Celtic have been dragged into a former club’s scandal today by Scotland’s former best-selling daily newspaper, who have completely misrepresented issues surrounding the registration of Juninho.
The newspaper makes the astonishing and completely inaccurate claim that the “SPL have revealed they decided not to investigate Celtic’s EBT payment to Juninho”.
The SPL have investigated Celtic’s EBT payment to Juninho. They found Celtic acted absolutely in line with the rules and this week issued a statement confirming this. To tell people otherwise is recklessly inaccurate.
A front page statement proclaims:
“Hoops in clear because Juninho only received cash AFTER he left the club”
Utter nonsense. It’s a bit like saying:
“Hoops in clear because Juninho’s name begins with the letter J”
A true reflection would read:
“Hoops in clear because they discharged the registration and entire employment process of Juninho in a correct manner and no differently than the way every other SPL club has registered players”
When Juninho “received the cash” has nothing whatsoever to do with Celtic being “in the clear”. It is, frankly, an embarrassing attempt to pander to the paranoia of others and betrays a fundamental lack of knowledge.
The newspaper also dedicated all-but-one column of their back page, and part of an inside page, to the ‘story’ of how Celtic “didn’t end up in the dock”. Compare this to the coverage the same newspaper gave to the actual SPL statement on Juninho, released in an earlier attempt to dampen-down ill-informed paranoia, which received a tiny, 35-word, 1-inch back page note and a single column inside the paper.
Throughout recent weeks a basic misunderstanding of the legality of EBTs appears to have taken root in some minds. It is as though some mass psychological phenomenon is at play. Or maybe it’s just a deliberate attempt to confuse the easily confused?
EBTs are not against football, or specifically, player registration, rules. This is accepted as fact by anyone even vaguely familiar with the rules, yet we have some, who should know better, tell us that Rangers’ EBTs were recorded in their annual accounts, as though this is some defence against player registration charges, or that others should join them ‘in the dock’, because they used an EBT.
The matter in hand is not the use of EBTs, it’s about player registrations. You can pay players in EBTs, folding notes or Dutch tulip bulbs, as long as you register him correctly. And pay your tax.
Player registration rules are categorically clear, clubs must register all contracts with the SFA and SPL. All monies due in relation to football must appear on those contracts. Juninho’s contract was registered correctly.
On this issue, Celtic are exposed to the joint analysis of other 11 SPL clubs and the other 93 SFA clubs (counting both Ibrox based clubs), who control the rules and their scrutiny.
There are limits to what an employer can publicly reveal about a former employee’s personal financial details, but Celtic have revealed all facts concerning Juninho’s employment to the SFA and SPL.
Their conduct was investigated, was found to be absolutely and completely impeccable AND in line with SFA advice on player registration.
All I am wondering about is, should we be happy that those who should be planning for some serious headwinds are instead following a ridiculous wild goose chase?
I think so. That being the case, what are people trying to divert attention from? Hmmm.
Last week I met John Maguire, managing director of Celtic Development Pools. John’s been there for 30 years, the enthusiasm for youth player development is tangible when you listen to him talk. He’s at the coal face, raising money for the enormous youth development project which brings players like James Forrest into the club, and also polished Tony Watt into the exciting talent he is.
The ‘Pools predate my time but today’s fabulous harvest of young talent was made more possible by the Paradise Windfall, which now pays £15,000 each home game and has been the largest lottery in world football for years. Income from the Pools and Paradise Windfall generates around £1.5m each season.
The coaches at Lennoxtown (and most fans) know how important it is for Celtic’s youth scouting and development to be the very best it can be. It has to be world class. For the guys at the Pools office, the challenge is clear, fund this ambition.
To this end, this weekend the Development Pools launch TikPick. For £1 you can win a cash prize for predicting 10 results. It’s not a lot of money and none of it will go towards putting fuel in a £100k motor car. This is a grass-roots level investment in our future. Go take a look here.
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