Doncaster on maintaining a fair league competition


“The tax default and reporting rules are an integral part of maintaining a fair league competition”.
Neil Doncaster, SPFL chief executive, November 2014.

“A fair league competition”. Strong words. I wonder if Mr Doncaster is keen to apply his ethics as evenly when it comes to a team with more than a couple of thousand fans. Don’t bet on it.

I suggested last week you ignore the comments coming out of Hampden about there being little appetite to look into the enormous levels of cheating which we now know went on is our game for over a decade. There is very little appetite from those occupying executive positions at Hampden, but they will not decide what happens.

Ultimate authority at the SFA and SPFL lies with the clubs, and more than just Celtic are alarmed by what went on, and the apparent flippancy show towards it in recent days by those paid to protect the honesty and reputation of our game.

Instincts exist within any organisation to protect itself. We’ve seen this play out in the Church (against their own), the police (against their own), Fifa (against their own), so it should be no surprise that those who worked, and became friends with, some of the architects of Rangers EBT scandal had little appetite to open an investigation.

An SFA or SPFL commission could lead to the disciplining of two-term SFA president, Campbell Ogilvies, or Sir David Murray, men who have made friends in the game for decades.

It would inevitably lead to the examination of the Resolution 12 issue (how Rangers were granted a licence to compete in the Champions League in 2011 when they didn’t meet the criteria). And this one is current enough to involve many still active in their roles.

And then there is the weighty matter of dealing with the consequences of what went on in our sport for all those years.

The demand of an investigation into what went on sounds reasonable but you cannot look into something corrupt without consequences, and that’s where corrupt systems work against fair competition.

Rangers rigged the system, their practises are as clear-cut a case of Financial Doping as you will find. They were playing by different rules, different tax rules and different player registration rules.

They failed to disclose information which should have been disclosed, but could have incriminated them. Unlike Craig Whyte, who was banned from the game for his duplicities, the directors who embarked on this great subversion have never been called to account.

Nor will they unless voices are heard across Scottish football. Don’t lose focus on getting angry (not yet, anyway), right now, we need fans of other clubs to share our concerns and let their voices be heard.  Winning allies is the first part of winning this debate, and that’s easier done by calmly making our point.

11 clubs suffered financial consequences of Rangers Financial Doping. Motherwell lost a minimum of £2.1m from not gaining access to European competition.  How would they feel if they were a cyclist half a mile behind Lance Armstrong in every race?  Would if be OK, as he didn’t get caught?

There’s a Christmas toy collection for Maryhill Foodbank at Wild Cabaret, THIS Saturday, 14 November, from midday to 4:30. Families who don’t have money for food don’t have money for Christmas toys. If you have something you can donate, drop it in. There’s mulled wine and mince pies on the go.

You’ll find Wild Cabaret at 18 Candleriggs (0141 552 6165).

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  1. Dontbrattbakkinanger on

    ‘So, as far as this Club is concerned there is no need for further SPFL consideration of court judgements or appeals. They should be saying it is time for everyone to move on and work together for the greater good of the game. Scottish football has suffered enough’



    -there are not the droids we’re looking for

  2. EXCLUSIVE: Kirk Broadfoot thinks Rangers should be awarded UEFA Cup


    FORMER Rangers defender Kirk Broadfoot believes they should be named 2008 UEFA Cup winners if Zenit St Petersburg are found guilty of match-fixing.


    By Scott Burns



    Kirk Broadfoot thinks Rangers should be named 2008 Uefa cup winners


    Broadfoot played a major role in helping Walter Smith’s side to the final before they fell 2-0 to the big-spending Russians – who were managed by Dick Advocaat.



    Express Sport revealed yesterday that UEFA have launched an investigation into Zenit after their former defender, Erik Hagen – who was at the club from 2005 to 2008 – claimed his team had bribed a referee before a European tie, while also suggesting there had been further dodgy dealings during his time in St Petersburg.



    Broadfoot said: “When you hear these sort of claims from one of their own players, it begins to cast doubt over their achievements.



    If they’ve cheated and are found guilty, they don’t deserve to have their name down in the history books as winners, even if it happened in the previous seasons, because if that was the case then they would have been banned for the 2007-8 UEFA Cup



    Kirk Broadfoot


    “If they’ve cheated and are found guilty, they don’t deserve to have their name down in the history books as winners, even if it happened in the previous seasons, because if that was the case then they would have been banned for the 2007-8 UEFA Cup.



    “It’s not often a Scottish team gets to a European football and, if we’ve been denied by a team that has cheated, that would be hard to take.



    “They are only allegations at this stage. But if they are found guilty and stripped of their UEFA Cup win then surely it should go to us as the runners-up?



    “You’d prefer to win the competition on the pitch but if they’ve cheated then surely we should get the trophy and the medals? But we’ll have to see what happens.”



    If Zenit are found guilty, it won’t be the first time underhand tactics have cost the Gers’ European glory. Marseille won the competition in 1993, but their controversial owner Bernard Tapie was later jailed for match-fixing and bribery.



    Dundee United can also claim to be Euro cheat victims as a former AS Roma director Riccardo Viola has confirmed they paid French referee Michel Vautrot £50,000 ahead of their home clash in the 1984 European Cup semi-finals.



    Roma lost 2-0 at Tannadice but won the return 3-0 before eventually losing out to Liverpool.

  3. Today’s statement from Ibrox really does read like it was written by an amateur. A fans’ rep stepping in to fill a void.



    They’re goosed.

  4. is their breaking news headline on the huns on sky sports ?



    just got txt about it ? probably nothing we don’t know.

  5. Who could lead an independent investigation? No one at Hampden that’s for sure.


    Who could define the punishment?


    They don’t have the haw maws to come out and say they died.


    They can’t even accept that they obtained a sporting advantage.


    They won’t accept that they CHEATED.


    Turkeys will vote to extend the Christmas holiday before the suits accept responsibility.

  6. If Ibrox wants to be welcomed back into the ‘fold’, they MUST apologise and forfeit all prizes ‘won’ during the cheating years.



    A contrite and chastened ‘Rangers’ will be a positive to the top league and no doubt will focus minds at Celtic.



    They cannot just ‘waltz’ back in – that would be ‘rubbing our noses in it’



    In addition the ‘guilty’ and complicit men at the top of the Scottish game, in particular Campbell Ogilvie, must be thrown out.

  7. Paul67,



    Once again the statement from the club whose neck could not be marked with a blowtorch shows their “willingness” to accept responsibilities for their cheating.



    As DBBIA put it, “Move along now folks, nothing to see here!”






    Hearts, Motherwell, Utd and Aberdeen especially to step front and centre on this to ensure justice is done.








  8. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    “There is very little appetite from those occupying executive positions at Hampden, but they will not decide what happens.”




    Correct, Paul.


    Steven EBT Thompson makes these decisions. And he has decided. We can all move on now……

  9. Proudbhoy





    He has been writing his guff for quite a while now. Like yourself I don’t want my Celtic reports sugar coated. After all that is one of the reasons the dead team are in the position they are in but….some of his columns lately have been outrageous.





    Dallas HH fhriend.





    I know that but there are plenty of other journalists ( note not churnalists) who syndicate Gavin MC Cafferty for example. One of the problems is the same person can syndicate using different nom de plumes.





    The Irish News used to send a sports journalist to cover all of the matches. I bumped into him on the boat all of the time. Actually emailed him a copy of the Dallas pope email.



    – See more at:





    I’m going to …but… Want somebody like the AICSC to address it. Hunguffery at its scraping the bottom of the barrel best.



  10. Andrew Kerins Green and White Army on

    Have to agree with most of what kirk boiled egg broadfoot said apart from them getting the trophy obviously


    Cheaters should be stripped of trophies

  11. coolmore mafia on

    Rangers statement; Like a rapist saying ‘the victim has suffered enough; time to move on.’



    The attempts to lead everything up a garden path are well underway. Unfortunately for the dobbers, everyone is now well versed in double speak, propaganda, The media spin is undermined by the presence of Level5. Every story is discredited because of their involvement.



    The usual lies and crap won’t work this time.

  12. Dontbrattbakkinanger on

    ParkheadcumSalford- they surely did.



    You have to admire the sheer brass neck.



    It is reassuring that they have clearly not learned anything , and once again the good ship Dignity is headed for the old rocks; while they whittle the lifeboats down to make cocktail sticks.

  13. The Club that made that statement has no titles to be stripped. That’s the biggest single issue.

  14. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    pheersy on 9th November 2015 12:57 pm



    and while we are at it Give Lance Armstrong all hs TDF titles back




    Ben Johnson too.


    He did win the race “on the track” after all…..

  15. Awe_Naw_No_Annoni_Oan_Anaw_Noo on

    Sport Football Football News Rangers FC


    Keith Jackson: Fan rage over Rangers EBTs is understandable – but now is not the time for the SPFL to go nuclear


    06:00, 9 NOV 2015




    KEITH looks at the latest twist in the tax saga and asks if Rangers have actually breached Scottish Professional Football League rules.



    EMPLOYEE Benefit Trusts. The three little words which have already scarred Scottish football for life and which might yet bring our game back to the brink of implosion.



    The hounds of hell were re-released last week when Hector scored a win at the Court of Session, a ruling which has all the makings of potential game changer in this long running narrative about Rangers and the taxman.



    Suddenly, overnight and out of nowhere, there is an unsubstantiated theory for those who wish to see the Ibrox club stripped of all manner of silverware which was secured during the indomitable nine year period of financial excess. Last week’s twist added little legal substance to their argument.



    In their eyes, it has now been established that Sir David Murray was cheating HMRC throughout that period and so, by extension, Rangers were cheating all of their opponents by signing players who might otherwise have been lured elsewhere. Case closed.



    The great outpouring of anger and resentment which has followed is almost palpable. In many ways it’s also perfectly understandable but mis-directed.



    It is building, after all, among fans who were shelling out to pay into grounds while, more often than not, watching their respective teams come up short. They believe this scheme gave Rangers a sporting advantage and, yes, it is difficult to arrive at any other conclusion even if some of the names on that huge list of EBT recipients include the likes of Nuno Capucho and Tero Penttila.



    Because the truth of the matter is for every Bert Konterman there was also a Mikel Arteta or a Ronald de Boer.



    It is no wonder then that fans of others clubs, and almost solely Celtic’s, are screaming for some form of retrospective justice. It’s perfectly natural in fact and if last week’s flimsy ruling is accepted by all parties as the final decision then there should, at the very least, be a grown-up chit-chat about what should be done. If anything at all.



    For starters, how does Scottish football feel about the use of tax avoidance schemes in general and are or have other schemes been exploited by players or executives at other Scottish clubs?



    It is imperative that no stone is left unturned trying to locate other examples of financial jiggery pokery within the Scottish game before Rangers are again investigated further and we can start immediately with Juninhio



    Morally, the entire issue of the super rich and their tax dodging scams stinks the place out. We have potholes in out roads, patients dying on waiting trollies in our hospitals and schools which can hardly afford textbooks for their pupils.



    Of course these taxes should be paid.



    But are Rangers to be punished purely because the scheme they used wasn’t as sound as those of their rivals?



    Or will those running our game see this as an opportunity to write new rules and apply them across the board?



    Rangers, of course, might not want to be involved in any such conversations.



    What is certain is that Dave King’s regime would be likely to go full nuclear if any attempted grab was made on their trophy room unless there was a few million up for grabs to help bring stability to the Scottish game. King and his men will be incensed at the notion of it but there seems little to be gained from these two sides squaring up to one another or playing to their foaming mouthed galleries.



    Who don´t care about cheating. These are the scumbags of our game. Unable to observe a minutes silence and continually using green and poisonous pyrotechnics-



    In any case, there is no need for war to be declared. A chit-chat over coffee and biscuits is all that is necessary.



    Granted, the last time so many were so aroused at the thought of a stripping was when Jennifer Aniston did a deal with Playboy but, amidst the hysteria, some major complexities have been completely overlooked.



    Perhaps, for example, Rangers might be asking some internal questions of their own and wondering why the club paid Murray International a fee in the region of £500,000 per year for tax advice over that nine year period between 2001 and 1010. In retrospect, that was the most expensive £4.5m they might ever have blown.



    The big question is, should it now cost them their cups into the bargain?



    But before it can be answered, here’s another one. And it might just take the sting out of the whole explosive issue. Is there even a mechanism to make this happen?



    As things stand, it is unclear if there has been a breach of the rulebook which would allow the SPFL to take any kind of action at all.



    For example, last season Livingston were deducted five points for not paying tax. But they were snared on a rule which only came into being after the financial meltdown at Ibrox. In other words, it did not exist during the EBT years and so Rangers cannot be punished for breaching a rule which did not exist at the time.



    In fact they should be given credit a reward possibly for helping to bring these stipulations into our game. Not Punished ! A possible Amnesty for their good work and honesty ?



    When Lord Nimmo Smith was dragged into this debacle he was tasked with judging on the non-declaration of side letters relating to the EBT scheme. He found Rangers guilty and fined them accordingly.



    He also stated that no sporting advantage was gained by the club although his entire reasoning was made on the assumption that the use of EBTs was a perfectly legitimate form of tax avoidance as told to him by the head of the SFA



    That, of course, is now in serious doubt. Again this is a potential game changer.



    But it only comes into play if BDO do not appeal against last week’s decision and take the matter to the Supreme Court. And, with so much at stake for their creditors, that seems highly unlikely. HMRC, being heavily conflicted, could be excluded from any vote and rendered unable to block it.



    Also, there are certain details of huge significance which remain unclear from last week’s ruling and they may also determine BDO’s next move.



    For starters, there has been no clarity given as to the current status and estimated size of the full EBT bill. At the outset of this process that total sat at around the £50m mark but before last week’s ruling it had been scaled down to a far more manageable number. In fact, BDO went into that hearing believing a defeat was likely to carry a liability of between £5m and £10m.



    What remains unclear is whether or not this latest decision supersedes and unwinds the previous judgments which whittled the original figure down. Or if the greatly reduced number still stands.



    This could be a key issue for BDO in determining whether or not to settle up now or to carry on the fight to the final court of appeal.



    They have already recouped more than £26m for the creditors’ pot. With more lawsuits in the pipeline it is entirely possible that, at a conservative estimate, that figure could double in size. In that context, a £5m settlement with the taxman might seem affordable. A £50m loss, on the other hand, wipes them clean out.



    All of this will have to be cleared up before any decision on punishing Rangers can be made by those in charge of running the game.



    Already there are rumours circulating of a number of clubs who are determined to seek retribution. They are being championed online almost as some sort of cabal, pushing SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster into pressing the button.



    But the truth of the matter is, for now at least and probably for some considerable time to come, there is nowhere for the league to run with this matter.

  16. gearroid 1998 of course use the AICSC suggest they write to the paper and tell them they will suggest their members stop buying the paper until you get some balanced reporting or at least right of reply -unedited. Good luck keep up the good fight. H H Hebcelt

  17. I see Celtic managed to get an announcement out slamming fans for poppygate. Funny how they spring into action when its criticising their own supporters but they struggle when dealing with corruption!

  18. GlassTwoThirdsFull on



    Lindsay is a total joke. On Friday he had an article which claimed Ronny said Celtic would find it easier to compete in Europe if “Rangers” were in the top flight of Scottish football.


    Except there was no indication of Ronny mentioning “Rangers”!

  19. Listening to Dan Rowan Sports Editor on BBC news on the cover up on blood samples in Track and Field.


    “The major problem with this is that the very people who were charged with protecting the integrity of the sport, the Governing body, were in actual fact covering this up”


    Mmmmm now where have I heard that before.



  20. Let me see…



    TRIFC put out a laughable, amateurish statement regarding another club’s rule-breaking which unites the blog.



    That’s surely a cue for an anti-Celtic post




    Oh hi there, neganon2! Never saw you there…

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