The events of just one week ago have galvanised many who lurk on this site to make a comment. I concur with their view that the tectonic plates of Scottish football have shifted, but this does not alter my view that The Sitonfence Speakeasy should be partly funded by those who make comments. I requested a contribution of £5, which yields £4.63 after PayPal have taken their commission. I extended the amnesty to include July. However I have only had three takers this week.
It was always my intention to provide free access to the unwaged and disadvantaged. To this end I invite those in invidious circumstances to make a PayPal donation of just £1 with a short note, or even one pence if this £1 is allocated for a meal today. Please specify your user moniker. My discretion is assured.
Today’s piece is my take on what should happen next as a bare minimum. Let’s set aside title stripping momentarily. Let’s look at what is deliverable in the short term. There can be no doubt whatsoever that those central to the Rangers narrative have brought the game into disrepute. One of these individuals, Craig Whyte, withheld social taxes to keep Rangers solvent. He was banned sine die and fined £150,000. Rangers were fined £160,000. These fines have not been recovered. The maximum fine that the SFA can impose on a disrepute charge is £1,000,000.
David Murray, not to put too fine a point on it, kicked the arse out of EBT. Souness and Smith were given EBT bungs for buying Rangers players when both were managers of other clubs. Fifty-five players were issued with dual contracts. Make no mistake; the side letters which looked at remuneration in granular detail were additional contracts. David Murray and his executives hid these dual contracts from HMRC and the SFA. David Murray implemented two illegal tax avoidance schemes and lied to HMRC investigators from 2005 until May 6, 2011 when he disposed of Rangers for the quantum of £1. Six years of lies and obfuscation. Surely a charge of bringing the game into disrepute is a prerequisite to ‘moving on’?
The incorrigible Campbell Ogilvie, who received a £95,000 EBT, was instrumental in establishing EBT and the execution of the illegal DOS/VSS enterprise.There is documentary evidence of Ogilvie liaising with a Jersey based trust, Montreal, on behalf of a player. Despite this he was allowed to lead exculpatory evidence to the LNS sham. Campbell Ogilvie, in engaging in illegal tax avoidance schemes, and not informing HMRC and the SFA about the dual contracts, crossed the line from avoidance to evasion.
However to cap it all he was elected as President of the SFA and he sat on his hands knowing full well that Rangers had issued dual contracts and were in breach of SFA regulations. The cheating and cover up at Rangers were allowed to continue because the president of the governance authority was severely compromised. In not discharging his duties as President of the SFA, in not taking Rangers to task, he brought the game into disrepute. He should be banned sine die and dismissed from his role as a UEFA match delegate.
Then there is career criminal Dave King. This individual has been proven to have acquired a controlling interest in Rangers by illegal means. The Takeover Panel on Mergers & Acquisitions will petition The Court of Session to force King to make an offer for the shares not owned by his concert part. When he fails to do so and is found to be in contempt of court, does it not follow that a charge of bringing the game into disrepute is inevitable?
Then there is King’s acquisition of hacked data which he leaked to destabilise the former regime. Surely a charge of bringing the game into disrepute must follow. What is Stewart Regan waiting for?
Regan himself has brought the game into disrepute by lying to UEFA that Rangers overdue payable of £2.8m had not crystallised. This lie cost Celtic a UEFA Champions League place. Regan subverted the rules to favour Rangers. When are Celtic going to sue Regan and the SFA for a loss of income?
Then there’s Paul Murray and Alastair Johnston who sat on a board where the cheating was known to them. They had a duty to disclose the dual contracts to the SFA and HMRC. They clearly abnegated on their duty to abide by the laws of the land and unequivocally brought the game into disrepute. As did Andrew Dickson and Ali Russell who knew they were cheating. The Nuremberg Defence, that they were just following orders, does not mitigate their guilt.
Then there’s Neil Doncaster who changed the scope of the LNS commission to exclude the illegal DOS/VSS artifice and the putative EBT malfeasance. He relied upon the favourable FTT conclusions to exonerate Rangers from evading tax. These conclusions have been overturned. In subverting the LNS commission he brought the game into disrepute.
Those expecting a quick resolution of these charges should exercise patience. Celtic are liaising with other clubs to build a consensus to demand a thorough review of the corruption at the heart of Scottish football. Club chairmen are in a difficult position. Eight to ten thousand visiting fans of Rangers generate circa £400,000 for each of two games. A boycott, as threatened by King and the worst Club Med group ever, Club 18-72, could bite. However the devil in this deep blue sea scenario are the clubs owned by football trusts who have a duty of care to fans concerns, and box office boycotts should chairmen fail to act. The fans of Aberdeem, Dundee United and Falkirk are spitting blood. If a thorough review is not forthcoming there will be a civil war in Scottish football. Framing a question in a certain way to solicit a predetermined response from an advocate is a cheap trick from a cheap organisation.
If action is not taken on these individuals, don’t be surprised if there is a clarion call to ban the current iteration of Rangers sine die for bringing the game into disrepute since David Murray secured Lawrence Marlborough’s equity with a $1,000,000 bribe.