As newco chief executive, Derek Llambias reported to his AGM yesterday, he meets the SFA today to discuss further involvement of Newcastle United owner, Mike Ashley at his club. Ashley is nearing the end of a power-struggle between his faction, which appears to include the Easdale brothers, and pretty-much everyone else who goes to Ibrox, as well as Dave King and other worthies noticeable by their absence when the assets of oldco were to be paid for.
One of this morning’s newspapers appears to suggest SFA board member Peter Lawwell may retire from this meeting on account of him apparently having a conflict of interest, however, I believe this would be extraordinarily unlikely. Peter is no more or less incentive to see business being conducted appropriately than anyone else.
That’s not to say there’s not a conflict of interest. SFA president, Campbell Ogilvie, will also attend the meeting. Ogilvie passed his Rangers shares to his wife when he became an executive director of Hearts. SFA Articles of Association expressly forbids a person from having an influence with one club while “directly or indirectly” being a shareholder in another without the prior written consent of the SFA.
Mr Ogilvie may have attained prior written consent of the SFA on this subject before accepting the Hearts job, but if he did, I don’t see the need to transfer his shares to a family member. This makes Ogilvie look like a tawdry ducker and diver, wholly inappropriate to lead the Association. If I was Llambias I’d challenge Ogilvie the first moment he opened his mouth.
As I said earlier in the week, don’t get too hung up on Ashley’s shareholding. If it proves a stumbling block he could play The Offshore Game and quickly disinvest to an entity based in the British Virgin Islands (seems to be the hot location for these types), the control of which could never be traced to him.
Those hoping the SFA will inhibit Ashley’s land-grab of retail and other rights are also likely to be disappointed. JJB and Wigan Athletic owner Dave Whelan established precedent that he was able to conclude extensive trading contract with other clubs while in charge of Wigan without compromising multi-ownership principles. Ashley can own and exploit all commercial rights of newco.
The key point Ashley will be concerned about in SFA rules is article 13. (3), which forbids persons from having “any power whatsoever to influence the management or administration of another club”.
The rules permit the SFA to grant Ashley permission to increase his shareholding but the phrase “any power whatsoever” is patently clear. Ashley cannot appoint board members or offer loan players.
The Dear Green Place
Yesterday’s uncertainty alarmed many in Glasgow but the reality of the news brought disaster to some. May God help each of them.
There’s always a spring in the step when news of our pal Kano arrives. That changed when I opened the email from Carolyn yesterday to hear Martin was in Intensive Care. We know through his time on the blog that Kano brought vigour and resolve to his life years before his illness struck. If anyone can overcome this, it’s him.