Prior to the main thrust of this article I take pause to reflect on yesterday’s football results. Hibs win at Ibrox by a one goal margin is analagous to their win by a similar margin at The Sectarian Speakeasy on match day two. They wiped the floor with Lite at Easter Road and had it not been for an ‘honest mistake‘ would have shared the points. This would have been cold comfort for their attractive and expansive play which deserved all three points.
Celtic’s loss to Kilmarnock was unexpected. The disadvantages of losing Boyata and Ajer to injury in the first half could have been counteracted by some inventive play up front. There was no spark. Musonda failed to ignite them. It was probably too much to ask for in his first game.
Aberdeen cut the gap to Celtic to eight points with a commanding 3-0 home win against Hamilton. They also stretched the gap to Lite to six points. Lite’s game in hand at Firhill on Tuesday will be instructive as the superior Hibs are breathing down their necks. Should Lite lose this game their third rate perch will be up for grabs.
The tussle between St.Mirren and Dundee United for the automatic promotion spot could well have been decided when the Buddies stretched the gap to fourteen points on Saturday. The latter have two games in hand but even if they prevailed in both they would still be looking down the barrel of an eight point deficit. Morton’s win against play-off rival Dunfermline puts them in the box seat for one of three berths. They have been in a rich seam of form of late. Long may it continue (I wear my love of this club on my sleeve).
Paul Gascoigne turned up at Ibrox looking like Father Abraham of Smurfs fame, which in the circumstances was uncannily apposite. It must have been a bittersweet moment for Leeann Dempster in the Directors’ box to watch the team she supports go down to her current charges. One hopes that she did not pack her knee-high boots to wade in Fenian blood. Old habits from twenty seasons of sectarianism die hard.
Which seamlessly leads me to my thesis apropos abolishing the SFA. An independent and respected body, the Tax Justice Network, published a 19 page report viz Doing SFA For Fair Play which took the SFA to task.
This report poses the following question:
” Is the SFA an organisation capable of fixing itself and adopting the required standards of transparency, accountability and fairness that fans of Scottish football deserve?”
The report concludes:
” The evidence does strongly suggest that the SFA is unable, if not actively unwilling, to ensure fair play.”
Which begs the question why should one allow it to continue? Why not make strong representation to one’s member club, with the threat of a season ticket boycott, with a view to dissolving this odious organ?
If it cannot ensure fair play it should not govern our game. The Tax Justice Network looked at two instances, both involving former club Rangers, which highlight the systemic failures of this anachronistic organisation.
The first of these is Rangers’ use of employment benefit trusts (EBT). The authors of the report asserted:
“In order for EBT to work as a tax avoidance scheme the payments from the trust needed to be independent of the club. If HMRC could see that Rangers players were being paid to play then they could tax any payments as if the players were being paid directly by the club. To get around this problem, Rangers’ contracts registered with the SFA did not include the EBT payments.”
To compound matters:
” The club issued “side letters” to the players, guaranteeing payment. These letters promised payment but the terms and existence of the agreement was kept out of the players’ contract and away from the eyes of HMRC and the SFA.”
In 2005 the club denied the existence of the side letters to HMRC. By 2007, a dawn raid by City of London Police on an unrelated matter, revealed that the club were lying. By 2009 a ‘visit’ by HMRC to the SFA revealed that the EBT and side letter agreements had not been revealed to the SFA.
The predecessor to EBT, the Discounted Option Scheme/Value Shift Scheme, had been determined to have been an unlawful tax avoidance mechanism on the precedent established by an HMRC test case against Aberdeen Asset Management. Side Letters were also issued. These side letters were also concealed from HMRC and the SFA.
On ‘The Wee Tax Case‘ a HMRC Inspector wrote:
“I have decided to make these assessments as it is my view that the amounts reflected in the assessments arise due to the deliberate failure or fraudulent behaviour of the company.”
At this juncture the police should have been contacted. Wilfully lying to HMRC and making false HMRC returns is punishable by imprisonment. But not in Scotland where the Rangers head of security was a former Police Superintendent who had clambered up the greasy pole with the assistance of his Freemason brothers.
The Failure of the SFA to govern and the failure of Strathclyde Police to uphold and enforce the law is unconscionable.
Strathclyde Police are no longer with us. There was a recognised need to reform. The SFA, which is incapable of reform should be abolished.
One man is singled out in the Tax Justice Network report. Campbell Ogilvie, a liar’s liar, stated in person to the LNS enquiry:
“Nothing to do with the contributions being made to the Trust fell within the scope my remit at Rangers.”
Ogilvie claimed that his first contact with EBT was his severance payment of £95,000. Which leads to the scope of the LNS commission which excluded DOS/VSS from its considerations. Was this due to the unseen hand of Stewart Regan to conceal the fact that the President of the SFA executed a payment to Craig Moore via The Montreal Trust? I published this letter. It was seen by my readers. It was not seen by the LNS commission as the timeline of the commission was changed.
Regan, Ogilvie and Doncaster subverted the LNS enquiry. Regan should have been dismissed for this imbroglio of deception. Ogilvie should not be a UEFA match day delegate. Doncaster’s time will come.
When it was revealed that the substantive part of 55 Rangers players’ salaries had not been registered with the SFA, this odious organ sent in the clowns in the shape of Sandy Bryson who declared that:
‘the players were imperfectly registered but eligible.’
I rest my case. This organisation is incapable of reform. They sacked Gordon Strachan, with a conspicuous absence of succession planning, leaving the National Team rudderless. They have failed to qualify for the finals of any tournament for 20 years. Their Scottish Cup draws, covered live, descend into farce when the frozen balls break open.
This organisation is unfit for purpose. It must be subsumed into the SPFL.
The SFA have lost more than Regan and their sponsor. They have lost the plot.