Time For Leadership at SFA & SPL

Scotland has a seven hundred year history of asking for help from south of the border in times of trouble and internal squabbling. It has rarely gone well. When King Alexander III died in 1286 without an heir, Scottish nobles asked Edward I of England to referee. Things went so badly, Mel Gibson made a film about it.

More recently, both the Scottish Football Association (SFA) and the Scottish Premier League (SPL) have reached across the border to find executives who could breathe new life into the moribund bureaucracies that were strangling our national game. It seemed a good idea at the time. There were no natural candidates within the Scottish game and the sectarian divide leaves any executive with a history with either of the Glasgow giants facing immediate accusations of bias. Casting the net for executive vision beyond the Solway Firth just made sense.

However, both Stewart Regan at the SFA and Neil Doncaster at the SPL have been major disappointments. In the face of repeated warnings about the greatest crisis in the history of Scottish football, both have been found asleep “on stag”. Stewart Regan’s petulant and immature responses to legitimate questions on his twitter feed have done nothing to suggest that he is a man braced for action. Neil Doncaster just seems to have gone missing altogether. Both men seem to be intent on giving the impression that they came to Scotland to enjoy some good golf and our peerless fishing.

The Daily Mail today quotes former Rangers director, Hugh Adam, as confirming that Rangers had operated with players routinely being issued with secret second contracts going back to the mid-1990s in direct violation of SFA regulations. Despite many warnings that a crisis was brewing, both Regan and Doncaster seem to have shown determination only in burying their heads deeper in the sand. They have had ample opportunity to investigate and to get out ahead of these issues. In my opinion, both have failed, thus far, to lead their organisations in their hour of greatest crisis.

I even tried to alert Stewart Regan.  All I got in return were impertinent and insulting replies as the following Twitter dialog shows from 23 January 2012 (including original typos):

RTC:                    @Stewartregan What penalty would apply to an SPL club that failed to provide SFA with accurate player contracts?

StewartRegan: @rangerstaxcase more ifs buts and mayes

RTC:                    @Stewartregan ?? You have me confused with others on other subjects. Now can you answer the question?

RTC:                    @Stewartregan Darrell King, a respected journalist, says he has seen side contracts for RFC players. Did SFA get copies?

RTC:                    @Stewartregan if / WHEN 😉 it becomes a matter of public record that side contracts existed, do you have a plan if action?

StewartRegan: @rangerstaxcase you have me confused with the SPL. Why not ask them?

RTC:                    @Stewartregan So the governing body of football in Scotland would abdicate its role in the face of falsification of player contracts?

StewartRegan: @rangerstaxcase inappropriate to speculate on such matters.

RTC:                    @Stewartregan It would be wrong to speculate on specific clubs, but you can clarify the rules for the people who pay your wage- fans.

RTC:                    @Stewartregan does SFA get copies of player contracts as part of UEFA licensing process?

StewartRegan: @rangerstaxcase there is no point in answering hypothetical questions and I’m certainly not going to speculate on it.

RTC:                    @Stewartregan fair enough Stewart, but I would get ready to answer this for real if I was you.

We now have two ex-Rangers employees: Darrell King and Hugh Adam confirming the existence of these second contracts. The Sun has published a redacted version of a player’s second contract. For the avoidance of doubt, let me assure the SFA and the SPL that there is more to come in this story- much more.

If Messrs. Regan and Doncaster are to salvage their reputations they need to get out in front of the seemingly never-ending series of revelations about flagrant rule breaking and illegality at Rangers FC. Their organisations are implicated in these scandals: inaction and failure to investigate over a period spanning decades undermines confidence in the SFA and the SPL. Many will say that this was part of an institutional bias that favoured Rangers. Others will say that this was more a fear of challenging the mighty David Murray and his expensively procured media lackeys. I am prepared to believe that it was just rank incompetence.

So far, all we have in the way of an inquiry is an investigation by Lord Nimmo-Smith of the Rangers takeover. The parameters of this work have not been made public to my knowledge.  However, its timeline is too short to include any of the accusations about rule breaking before the Craig Whyte era. The odour emanating from Ibrox in recent months would cause any neutral observer to fear foul play. If Regan and Doncaster have not seen and heard enough to suspect that Rangers FC, by far the most successful Scottish club in the last 25 years, has been operated as a corrupt enterprise during that period then they are unfit for their posts. The integrity of football as a fair competition is in their hands. If these questions are not addressed, we lose any reason to continue to spend our time and money on the Scottish game.

Let me help them in case they have been listening to the wrong people: this story is not going away. There is a lot more to come out. They can choose to lead their respective organisations in cutting out the cancer or they can become infected by it.

About rangerstaxcase
I have information on Rangers' tax case, and I will use this blog to provide the details of what Rangers FC have done, why it was illegal, and what the implications for what was (updated) one of the largest football clubs in Britain.

3,164 Responses to Time For Leadership at SFA & SPL

  1. duggie73 says:

  2. k3lly says:

    Paulsatim says:

    A follow up post also from CQN

    James Forrest is The Emperor of Ice Cream on 8 March, 2012 at 02:02 said:

    To cheer everyone up, I can tell you I’ve been reading a mental amount of stuff on this, and it seems to me that there are a number of issues which would need to be resolved before what I suggested could come to pass.

    This whole deal depends on three principal things.

    1) Craig Whyte, and what his intentions are

    2) How much the club Rangers is worth and who has the money

    3) The Ticketus deal … which is the big one

    As the floating charge holder, it is Craig Whyte’s job to decide on whether any agreement is made or not. He holds the cards as the secured creditor. In fact, he holds more cards than he would if he was merely the owner of the club.

    Allow me to explain.

    The owner of a company who faces serious debts can be the victim of a winding up petition if the secured creditor is unhappy. But when the owner IS the secured creditor, he is safe from such a thing.

    What does this mean in layman’s terms? Well, it means that unless Craig Whyte’s claim on the stadium, on the training ground and on the members of the first team squad which he owns is satisfied, he can actually close off all avenues of rescue, until the club collapses like a house of cards.

    My scenario was spooky, wasn’t it? But it only works – it ONLY works – if Whyte, Murray, Ticketus and others can all come to an agreement on the way forward. What we have right now is a bizarre triangular cluster-feck of world class proportions, whereas none of these people trusts the others.

    Ticketus do not trust Craig Whyte, although he claims he’s looking out for them. Paul Murray wants Ticketus and Craig Whyte gone, Neither Ticketus nor Craig Whyte will simply roll over for Paul Murray. Throw Dave King into the equation, along with David Murray and we have a huge mess, a potential three, four or five way battle for control of Rangers.

    How much is Rangers worth? That’s a complex question. I would say they are worth nothing right now, because of floating charges, potential debts, Ticketus income etc. All of that makes the club, as a whole, worthless.

    Yet it’s not quite true, is it? The stadium is owned by Whyte, and he can use it if a football team exists and is willing to pay him rent. Say Rangers name and history and players were bought by someone else. They could play at Ibrox, with Whyte collecting rent. If Murray says no, then where does his version of Rangers play? And what does Whyte do with an empty stadium?

    Who blinks first in that scenario?

    Ibrox could be leased to NewCo Rangers for a reasonable £3 million a year. This would guarentee Whyte a nice income stream for the rest of his life and enable him to live the kind of lifestyle which has eluded him so far. Will he simply walk away from that kind of deal? I think not.

    So, bearing in mind that a buyer might not own the stadium, what would they be buying? How much is it worth? The best way to do it would be buy Whyte out entirely. Put a price on his “floating charge.” Millions. Then you have to think about buying out Ticketus. Millions more, or your whole project is worthless.

    I would suggest a buy-out could cost as much as £30 million … before a single creditor has been satisfied. Before a player is bought. Before infrastructure is improved one iota. No European football for three years means cutting costs drastically.

    Does the consortium have not only that kind of money, but the money to run Rangers at a loss, year on year? If Craig Whyte is still involved, will they be able to sell season tickets, Ticketus or not?

    Will Craig Whyte go voluntarily? Would you? He is one of two things; a guy who believes he was doing right by Rangers, and still is, or he is a crook who went there to bleed them dry. In the first instance, why would he leave now? Why would he not believe that, with his reputation and standing on the line, not to mention his money, that he has a right and responsibility to hang around? He clearly has no love of the people he’s dealing with, like Murray and co, and believes they ran the business into the ground. So would he sell to them? Probably not.

    And if he’s a crook, why would he simply walk away and leave it all behind ,when the big prize is right there in front of him? He won’t.

    Finally is the elephant in the room, Ticketus, not HMRC. With them being owed anywhere up to £50 million in combined sales, they will not walk away either, and that’s where things become tough for people.

    Can Murray repay Ticketus what they are owed? Can he come to a deal with them? At a bare minimum he would need to find £24 million just to get them off the scene without a bloody, brutal court battle ….

    Some of you have mentioned the SFA and the SPL.

    Well, here’s where the Real Fun comes in, and sporting integrity comes to the fore. You might excuse a team which has cheated the tax man, but a team which has with-held documents, cheated other clubs, robbed them of revenue, starved them of success, committed fraud on an industrial scale and basically brought the entire game in this country to the brink of death … is excusing them all of that, and allowing them back into the SPL, really a viable option?

    Do I think they will get away with this?

    They could. All my posts earlier were saying was they could.

    Do I think they will? Christ, Hell, no.

    They are as dead as yesterday’s fish.

  3. stunney says:

    Let us distinguish Rangers FC (Club) and Rangers plc (Company).

    I now view it as almost certain that Company will be liquidated in due course. The interesting bit is that this liquidation will be hastened, not prevented, by attempting a CVA. That’s because the only prospect of a successful CVA lies in selling the business (= Club) to some legal entity unconnected with Craig Whyte and quite distinct from Company.

    How much of the business is going to be sold? Well, at a minimum it has to be capable of providing paying customers with a professional senior football team playing regular games of football in a senior professional league. That will be tricky, because for that you have to deal with the governing bodies, recruit a potential playing squad, and obtain use of a suitable stadium. But meanwhile, Company can try to do the same. So the buyers of Club will try to come to some kind of deal with the Company ahead of time, so that they’re the only Club, and not a competitor to a new, post-CVA Company-run club.

    If, however, the BTC result hits Company with a tax debt which defies a CVA exit, then Company won’t be in a position to field any team anyway, leaving the field clear for Club to do so.

    Company will very likely be wound up. In other words, Rangers plc will be liquidated and die.

    That then leaves another entity, Group, owning the Sizeable Digs, but probably battling for ages in the courts to keep control thereof..

    Still, all this does suggest a Rangers playing at Ibrox is quite possible even if Rangers plc–the Rangers Whyte bought from Murray for a pound—is dead.

    Whether they play in the SPL starting in 2012 is another matter, and depends on how corruptible the governing bodies and the clubs they represent are.

  4. Long Time Lurker says:

    Was in my local Waterstones last night – the “what’s in the media section” caught my eye…

    A collection of rangers books “its rangers fo me?”, “50 year love affair”, proudly on display along side Waterstones finest collection (looked what looked like their entire stock) of tax guides classic texts such as “the daily telegraph tax guide 2011”

  5. majoc says:

    In reply to James Forrest’s point about someone leasing Ibrox for £3m a year,I think he is overlooking a simple point.

    The landlord is responsible for repairs and running costs. £3m will not be sufficient. Ibrox needs major repairs and upgrades.

    For me,it is a non-starter.

  6. Dry As A Dead Dingoes Donger says:

    rangerstaxcase says: 07/03/2012 at 10:54 pm

    Triphammer – A lot of details of who did what and who knew what and when to come out in my book.
    Edited for accuracy RTC. You can send my signed copy to Australia along with the T-shirt stating “RTC is Big Down Under”. LOL

  7. calderon says:

    Brilliant new post from RTC.

  8. SJ says:

    majoc on 08/03/2012 at 6:48 am

    What makes you think the landlord is responsible? Not if it’s a FRI lease.

  9. arabicred says:

    “Credible first team”. Welcome to reality lads, you break the rules and play fast and loose with the finances you pay the price. I still don’t understand why they haven’t just cut the playing staff already, why are Rangers given special treatment? Sadly I think we know the answer to that deep down don’t we?

    What would be so bad about them fielding a youth team for the remainder of the season? You never know they hungry young lads might do better than their so-called ‘high earners’ playing on 25% of their normal salary.

  10. selfassessor says:

    Its all very dramatic. Are we reaching the climax of the plot. One thing’s clear – the game’s a bogey.

  11. Spanishcelt says:

    A question,,, if/ when they are liquidated i assume there has to be a sell off of all assets they still own?
    Will that mean everything in the ibroke trophy room would be sold to highest bidders? Or does whyte own them and all fixtures and fittings along with the stadium?

  12. majoc says:

    SJ says:
    08/03/2012 at 7:29 am
    0 0 Rate This
    majoc on 08/03/2012 at 6:48 am

    What makes you think the landlord is responsible? Not if it’s a FRI lease


    In which case,Newco have to pay it.

    Either way,a non-starter.

  13. How sad in so many ways that Paul McBride is not here. This SPL word-play is exactly the stuff of which he would make a mockery.

    “shall” is an imperative statement. There is no flexibility in the word “shall”.

  14. Frank says:

    I am not so sure that a newco or oldco Rangers will continue to play at Ibrox. Andrew Ellis is a property developer is he not? I can see Archibald Leitch’s lovely facade becoming part of a new housing development just as Highbury did.

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