks to them. Therefore they are untouchable because to get rid of them reflects badly on the very people who promoted them in the first place.
    We all have ‘our favourite’ poor referee but at what point do there poor performances actually affect their ‘second job’. Remember these guys are paid £800 for the performances they are turning in.

    It is typical of our authorities to stand by their men regardless of how badly they perform. Oh yes they may be dropped to the Championship for a week or two then back they come as incompetent as ever. They are that arrogant that they tell their assistants ‘not to make decisions’ as if getting assistance is an affront to them personally.

    We all know that the job is hard enough but they really do not help themselves and yet after a poor performance you could write the script; an ex-referee is allowed to write an article and another does the radio round telling everyone how bad the particular referee will be feeling as if we should all burst into tears for them and so the waggons are circled. Man up for goodness sake and accept that most of our senior officials are simply not up to the standard expected and attempt to rectify the situation. Don’t try fobbing off the paying public with drivel such as this because it doesn’t wash any longer.

    With the big bucks comes responsibility but as we all know ‘responsibility’ and ‘accountability’ are dirty words down Hampden way.

  60. TallBoy Poppy 17th October 2015 at 10:01 pm #
    ‘..ability to remain clean must be his retained ability to bring his ‘establishment’ chums down with him should he need to.’
    My thoughts exactly. One does not peach on fellows who can peach on you! A sort of social equivalent of the ‘mutually assured destruction’ view of nuclear weapons.
    The mutual scratching of backs or sycophantic ar.e-licking is as much dependent on fear as on any genuine goodwill.

  61. LUGOSI 17th October 2015 at 10:53 pm #
    ‘..I take it he was the only person sitting at the sharp end of the Court who was not bewigged.’
    Actually I think he was wearing a wig, but I wouldn’t absolutely swear to the fact. If he wasn’t entitled, he obviously wouldn’t do so.  Maybe easyJambo can confirm?

  62. TallBoy Poppy 17th October 2015 at 10:01 pm #
    ‘…also reputed to be a good cold reader..’
    But not so good at avoiding being distinctly ill at ease and shifty-eyed when describing on tv how he had been ‘duped’.
    I  thought at the time ‘what a word to use’. Not a normal word in everyday parlance at that time. A contrived use of a semi-obsolete word that really, at that time, nobody would have used. ‘I was duped’ was clearly rehearsed as part of a whole self-exculpating exercise which, to my mind, was as phony as phu..!
    The word ‘dupe’ has of course become a kind of byword for false protestations of innocence.

  63. wottpi 17th October 2015 at 9:45 pm #Barcabhoy 17th October 2015 at 6:53 pm
    Barca, I appreciate you have a hard-on for all things putting David Murray down but lets call it how it really is.

    That description doesn’t do the blog any favours, and it doesn’t reflect the serious and toxic nature of Murray’s actions.

  64. The dogs in the street are barking the news that King borrowed money from the 3 Bears (Taylor) in order to secure his shareholding.

    Is this not newsworthy as it would open up for debate the whole issue of King’s investment strategy?

    Why oh why is there not a single journo out there questioning King’s promises?

    Surely Level 5 ‘ s powers don’t extend to silencing the entire Scottish media, though that would appear to be the case.

    There are no secrets in Scottish football, our journos know where all the bodies are ⚰⚰.

    Why the wall of silence, a Mafia boss would delight in this vow of Omerta.

  65. ‘the old house looks the same..’ as I step over from Twitter.
    Nothing untoward with the server, I hope?

  66. Looks like everyone is having trouble finding the temporary page. Took me a few searches to get here.

  67. Good luck battling the gremlins.

    Managed to catch up with the blog on Friday and was delighted to see that JC and AJ(?) managed to make it into the court and was looking forward to reading the analysis of the indictments and what the consequences might be.

    Can I add my thanks to the chorus. The efforts to attended court and report back are what make this blog the go to place for these issues.

    Is the full 20 page indictment document a matter of public record and publically available? It was shared with the press.

    Have re-read James Doleman’s summary on his blog and it seems to confirm what has been suspected all along – that whatever the outcome of the criminal cases there would seem to be years and years of civil litigation on the horizon.

    I used to think that the hackneyed cliché of “slow moving car crash” was the best way to describe the journey of Rangers mk2. On reflection I think that what we are really watching is a melting glacier.

    The bampots, BDO and the fuzz are the global warming and with each inch that the glacier recedes a bit more of the truth that has lain hidden is revealed.

    Will there be a miraculous change in the weather, a sudden cold snap to re-freeze the crumbling edifice or have we reached an unstoppable tipping point?

  68. For the benefit of those (like myself) that are puzzling on how to log in. Just click in the ‘Have your say’ box.

    Apologies if this is/was patently obvious to everybody but me. (sheepish grin).

  69. @JC I can confirm that Jim Keegan was wigless, although he looked as if he needed one to improve on his attempt at a comb-over.

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