The Way it Works


I’ll check that out, BG, thanks. I’ve been known to be …

Comment on The Way it Works by nawlite.

I’ll check that out, BG, thanks.

I’ve been known to be a bit wordy, so I’ll see if I can edit a bit!!

nawlite Also Commented

The Way it Works
Eco, thanks for feedback on the letter.

I just cut and pasted from word, where the formatting is fine re paras.
The rule and default punishment actually seems pretty clear cut when it comes to suspended players, but not so specific when dealing with mis-registered players. That’s why I make specific comment on them not being identical, but having the same effect.

Interesting thoughts on making it more suggestion-focussed. Will think about that. Cheers.

The Way it Works
Folks, text of a letter and email I’m sending to UEFA today. Any thoughts on improvements before I do? I think I’ve accurately captured the ‘facts’ as I see them, but if anyone has any constructive criticism, I can amend. Cheers.

Dear Sirs,
Although I am Scottish, I am not a Celtic supporter, but feel I must write applauding your decision in respect of the rule breach by Legia Warsaw. I admire your principles in following your clearly stated rules in respect of such rule breaches despite the widespread sympathy for Legia that I have seen displayed, even in Scotland (and I am sure even you must feel sorry for them to an extent). I am glad that you did not undermine your rules by bowing to such feelings.
My interpretation of your actions in this case is that they confirm two key principles that underpin your disciplinary process:-
1. Even if a rule breach is discovered after the event, that rule breach must be dealt with.
I assume that the error was discovered after the event, or presumably you would have warned Legia not to make the error.
2. The rule breach must be punished even if no sporting advantage was gained.
The sympathy toward Legia is based on the fact that they obviously gained no sporting advantage by playing the suspended player for only 3 of the 180 minutes, by which time they were already 6-1 ahead in the tie.
Because of your swift and strong actions in support of your rulebook on this issue affecting Scottish football, I cannot help but compare and contrast the actions of the Scottish Football authorities when dealing with a similar issue.
You may already be aware of the case raised by the Scottish Football authorities against Rangers FC in recent times. This was a high profile case concerning the concealment of remuneration details from the football authorities which, when initially discovered, was described by them as being “just short of match fixing”. It was agreed that the issue was of sufficient importance to justify investigation by an independent tribunal. The Scottish Football Association allowed the Scottish Premier League to instigate this investigation because the SFA might need to act as the appellant body, but they took part in the investigation and provided evidence to it. Given that the SFA follows UEFA rules, I am at a loss to understand how they reached an outcome so different from your Legia decision and how UEFA allowed that decision to stand.
My reasoning for that statement is that the independent tribunal did indeed find Rangers FC guilty of deliberately concealing remuneration details (contained in side letters to contracts) for many, many players over many, many years and they were fined the sum of £250,000 for doing so. The reason for such a small fine for this long term, deliberate crime (“just short of match fixing”!) is that Rangers FC was already in liquidation by the time of the decision and a more commensurate fine would hurt only their creditors who had already suffered enough losses. This is perfectly understandable.
However, a massive number of football fans in Scotland cannot understand how Rangers, having been found guilty of deliberate concealment of player remuneration details i.e. mis-registration of players, did not suffer the consequences they should have.
As laid out in the tribunal decision, the reasons given for not punishing them clash quite glaringly with your underpinning principles as laid out in 1. and 2. above.
1. Even if a rule breach is discovered after the event, that rule breach must be dealt with.
As I mentioned, the SFA provided evidence to the independent tribunal. In his evidence, Sandy Bryson (the SFA’s registration expert) testified that if the SFA did not spot a mis-registration at the time and the player was therefore accepted as officially registered (albeit incorrectly), then that player’s status remained as ‘correctly registered’ until the discovery of the error/deliberate concealment (even though they now knew he was incorrectly registered throughout). As a result of that testimony, the tribunal panel took the view that Rangers FC should not face any consequences because in the eyes of the SFA at the time Rangers were fielding only correctly registered players, even though they now knew they were incorrectly registered due to the deliberate concealment. If UEFA took that view in the Legia case, then you could not punish them for the rule breach as UEFA discovered their unfortunate error only after the event. In many other cases, the SFA has been willing to act retrospectively and award the default 0-3 scoreline when teams have played mis-registered players in their cup competitions.
2. The rule breach must be punished even if no sporting advantage was gained.
The tribunal spent much time deliberating whether or not Rangers FC had gained any sporting advantage from the concealment of remuneration details. The background is that HMRC were concurrently fighting Rangers FC in court over tax evasion (which was the reason for Rangers’ concealment of player remuneration details). The first round of the case had just found in favour of Rangers, although HMRC went on to appeal. At the time of the tribunal decision, therefore, the methods Rangers used to avoid paying tax on player salaries were deemed legal (though HMRC’s appeal is ongoing), so the tribunal panel decided that any other Scottish club could have chosen to use the same practices, but didn’t. In their view, then, no sporting advantage had been gained. Depending on the outcome of the appeal, that view may prove to be right or wrong, but your decision in the Legia case clearly indicates that sporting advantage should not impact on the disciplinary process – it is the rule breach that must be punished, not the sporting advantage gained.
I realise that the cases I am discussing are not identical (the Legia case concerns one suspended player while the Rangers case concerns many, many mis-registered players over many, many years), but to football fans the end effect is the same – a player(s) took part in a match(es) in which he/they shouldn’t have been allowed to play. Football fans in Scotland can see only the glaring inconsistency between UEFA’s actions in one case affecting Scottish football and the SFA’s actions in another (as well as UEFA’s inaction in that case). For that reason, there is absolute distrust in the SFA and many fans have walked away from their team and the game here.
My questions for you are these:-
1. Were you aware of the independent tribunal investigating Rangers’ mis-registration of players?
2. Were you aware of the reasons why the tribunal reached the decision not to apply punishment?
3. Do you support the outcome of the independent tribunal investigating Rangers’ mis-registration of players?
4. Do you support the testimony of Sandy Bryson with regard to the impossibility of retrospective punishment?
5. Can you see how your actions clearly differ from those of the SFA for what is perceived as a similar but lesser breach by Legia?
If you agree with the decision and stand by the SFA’s handling of the rule breach by Rangers, would you be able to publish a clarification as to why you feel the decision is the right one? I hope you will at least explain that to me in your reply, but until Scottish football fans understand clearly why these two cases have been treated so remarkably differently by the SFA/UEFA, the distrust that has arisen from it will continue to erode the game here. This is best dealt with by a published clarification from UEFA. Most fans believe that the SFA circumvented their own rules to avoid punishing Rangers FC as they knew that any punishment would anger Rangers fans and potentially result in the loss of their large support to the game. They risk losing at least as many fans who believe that Rangers were given preferential treatment.
I do hope that you will look at this issue again and give me the courtesy of a reply.
Yours sincerely.

The Way it Works
Chris McLaughlin, in his BBC report, finding new ways to avoid using the L word, but also finding a way not to say relegated or demoted so as not to annoy us all too much!

“A Green-led consortium bought Rangers’ assets in 2012 – the same year the club was placed in the lowest tier of the Scottish league set-up following financial problems”


Recent Comments by nawlite

Questions, questions, questions
Beaton’s just an absolutely terrible referee! Allows a match to be about who’s the toughest. Horrible watch.

Questions, questions, questions
A positive.

Questions, questions, questions
You’ve read the BBC announcement about resuming coverage of Rangers* very differently than I did, BP, if you think that reads like Rangers* capitulated. With all the non-specific explanations about the BBC reporting ‘not meeting its editorial standards’ and their apology for not reporting in an accurate and balanced way in the past, I read it very much as the BBC caving in by admitting it had reported things that weren’t true pick from a menu including the sectarian singing; the liquidation; how well-off they are etc etc. Believe me, the TRFC fans are reading that non-specific apology as meaning that the BBC has lied about EVERYTHING bad they have ever reported and see this as a big win. Here’s a selection of quotes from the BD –
“Happy days. Between this and Kenny Macintyre taking the lead on Saturdays sportsound is good moves.”
“Mixed feelings on this. Glad to see them apologise and almost grovelling even just a little bit. On the other hand I quite liked having them nowhere near us.”
“They’ve apologised and acknowledged previous biased reporting, I’d chalk that up as a win.”
“This is the result we (fans) wanted I expect. An admission of wrongdoing by the BBC followed by a normalisation in relations. In which case, good.”

By the way, Phil has read it the same way I did.

Questions, questions, questions
Timtim, only one reason for claiming £20m imo. They have been using the hyped fee for Bassey for months to stop the fans looking at the SD court costs; does Ashley have claws in Castore etc. You just need to read the fan forums, who have believed all the months of deflection stories about £20m for Bassey to realise that if they were really ‘only’ getting £9m for Bassey (per my suggestion above) there would be riots.

Questions, questions, questions
Wokingcelt, I was looking and it seems the most Ajax have ever paid for a defender was for Daley Blind from Man U a couple of years back – a vastly experienced Dutch international (90 caps) who helped the Dutch to the semi-final of the 2014 World Cup. He had good experience in the Top 5 Leagues, winning league titles and cups with Ajax as well as the Europa League with Man U. They paid £14.4m for him with that record, so I’m not buying £20m+. He was 28 to Bassey’s 22, to be fair.

Other than him, the most they have spent on a defender is £9m – Owen Wijndal, a 22yr old left back from AZ Alkmaar. They signed him in June for this season. He has 12 caps for Holland, having been capped at all levels from U15. Compare that 22yr old’s record with 22 yr old Bassey – does anyone really think Ajax would pay more than twice for Bassey what they did for Wijnald?

I can confidently predict that this one will go through as ‘undisclosed’.

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