It is 13 days since Celtic Quick News first raised a concern that the SFA were not investigating the alleged improper registration of football players by Rangers FC for a period of over a decade. Our central concern was:
Allegations of players having two contracts had been repeated in the media but it was not known if both alleged contracts were submitted to the SFA in accordance with Player Registration Rules. As fans, we had no authority to check, but with an SFA inquiry into Rangers convened, this seemed like an excellent opportunity to demand answers.
We had two secondary concerns:
The scope of the inquiry led by Lord Nimmo Smith was not made public, nor was there any commitment to make the findings public.
SFA president, Campbell Ogilvie, as a SFA board member, was due to receive the report and could have been in a position to influence the scope of the inquiry. Ogilvie was general secretary and director of Rangers from 1978 until 2005, presenting a clear conflict of interest, which the SFA had not acknowledged.
Subsequent events have moved beyond the association:
The SFA have confirmed Nimmo Smith’s report will not investigate the alleged improper registration of players at Rangers but they have left the door open to a future inquiry into the matter.
The Scottish Premier League have not been so lax and will now investigate the alleged improper registration of players. We can perhaps imply that only one contract per player has been lodged with them.
The Sun and Daily Mail have produced a redacted (second) contract and evidence from a former Rangers director respectively.
Despite the issue being reported throughout all media channels, no one from Rangers, past or present, has denied the existence of the second contracts, or claimed player registrations were valid.
We await the SPL inquiry.
If found guilty, some punishments are clear. Playing an improperly registered player in any match invalidates the result of the game. A 3-0 win is retrospectively awarded to the opponent. Always. Just as your history books do not record Ben Johnson as Olympic 100m champion for 1988, Scottish football records would be changed.
An offense such as this would be “literally off the scale” to borrow a phrase. The SPL and SFA would need to decide on an appropriate penalty. Sport does not provide many good reference points for behaviour on this scale (Johnson was banned for three years).
The HMRC v Rangers tax tribunal and current financial plight of the club remain huge issues but, if found to be valid, the improper registration of footballers over such a long period has the potential to be the biggest story in the history of Scottish football. The SFA must initiate an immediate inquiry.
Everyone else must simply wonder, what next?
I would like to be the first to congratulate Dundee United on their 2008 League Cup win.
Issue six of CQN Magazine, the Fit and Proper edition, is set to become a landmark collectors item. You can browse the magazine online here but you can buy your own hard copy by clicking on the link below. Read with 20-20 vision…..
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