Regan and SFA deserve credit

Since Stewart Regan’s letter to the 93 SFA member clubs was uncovered by STV yesterday evening I’ve read what feels to me like unfounded concern at the news.  Regan asked clubs to declare “any written agreement(s) falling within the scope of Article 12.3 which has/have not previously been lodged with the Scottish FA in the previous ten years, in respect of any current or former players of your club.”

The most pleasing point is that the letter was dated 9 March.   A look at the chronology of events is perhaps useful.

Rangers troubles with HMRC have been public knowledge since 2010 but it was only on 22 February this year that questions were first raised (here, of course) as to whether the club registered the Employee Benefit Trust (EBT) payments with the SFA.  Everyone knew Rangers players had EBTs, we knew HMRC were contesting that these should be taxed, but there was no reason to believe Rangers did not to declare them to the SFA (unless you count the “sniff test” on Sir David…).

The EBTs were noted in Rangers audited accounts so it appears clear that Rangers at least notionally believed they were both legal (which they were) and legally executed (which we will soon find out).  When we took a shot in the dark on 22 February and posed the registration question, there was no reason to assume the SFA board had even considered the issue.  I’m sure they hadn’t and like the rest of us, were caught cold by the question.

Earlier that day the SFA announced an inquiry into Rangers headed by Lord Nimmo Smith.  His report was considered by the board on 8 March, when they presumably decided to send letters out to the member clubs the next day.  In short, this issue has been active at the SFA every day since it was first raised.

Had we known this at the time I suspect our view of the (apparent) SFA inactivity would have been different.  Maybe a PR lesson there.

Several friends and one brother have suggested that Stewart Regan’s letter is a prelude to an amnesty.  I doubt this.  The SFA chief exec does not have the authority to offer an amnesty and in his letter Regan says, “the Scottish FA reserves the right to refer any Club to the Compliance Officer, which might result in proceedings before the Judicial Panel”.

The letter is an attempt to establish if the problem is prevalent in one, or more than one club, a perfectly reasonable step at this stage. I’m guessing around 90 clubs will be able to respond within minutes.

As a result of this letter, the phoney war is over.  Comments like “there were no double contracts” can no longer be reported as though they have some validity to questions over unregistered payments to players.  Even those reporting from the back of the class will now have to recognise the validity of the questions we have been asking for weeks.

More on the nature of these questions later, specifically, is it cheating?

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846 thoughts on "Regan and SFA deserve credit"

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  • Clink\o/ by appointment to Mr Custards Jelly And Ice Cream Emporium

    Ohits@12.32
    Brilliant
    Thats getting forwarded

  • TheOriginalSadiesBhoy

    kitalba on 21 March, 2012 at 12:26 said:

    How dare you call MAyHEm a nutter! :-)

  • RaRaRasputin

    Paul,

    I would expect a good governing body to be slow, meticulous, thorough and un-showy. I’m therefore prepared to give them a bit of leeway as regards making rapid public pronouncements on things. So long as the net is cast far and wide and the results are dealt with dilligently and in compliance with the rules I will be happy. The last thing we need is for the SFA to rush and make a mess of investigations.

  • proudbhoy

    Sorry but what is all this about ebt, juninho etc what are we being accused of ? Or have the sfa said 3. Teams are being investigated about something …. Quick answer will do please. Have read posts but unsure. Can I still keep my jelly an ice cream ?

  • LiviBhoy

    The Onlooker on 21 March, 2012 at 13:12 said:

    I suspect that BQ knew Rangers were doing it and had done it for years and Celtic knew it was an incorrect method. It’s been a long process for this to come to a head and Celtic have been very patient. It would have been easy to just throw money at the team. Celtic have prepared for this moment on and off the park for a long time and will not let this moment pass without ultimate punishment.
    There was/has been no reason to make any statement or move in the courts as yet because Rangers and the SFA have shot themselves in the foot since last season.
    If and when the moment comes for Celtic to make a move they will be ready. I reckon they have been preparing since MON left the club. The sums spent by Dick the Dutchman were not sustainable or even possible and Celtic knew it. The club have played this well and if the SFA/SPL do not strip Rangers for tainted titles I will expect Celtic to take them to court.
    Did Celtic sign Juninho and make a point that this was illegal/immoral? Looks like this has been done to show example and may well be an admission of innocence from Celtic. It may well be the most important move Brian Quinn ever made at Celtic.
    We are nowhere near the end of this and I suspect that once the truth is ready to break Rangers will liquidate themselves to save further embarrassment. They will then try to launch as a Newco and use the press to convince everyone it’s the same club with the original name (slightly changed) and all trophies won are still relevant to the Newco.
    The Celtic board deserve huge credit throughout the last ten years. We may not have spent cash but we have ensured that the club is on an even keel and in a position to continue for years to come.

    LB

  • Kojo

    Sir Paul

    JIst a Thought………………..

    As ye know Ah am Nae Stranger tae Turnin a Buck..or .. a Pound…or a Euro.

    That Being said..

    Ah believe Ah kin Speak wi some authority, regarding..the Manly Art o’… Buying a Business.

    And if there is wan thing A hiv Loined in daeing Whit Ah Dae..and Dae,Dae… sae weel.. is, this.

    Pey attenshun,kiddo. Tak note.

    “Never,but Never, have a PARTNER… in entering intae . ANY TYPE O’ BUSINESS VENTURE!”

    fur..

    It Jist Disnae. WOIK oot !

    Heck.. Marriage, is a Great Example o’ .. trying tae Get . Even .. TWO people tae Pull the Same Oar.

    and.. in the States..anyway. the odds in THAT kinda.. partnership Woiking oot..is.. Almost. Even Stevens..

    No Very guid Odds.

    Right?

    So when Ah read that The G.A . is being ..
    BOMBARDED wi’ a Goodly Number o’ offers tae Be Bought.. NO… by a Weel Heeled.. INDIVIDUAL.. but .. by
    Consortia(Yer auld Latin Teacher,wull be Proud..ed)( Ah Know ..Oh.. Ah Know!) or… tae use Ma Ain Favourite woid tae Describe a Mob o’ Crafty Custards… SYNDICATES..
    Then . Ah say tae Ma Favourite gal.. as Ah take in this Scene..

    “Here we go Agin. Virginia!!”

    Which, if the winning Bidder.. is a Consortium… wull no doot be a Truism.

    The way things are Lurching..doon Edmiston Drive Wey.
    Fae Pillar tae Post.. Like a Possessed.. Pin Ball Machine..
    getting Naewhere.. Fast..

    Ah could Smile..

    But, Ah wullnae..

    Ah wid rather..

    Laugh!!

    Kojo
    Still.. Laughin’ like Hades.

  • ASonOfDan

    Celtic have always declared their payments. Who is to say the likes of Dundee & hearts have with their respective South Americans and Lithuanians.

  • Professor Green

    Lads anybody know any Celtic friendly pubs showing the game on Sunday in Edinburgh?

  • Dick Byrne

    I would imagine that the SFA are hoping their letter will go some way towards mollifying UEFA.

  • Neil canamalar Lennon hunskelper extrordinaire

    I expect their letter will show the extent of their ineptitude and incompetence

  • TootingTim

    proudbhoy

    stick with current menu.

    Someone was asking why the concerted scramble to flog flags and Milan tickets etc when the big picture remains uber-gloomy…surely it’s a case of ‘Who pays the ferryman?’. Gotta get to Hades somehow…

  • Auld Neil Lennon heid

    67Heaven … I am Neil Lennon..!!..Truth and Justice will always prevail on 21 March, 2012 at 13:00 said:

    An earlier post mentioned that the HMRC result will be about Easter……. I think it will be shortly after the end of the tax year, to ensure the new rule can apply……..newcos will then be liable for the tax debts of the oldco
    =====================================================
    NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO.

    This myth is like a deep rooted weed, no matter how many “nos” are sprinkled on it, it keeps reappearing.

    The old debts do NOT get moved over. The legislation as I undrstand what it does do is that phoenix companies with VAT or PAYE/NI avoidance records have to put down a bond before they can trade. I think it applied only to VAT but now is extended to PAYE/NI. Regardless, what it does not do is make Newco responsible for oldcos unpaid tax.

    No no no no no (for luck ;) )

  • RaRaRasputin

    Chris McLaughlin of the BBC, along with various other commentators, and indeed some posters of CQN, have stated that they do not believe that Rangers apparent use of inelligible players will be met with a retrospective 3-0 forfeit of matches. The reasons supporting this position haven’t been provided, but I think the Contador saga with CAS is a useful parallel to use to consider the avenues open to ensure the rules are fairly applied. To recap:

    - Alberto Contador was found to have a small quantity of the banned Clenbuterol in his system during the 2010 Tour de France. The dosage wasn’t consistent with intentional doping, but a banned substance is a banned substance and so the authorities investigated.
    - Contador, unable to explain the source of the Clenbuterol in his system, mounted the defence that it was from contaminated meat (Clenbuterol-contaminated beef is not uncommon in some geographies).
    - Unfortunately for Alberto, he wasn’t able to prove the source of the contamination, i.e. find and demonstrate that the supply of his beef had contaminated with Clenbuterol.
    - Taking the above into account, the Spanish cycling authorities handed down a judgement that said, “the Clenbuterol clearly wasn’t the result of intentional doping, but we can’t verify the exact source and Clenbuterol isn’t allowed in any quantities so you are getting a 1 year ban”. The standard ban for this sort of breach is 2 years.
    - Contador wasn’t happy that his name would be tarred in this manner as he had not doped and appealed the judgement.
    - The cycling authorities (in Spain) changed their minds and said basically “Ok, we know you didn’t dope. No ban.”
    - The international cycling union (UCI) were not happy with this and appealed to the CAS. After a lengthy case with lots of talking from lots of expensive lawyers, the CAS returned their judgement. Paraphrased, it went something like this – “The balance of probability is that Contador did not intentionally dope. The balance of probabiliy is that the Clenbuterol came from a contaminated meat source. However, Contador cannot demonstrate with certainty the source of the contaminated meat, and it is his responsibility to ensure he does not consum contaminated meat. Therefore the standard UCI rule of a 2 year ban should apply”.

    The point here is that the CAS more or less agreed with Contador’s position, but still decided that the full UCI sanction should be applied in full. If the Rangers/SFA case ever gets this far, I think we can expect more of the same, i.e. Players were not properly registered. These players were fielded in matches. These matches are forfeit 3-0. No emotion. No consideration of Rangers unique place in the game. No thoughts for the “damage to Scottish football”.

    I’d love to hear why Chris McLaughlin disagrees with this view.

  • philvisreturns

    Professor Green – I don’t think Edinburgh is a very friendly place.

    For example, they shoot a gun from the castle every day at 1pm.

    Mind you, if it was Glasgow, the locals would fire back.

    Edinburgh looks nice on postcards, but the natives speak a weird form of gibberish interspersed with “ken” and “gash, like!”. Sometimes I wonder if Edinburgh is even a proper English city.

    It’s all junkies, Jambos and Miss Jean Brodie in Edinburgh.

    Glasgow’s miles better. (thumbsup)

  • Paddysmarket

    guys sorry to go off track but Milliband is ripping
    Osborne and Clegg to pieces after budget announcements

  • Kayal33

    Paddysmarket on 21 March, 2012 at 13:49 said:
    shouldn’t be hard, the Duff & Duffer of british politics

  • succulence

    Perhaps a daft question. Perhaps a question no one knows the answer to yet.. but… are there any guestimates for the date of the home game against rangers?

    A guesstimate at this time would do as I could “pencil-in” time off just to give the guys in the office an idea of who is where and when etc…

  • neveralone

    Off topic…

    Has Ed Miliband ever been as good before?!?!?

  • Kayal33

    succulence on 21 March, 2012 at 13:54 said:

    Assuming we win league before split, i’d imagine it will be the first game post split, April 21/22 i think.
    Won’t find out for definite until last game before split, April 8th.

  • leftclicktic

    BRTH
    Thank you again for link to donate by text,A great way to help a wee lassie.
    Yes you can donate by texting CURE50 £x to 70070

    http://www.justgiving.com/NiamhsNextStep

    two pages of donations by Celtic fans so far.

    Thanks Very much to all. If you do donate make sure you mention CQN or Celtic so that the family know just who the greatest team on the planet are!

    Cheers

    Brogan

  • Kojo

    My dear,dear,dear,friend.. Auld Heid

    Hiya, mon Vieux??

    Ah think…

    The I.R.S. wull.. decide that they hiv tried and tried.. but,
    they hiv Failed tae Reach a Verdict..oan the G.A. Tax Case.

    And
    They wull hiv tae gie the matter further study.

    Expect , anither.. long delay.

    Ah jist hiv that Feeling.. Ah cannot Explain it.

    Kojo
    yer pal…who likes ye aloater.

  • WGS

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ra12L1Bl0Z4&feature=related

    GOT TO BE PLAYED WHEN WE LIFT THE TROPHY. ULTIMATE GIRUY TO MURRAY, SOUNESS, SMITH AND THEIR FANS.

  • Bobby Evans Superstar

    succulence on 21 March, 2012 at 13:54

    I think Wednesday 2nd May is most probable date for TFOD game – only mid week date scheduled & the Polis prefer a mid week date for this fixture.

  • succulence

    Kayal33 on 21 March, 2012 at 13:55 said:

    cheers Kayal33. That’ll do for the time being something to plan with but something which can be changed later.

    Of course, they’ll be in the bottom half of the table by then once their player registrations have been sorted by the SFA, SPL, Uefa, FIFA and Channel 4.

  • Bobby Evans Superstar

    neveralone on 21 March, 2012 at 13:55 said:
    Has Ed Miliband ever been as good before?!?!?

    Has Milliband ever been good?

  • Agent Craig “Green and” Whyte!!

    Having just watched the budget.
    I demand CQN do everything in its power to get Spitting Image back on our screens.
    Over to you Paul.

  • philvisreturns

    Paddysmarket – Milliband is ripping
    Osborne and Clegg to pieces after budget announcements

    Srsly?

    Being ripped to pieces by poor Ed must be like being bullied by Adrian Mole (aged 13 and a half). (thumbsup)

  • Auld Neil Lennon heid

    LiviBhoy on 21 March, 2012 at 13:24 said:

    The Onlooker on 21 March, 2012 at 13:12 said:

    I was having a debate on the Juhinho ebt on KDS and reached a similar conclusion in that what we did with Juhinho is to Celtic’s credit but more important contrasts completely with what when on at Rangers.

    Since the Juhinho case is well in the public domain it is reasonable to assume that the SFA and Celtic have all the correspondence on the matter. Whether it says directly why Celtic wanted to change his contract to standard or not, and you would imagine it would with reasons, then that should have acted as a warning alarm to both the SFA and Rangers.

    The SFA knew from public accounts that Rangers were using EBTS, Rangers knew they were using them but in comes correspondence/regisration change from Celtic that says or infers the EBTs are dodgy. You would think somebody at the SFA or Rangers would have asked questions.

    This could be an important point that would undermine the current “we didnae know” defense of CO and SDM. A line they are now taking having been flushed into the open.

    Surely if their biggest rivals, with a Chairman of Brian Quinn’s standing was saying EBTS were wrong, Rangers and the SFA were required to look into the matter and ask questions of each other in 2005?

    The other point this brings out is the diffrence in attitude’s towards corporate governance. One club sees rules as something to be followed, the other sees them as something to be manipulated or avoided according to their own needs.

    I think the problem is the apparent contrast in how both sides think and how that defines how we both behave and ultimately who we both are as identifiable groups. It is like trying to explain to someone who has never seen a strawberry what it tastes like. No matter how many strawberries you have tasted the other person cannot understand the taste experience until he tries tasting a strawberry.

  • voguepunter

    philvisreturns on 21 March, 2012 at 13:48 said:

    I agree,spent one night(one night) in Edinburgh last
    year ,felt I was in foreign.
    Thumbsup.

  • philvisreturns

    Agent Craig “Green and” Whyte!! – Spitting Image is one of those shows like “Minder” or “The Crystal Maze” that seems better in the warm fuzzy glow of nostalgia than it actually was at the time.

    I think they should bring back “Woof!” (thumbsup)

  • philvisreturns

    voguepunter – I agree,spent one night(one night) in Edinburgh last
    year ,felt I was in foreign.

    I think we should be tough on Edinburgh and tough on the causes of Edinburgh.

    The Scottish Parliament should enact a Radge Tax, so as to decrease the surplus Edinburgherer population. (thumbsup)

  • TootingTim

    Auldheid

    Grasping the nettle for the first time is maybe also a unique experience in the manner of the taste of a strawberry!

  • Lennon n Mc….Mjallby

    Auldheid

    Yep,totally agree,good elaboration on the central point.

    Hail Hail

  • 67Heaven … I am Neil Lennon..!!..Truth and Justice will always prevail

    Livibhoy….13.24
    ABSOLUTELY SPOT ON……… and that is why I accepted being called a ‘happy clapper’………. I have always been convinced that our Board were ensuring we didn’t cheat / spend money we didn’t have ……they have played a binder here and ‘their day has come’ …….they knew the authorities would inevitably catch up with rfc………what I am wondering ALSO is when will someone ask questions about the circa £80m of ranker’s debt still sitting in MIH ‘books’

  • Celtic_First

    RaRaRasputin at 13:45

    Super post. Chapeau.

  • Alasdair MacLean

    I like Edinburgh.

  • Bobby Evans Superstar

    Auld Neil Lennon heid on 21 March, 2012 at 14:03

    Very good point. If Celtic indicated that EBT’s were ‘inappropriate’ in 2005, that information must have been available to other member teams & the SFA at that time – unless they chose to ignore it.

  • neveralone

    Bobby Evans…

    Quite!

  • 67Heaven … I am Neil Lennon..!!..Truth and Justice will always prevail

    Auld heidi…….13.34 ……Understood…….normally, I would say “How do you know” ………but, as ever, you are the guru of all……..and pleased that you have clarified what I had previously read on CQN ……… Pity, though…..!!!!!

    So they will have to go into liquidation if the FTT rule against them …….!!!!!!!!

  • excathedra44

    The Chancellor says tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance are “morally repugnant”.

    Lets hear it for Gideon.

  • leftclicktic

    Joe Filippis Haircut
    info@snp.org
    HAIL HAIL

  • ohits

    Edinburghs alright , its that Dingwall that we will visit next year thats a S**t hole.

  • the long wait is over

    Paul67

    “is it cheating?”

    In answering that one the first queston has to be – Why two contracts or a contract and a back letter or a contract and a “side agreement” , in other words why not just one complete ,transparent contract.

    Obvious I know but sometimes the most obvious question – why approach the issue of a contract in that way AT ALL ? – gets overlooked.

    The answer , of course, is that the parties dont want someone to see anything other than the headline contract for reasons which are beneficial to one or both contracting parties. Again pretty simple.

    Given that the only people other than the parties who have a justifiable interest in footballers contracts are the football authorities and HMRC , logically , the second documentation has to contain something that the parties want either one or both of those organisations not to see. Again pretty simple.

    With Rangers , given that their position for the Big TC has to be that the payments under the secondary documentation were not contractual but discretionary it is logical for them NOT to be registered with the SFA . Registration with the SFA would have been suicidal for the tax case.

    And heres my worry – if as expected the lose the big TC on the basis that the payments were not , legally, discretionary Rangers will argue to the SFA that their intention all along was that the payments were not contractual but discretionary and that its taken judicial examination at an appellate level for that to be proved incorrect.

    They will argue that that doesnt ,however, alter the fact that the intention was not to create a second contract and therefore they , in good faith , believed they were not disclosable to the SFA.

    The matter then turns on interpretation of the SFA rules – is it a breach of the rules if you can establish to the satisfaction of the SFA – and lets face it it’s unlikely that there will be any real probing as to the Rangers director’s good faith in this – that you believed the payments were non contractual , not taxable and not football related?

    I fear that Rangers will argue that and will do so successfully. Rightly or wrongly thats what I believe will happen.

    Ive said before on here that I feared that ultimately we will be disappointed at the sanctions for Rangers. Despite the growing storm I fear that still.

    TLWIO

  • Alasdair MacLean

    As long as we don’t have to go to Renfrew…….
    Hehe

  • ohits

    I thought that might flush you out!

    Hows it going are you over there at the moment?

  • Celtic_First

    Morally repugnant, is it?

    Rangers think it’s a lifestyle choice, according to Alex Thomson.

    They think all this fuss should just go away now and that, yes, it would have been better if they hadn’t got themselves into this unholy mess, but better still if they had been allowed to carry on cheating and lying and never been caught.

    They think that what’s really morally repugnant is anyone having a wee laugh at their expense. That’s really, really, really bad.

  • Alasdair MacLean

    Maybe one more trip in the south. Then….?

  • philvisreturns

    Alasdair MacLean – I like Edinburgh.

    Alasdair, that’s like admitting to decorating your home with pewter dragon figurines and being into Wicca. (thumbsup)

  • ohits

    Just heard today Ij suds is coming on the offshore phase of this one.

    What about Rons job?

  • Alasdair MacLean

    Aye, I’m home a week today. Passing time at the moment, (as I type), waiting for some decisions to be made. Drop me a line with a number and I’ll give you a call.

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