Guilty but controversial SFA evidence stops title stripping


The SPL Commission today ruled that Rangers EBT payments in connection with side-letters should have been disclosed to the SPL and SFA as financial entitlements, that senior management of Rangers (in liquidation) decided these side-letters should not be disclosed to the football authorities, and that the old board of Rangers made such payments without taking legal or accountancy advice.

This is the result we expected, Rangers (now in liquidation) were guilty of invalidly registering players for a period of 11 years, but it was not the outcome expected.  The Commission decided against imposing sporting sanctions, based on the evidence of Alexander Bryson, Head of Registrations at the SFA.

His evidence stated that “once a player had been registered with the SFA, he remained registered unless and until his registration was revoked. Accordingly, even if there had been a breach of the SFA registration procedures, such as a breach of SFA Article 12.3, the registration of a player was not treated as being invalid from the outset, and stood unless and until it was revoked”.

So Rangers failed to properly register players, withheld information which allowed this to be discovered, but as the information was not discovered, the Mr Bryson regards the registrations to be valid.  With this evidence from the SFA, the Commission were unlikely to come to any other conclusion.

Mr Bryson’s evidence directly contradicts Uefa’s ruling from 2011 in relation to Sion, who registered players with the Swiss FA.  The Swiss FA and Uefa subsequently ruled that these registrations were made incorrectly, and that registrations were invalid from when they were submitted, not when they were discovered.

The Commission can only rule on evidence before it and the entire outcome turns on Mr Bryson’s evidence.  Mr Bryson’s evidence is also inconsistent with all previous SFA player registration errors, but led to the Commission delivering the outcome the Armageddon-merchants wanted.

We did not get the punishment some of us hoped for, but the verdict established that for 11 years Rangers were playing to a different set of rules than the rest of us.

While some disputable SFA evidence was crucial in protecting Rangers from most harm, the Commission left no doubt about the Association’s president’s responsibility.

“Mr Ogilvie dealt with all aspects of football administration at Rangers until late 2002 or early 2003”, and “assumed that these (payments) were made in respect of the players’ playing football”.

“…it should be noted that Mr Ogilvie was a member of the board of directors who approved the statutory accounts of Oldco which disclosed very substantial payments made under EBT arrangements”.
“There is insufficient evidence before us to enable us to draw any conclusion as to exactly how the senior management of Oldco came to the conclusion that the EBT arrangements did not require to be disclosed to the SPL or the SFA. In our view, the apparent assumption both that the side-letter

arrangements were entirely discretionary, and that they did not form part of any player’s contractual entitlement, was seriously misconceived.”

“There is no evidence that the Board of Directors of Oldco took any steps to obtain proper external legal or accountancy advice to the Board as to the risks inherent in agreeing to pay players through the EBT arrangements without disclosure to the football authorities.

“The directors of Oldco must bear a heavy responsibility for this. While there is no question of dishonesty, individual or corporate, we nevertheless take the view that the nondisclosure must be regarded as deliberate, in the sense that a decision was taken that the side-letters need not be or should not be disclosed.

“No steps were taken to check, even on a hypothetical basis, the validity of that assumption with the SPL or the SFA.”

“It is the board of directors of Oldco as a company, as distinct from the football management or players of Rangers FC as a club, which appears to us to bear the responsibility for the breaches of the relevant rules.”

Mr Ogilvie, “the board of directors of Oldco (that’s you).. appears to us to bear the responsibility for the breaches of the relevant rules.”

Consider your position.

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  1. Just too much to swallow. So glad I don’t live in Scotland any more, I don’t need to face anyone here who gives two hoots about it.

  2. Steinreignedsupreme on

    Paul 67 –



    Like a few others on here I’m not surprised at the result – ‘Guilty’ with a slap on the wrists.



    It really was unlikely to be any other way. The Rangers group of clubs have always been given a helping hand by the jokers charged with running Scottish Football, and they always will be.



    That just makes all the paranoia about Peter Lawwell running Scottish Football all the funnier.



    I am genuinely puzzled as to why Celtic supporters would decide to walk away from the game today though – as this verdict is further confirmation of what we have known for years.



    Celtic’s achievements are priceless given the environment we play in. That’s why I celebrate every success like it is a Champions League Final. I took the decision not to attend games away from Celtic Park or in domestic cup competitions years ago. But I will not punish my club.



    So it’s business as usual for me. But Celtic should take any opportunity to get out of Scottish ‘competition’ should the opportunity arise.



    I’m even more baffled as to why people would stop posting on a blog because of today’s decision.

  3. Paul67



    A deal was done with the SFA to protect rangers.



    The sooner the SFA is scrapped the better.



    As I have been saying all day, someone put Spartans in touch with a good lawyer.

  4. I will not be satisfied with the mere prize of a Campbell Ogilvie resignation.



    He will walk away with a smirk and with his reputation as a Highly Able Administrator restored. Who else could have steered Rangers/Sevco through this Fakeover period and got away with a £250k fine that will never be paid?



    He would be welcomed back to Ibrox as a hero.

  5. 16 roads - Neil Lennon walks on water. on

    Ah well,it should be good fun exterminating the Sevco zombie club anyway.



    I can’t see anything else in their future apart from further misery.

  6. Philbhoy - It's just the beginning! on




    I think he has considered his position before and believes his work at the huns and the sfa is beyond reproach.



    He’s not going anywhere soon, oh unless he gets offered a better job at UEFA.



    Very, very disappointed by today’s verdict, although not surprised.



    Move along Timmy……………..

  7. Ellboy - I am Neil Lennon, YNWA. on

    danso_1888 13:53



    Sounds entirely plausible :)



    Paul, in your opinion how should Celtic respond?

  8. Steinreignedsupreme,



    with due respect there is a difference in thinking you have been cheated and being officially told you are.

  9. asonofdan



    14:00 on


    28 February, 2013



    Someone put Lance Armstrong in touch with the SFA!

  10. Ellboy - I am Neil Lennon, YNWA. on

    “Mr Ogilvie, “the board of directors of Oldco (that’s you).. appears to us to bear the responsibility for the breaches of the relevant rules.”



    Consider your position.”



    A job well done!!

  11. So let me get this right , what the SFA rules say is that if you were to murder someone you would not be guilty is the eyes of the SFA until evidence came to light to show that. The murder only really ocurred when the evidence appeared.

  12. Snake Plissken


    13:51 on


    28 February, 2013



    From previous thread.



    Excellent post Snake, Why walk away from supporting Celtic when the club needs us more than ever, i won’t be walking away, i love celtic too much for that.



    Anybody got one spare ticket for Saturday?



    Hail Hail !!




  13. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    We are rebuilding this Club and are making great strides.



    Last time we got beat from Stirling Albion. This time we got a draw.

  14. corkcelt




    14:01 on 28 February, 2013




    First of all let me say I’m disgusted but not shocked. Prior to today I had mixed feelings about Celtic quitting Scottish Soccer, now I have no such qualms. I want Celtic out of this cesspit regardless of the consequences. I simply can’t stop following Celtic you might as well ask me to stop breathing. The first immigrants were treated badly and discriminated against, its still happening friends and the revisionists want us to be ashamed of celebrating our heritage. I’ll continue to follow Celtic and to celebrate and keep alive our heritage as long as I live, hopefully in a League outwith Scotland. A very simple Statement is required from our Board, no protest, no rancour, the Statement should simply state ” It is the ambition of Celtic Fc. to join a League outwith of Scotland at the earliest feasible opportunity

  15. Institutionally dysfunctional. Institutionally corrupt. Welcome to the Scottish Football Association.

  16. Paul67,



    So Mr Bryson is/was the all-important witness then?



    Is he in effect saying that the onus of proof as to the validity of all player registrations is with the SFA? And even if they do somehow discover there is impropriety in the registration (especially when vital information pertinent to the registration is deliberately witheld from the SFA) there is no guarantee that said registration will be revoked?



    As for Mr Ogilvie, the man has no shame or sense of integrity/fair play.


    He will never IMO admit to any wrongdoing and will never resign. As he does not believe he did anything wrong and never will.






  17. Nuclear Bovril and a Half Munched Pie on

    I expect Ogilvie to make a dignified and discrete exit to a plush new chair at UEFA where he can carry on administrating errors.

  18. corkcelt @14:05 “a League outwith Scotland.”






    Celtic are a Scottish club. Always have been. Always will be.


    Rangers are not Scotland. It is they who must leave.

  19. Paul67


    Might one of the european teams that played against oldco [fielding ineligible players] and lost in a euro tie lodge an objection with EUFA?…

  20. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    Let’s face it – even if they had had titles stripped, the compliant media would still have said they had 54. Just like they will say it’s 55 if and when Sevco wins one.

  21. Nuclear Bovril and a Half Munched Pie


    14:09 on


    28 February, 2013


    I expect Ogilvie to make a dignified and discrete exit to a plush new chair at UEFA where he can carry on administrating errors.




    I believe the term used these days is “to look after elderly parents” ahem…HH

  22. kayal33



    14:07 on


    28 February, 2013


    Institutionally dysfunctional. Institutionally corrupt. Welcome to the Scottish Football Association.




    No. Welcome to Scotland.

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