Market for sportwashing could wane quickly


The long season comes to an end this week when the final international games, most of which are firmly in the meaningless category, or the Nations League, as Uefa prefer to call them.  Those in the Scotland squad, like Callum McGregor, have to make their way home from Armenia tonight.  There will hopefully be time for the captain to rest mind and limbs before he is recalled for preseason training.

It is a small mercy that we don’t have European qualifiers this summer, our Scotland players missing out on the World Cup is also welcome, although our Japanese contingent will be affected.

2022 could be the year Fifa is finally forced to pull back.  Confirmation of the corruption behind the decision to award the World Cup to Qatar did nothing to prevent the tournament going ahead as planned.  Instead, the world will watch the efforts of a tiny state hosting the world’s greatest sporting event (it is) in stadiums built and destined for obsolescence before the year is out.

The is also a strange calculus underway in the sportwashing sector.  Whatever the Saudi motivation for LIV Golf, it surely was not to put the human rights record of the kingdom front and centre of news broadcasts.  ‘You are blatantly trying to get us to ignore the thing we are all going to talk about.”

Google Trends show the word “Khashoggi” has rocketed since golfers gathered for the LIV tournament.  The market for sportwashing may be set to turn.

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  1. SFTB @ 2.27



    Not sure why CB’s at the moment should be costing us so much money — we seem to gift the football world quite a lot of talent at low or zero cost.



    CCV @ £10mill is just so much agent friendly ego tripping on our part.


    JS @ £0 to TFOD2.1 / knuckle crunching back scratching / tapping up central shows what can be done.



    CS is a better footballer than JS but not a better CB.


    To me anyway.

  2. SFTB @ 2.49



    I’m sure JS will have his own bacta tank set up for him in Govan.



    The TFOD2.1 are known globally for the miracles they perform on the physical conditioning of their players.



    That and their stamina / recovery drills.



    I’m sure someone will get a Nobel prize for their efforts.

  3. Mad Mitch @ 2.07



    World’s VVD most expensive defender (least he was) signed via Celtic’s deeply flawed transfer system from under the noses of Ajax, Feyenoord et all, plenty on here wanted to drive him to the airport thursell



    Good career for mercenary Jason Denayer, signed on loan from City Group via Celtic’s deeply flawed transfer system loads on here wanted to drive him to the airport thursell



    Dedryk Boyata wanted big move, granted by Celtic but blocked by St Brendan, signed on loan from City Group via Celtic’s deeply flawed transfer system, huge conga line on here wanted to drive him to the airport thursell



    Jozo Simunovic signed via Celtic’s deeply flawed transfer system queue’s on here every other week (before he tackled Kenny Miller) wanted to drive him to the airport thursell



    Chris Jullien one decent season Drama Queen extraordinaire, signed via Celtic’s deeply flawed transfer system form an orderly queue those that are waiting to drive him to the airport thursell.



    Kris Ajer signed via Celtic’s deeply flawed transfer system for 700k as Scandinavia’s best young prospect, but couldn’t header a ball, many on CQN wanted to drive him to the airport thursell



    CCV signed signed via Celtic’s deeply flawed transfer system from under the noses of the EPL. Slower than a week in jail too wee for a CB, a loan that would never become permanent at start of the season a good few on here wanted to drive him to the airport thursell.



    Carl Starfelt signed via Celtic’s deeply flawed transfer system for £4M not even a fifth of a Calvin Bassey’s worth, good enough for Ange but not good enough for the current airport thursell brigade.

  4. McPhail Bhoy on

    An Tearmann



    That’s a great article, Keith et al really are shameless hacks, if that’s not an insult to hacks!

  5. Mad Mitch



    Where did JH get mentioned and why? He never partnered anybody at Celtic yet when we sold him for a huge profit there were still those on here who critiqued the board whilst the rest were gald to get rid of him. Craig Gordon largely finished at Celtic same argument, club criticised.



    Of course you want better CB’s you probably were in the queue to drive Virgil to the airport, does better CB’s than CCV and Carl Starfelt mean more millions, like the more millions we paid for Kris Jullien.



    Adding more millions doesn’t guarantee better and the wages structure has been explained ad nauseum since this was Relative failures at Celtic will still want to move on for the real big money whilst Celtic supporters will just have to make do, with those stars happy on a mere 20K.

  6. !!Bada Bing!! on

    Gene- Stokes has the big stick out,he says he doesn’t do draws,…..some old fogeys in The Long Room,will be choking on their port and lemons…

  7. What player would not want to come and play,in the cash rich SPFL.We must be be one,because we have teams like Dundee U,Aberdeen,and now the Galacticos of our league,St Mirren saying they don’t need any more money from away fans,like Celtic.They claim they did a survey,in world record time,and their support said no.Now only one stand available to us.


    Another red neck when the games are being shown by Sky.One full stand,and a guy with his grandson and dug,in the corner of another.WTF message are we sending out.These teams will be happy to grab the C L payout,afforded by us,but stop our fans getting to games,and paying the 30 + quid for the benefit.


    A fekin Mickey Mouse production,running our game.

  8. Rock Tree Bhoy on

    EMERALDBEE \O/ A DOUBLE NINER!! on 14TH JUNE 2022 12:10 PM



    Paul, my only interest in the Scotland game is that our ghuys get home safe, uninjured and ready to rest.



    Calum in particular NEEDS a decent rest.






    Totally agree, couldn’t care less about the Scotland Team, certainly don’t wish them any harm, and always concerned for the safety of any of our guys that happen to get picked, but as to the actual outcome of any games they play, no interest. Stopped being interested after big Jock passed in 1985 at Ninian Park Cardiff.

  9. RTB



    I’ve had my ups and downs with Scotland; stayed away for a few years in late 80s/early 90s due to the biased element in the Hampden support. In England I joined the travel club and went up with mates to qualifiers and to the 96 and 98 tournaments – great fun. i only go to the odd game that someone gets me a spare for



    Always want us to win. i was there on Sat and it was truly awful. Inexplicably so. The highlights make us look better than we were.



    Still a bit of partisanship in the crowd. Lots of booing Ralston and shouting for Gilmour on one side and then muggings here shouting ‘ nice football Celtic!’. I apologised and found out most around me were Celts (in Ireland end).





    We were able to get a beer in the concourse during the game but not to take it out to the seats (a few were snuck out)


    A nice compromise

  10. BSR






    Get you with the technical terms.



    I thought it was wallpaper with measles.



    Anyway- developed the whole back passage and basement area. Fresh coat of white paint on most of it. Just need a new kitchen in July and I can get back to a normal life in time for the fitba restarting?

  11. To me Celtic and the team we are playing are all that’s worth watching in Scotland and that includes the National Team. I know, I am biased but we really are an exciting team to watch. Ange has encouraged we play attacking football which matches our traditions.



    Celtic Park is a excellent venue for football and to me are streets ahead of Sevco. We also seem to have a united squad of disparite nationalities who are all mates.



    I feel that our recent arrivals will improve next season and If we replace our leavers with quality players then, I cannot see how we will not win the league again.



    Now if we can only perform in Europe

  12. Tom McLaughlin on

    Great entertainment from Trent Bridge as Johnny Bairstow hits sixes for fun.



    England well on track for an impressive victory.



    207 for 4.



    92 needed for the win from minimum 33 overs.

  13. Don’t think Scotlands young boys are doing to well.(under 21&17).



    No sense getting rid of the coach the players aren’t good enough we over rate them.

  14. Jimdom…fook the golf mate.



    I thought it interesting to reproduce Ian Fraser’s article today in the Sunday Herald on the collapse & scandal of David Murray’s business. It sheds a light on Murray who basically built an entire corporate structure on debt. He really was no better than Bernie Madoff, MIH was just a giant Ponzi scheme entirely financed using other peoples money, most noticeably mine & yours, because he was borrowing from a bank who were bailed out by the British taxpayer.



    Rangers were just one of the companies within this portfolio & suffered as a consequence,most famously with the quote,”for every £5 Celtic spend, we’ll spend £10″…….For the avoidance of doubt, Ian Fraser is an award winning financial journalist & not connected to any Scottish football team



    The Fall of the House of Murray


    As tycoon David Murray’s once-thriving business empire folds with a barely audible whimper, Ian Fraser picks apart the disastrous sequence of seemingly limitless borrowing and bad decisions that precipitated the downfall


    Sunday 18 January 2015


    Sir David Murray’s metals-to-property conglomerate Murray International Holdings (MIH) died last week, going out not with a bang but a whimper.



    MIH and eight subsidiary companies – Premier Property Group, PPG Land, Premier Burrell, GM Mining, Murray Group Holdings, Murray Group Management, Murray Outsourcing and MMH NSS – are to be liquidated by Deloitte.



    The insolvency practitioners will be seeking to retrieve as much cash as they can from the firms’ assets and debtors before shutting down the companies for good.



    Since the credit crisis blew a massive hole in Murray’s business plans six years ago, his bank, Lloyds – which completed its disastrous acquisition of HBOS in January 2009 – appears to have treated him with kid gloves.



    It had few qualms about pulling the plug on other HBOS ­customers who had built up massive debts with HBOS, such as John Kennedy’s Kenmore, Jonathon Milne’s FM ­Developments and Ken Ross’s Elphinstone Group.



    But Lloyds was prepared to give Murray five-and-a-half years to disentangle and dismantle as much as he could of his business empire, as well allowing Murray Capital, a new private concern of Murray and his son, David junior, to cherry-pick some of his most cherished assets.



    The reason for this unusual leniency from Lloyds was ascribed to Murray’s tough negotiation skills, and highlighting the number of dependent Scots employees in a diverse group.



    In his pomp in the 1990s and early 2000s, David Murray was viewed as one of Scotland’s most successful entrepreneurs. He caught the eye of Bank of Scotland’s former treasurer and managing director Gavin Masterton, and the bank first lent Murray money in 1981.



    Bank of Scotland went on to lend him the entire £6 million he needed to buy Rangers FC in 1988. By 2008, as part of HBOS, it had provided him with £900 million of debt to bankroll his wide-ranging business operations, which once encompassed commercial property, coal mining, metals trading and football. This was despite the fact that, even at its peak, the turnover of Murray’s group ­holding company never exceeded £550m.



    HBOS senior bankers including chief executive of corporate banking Peter Cummings and the late Ian Robertson, managing director of corporate ­banking, gave Murray what amounted to an open cheque book.



    Together, Murray and HBOS formed a complex web of joint-venture companies into which hundreds of millions of pounds of the bank’s money were poured. In most of these property deals, the bank was effectively lending up to 40% of the money to itself.



    Robertson, nicknamed “Robbo”, was infamous for “Robbo rollovers” – deals by which the bank rolled over existing loans into newly created special purpose vehicles, effectively making bad debts disappear in a puff of smoke.



    One banking analyst said: “Property assets that ought to have gone into ­insolvency, or into HBOS’s intensive-care unit – which would have required the bank to book a provision for bad debt – were instead rolled over.”



    The roll-overs are said to have compounded Murray’s situation after the credit markets crashed, complicating his business empire’s problems. However, one of Murray’s more astute moves in the past decade was to sell his Murray International Metals business for £119m in 2005.



    From the mid-2000s onwards, having witnessed the success that the likes of Sir Tom Hunter were having in commercial property, Murray massively boosted his group’s exposure to commercial real estate, snapping up provincial shopping centres and office buildings from Edinburgh to London.



    The number of deals accelerated after Robbo’s successor, Ray Robertson, former head of real estate at Bank of Scotland Corporate, assumed day-to-day responsibility for his affairs at the bank. Both Robertsons had such faith in Murray and his Premier ­Property Group they seemed willing to lend millions with few questions asked, though it was the worst of times to be investing in and developing commercial properties.



    Things started to go badly awry when Murray moved away from calculated risk-taking and started using HBOS’s loans for what looked more like reckless gambling. This coincided from 2005 onwards with the adoption of what HBOS insiders call “kamikaze lending to the great and the good” as it sought to grow its ­corporate loan book by some 20% per annum to compensate for a slowdown in other aspects of its business.



    Even after property markets ­weakened, Murray seemed impervious to the risk of a property crash. One month after the global financial crisis started in August 2007, PPG had some £500m of development projects under way, including a 175,000sqft speculative office development in Glasgow’s Bothwell Street.



    MIH was going to be able to defy economic gravity thanks to what Murray described in the 2008 annual report as “the breadth and depth of the group’s diversified portfolio and management team”.



    When HBOS collapsed under the weight of massive bad debts and a short-sighted funding model, and the bank succumbed to Lloyds TSB in September 2008, the game was up for Murray.



    He and other tycoons had been used to picking up the phone to HBOS and receiving hundreds of millions of pounds within hours. That all changed after Murray’s accounts were transferred to Lloyds’s non-core business support unit (BSU), whose goal is to maximise value from distressed borrowers.



    One of the BSU’s first goals was to persuade Murray to offload Rangers, partly because the club was such an obvious drain on resources and partly as it was seen as a distraction for the hands-on Murray.



    One ex-bank insider said Lloyds simply wanted out of football clubs: “Rangers was just soaking up cash. You can’t build a football business on overdrafts and borrowing, but that is what Murray seemed to be doing.”



    Two-and-a-half years after ceasing to be Rangers’ chairman in October 2009, Murray sold his 85.3% equity stake in Rangers Football Club to Craig Whyte for £1. The club subsequently collapsed into chaos that continues to this day.



    Lloyds continued to allow Murray to do two massive debt-for-equity swaps which, given the fact that MIH’s equity was by now as good as worthless, were essentially free gifts. The first, in April 2010, saw Lloyds write off £150m of debt in exchange for an additional 12% stake in the company.



    Conditions included that Murray must liquidate three-quarters of MIH’s commercial property portfolio by 2015; introduce greater transparency into his business dealings; and stop using cross-guarantees, by which healthy and profitable parts of his empire were used to support more anaemic parts like Rangers. Such cross-support makes it more difficult to hive off businesses to third-party buyers.



    A string of ­disposals, including that of oil and gas business Premier Hytemp and three shopping centres (sold for less than half their purchase price), followed. Unusually, in what seems to have been a sweetheart deal, the bank allowed Murray to personally buy back his private equity business Charlotte Ventures, partly because the assets within it, which included a stake in bus manufacturer Alexander Dennis, were seen as too high risk for the bank.



    Murray said the purchase of the unit, later renamed Murray Capital, was “done arm’s length, at market value”. A second £118m debt-for-equity swap followed in March 2012, the negotiations for which are said to have been extended and heated.



    Murray claimed the deal – which took the amount of debt that had effectively been written off by Lloyds to £268.5m – did not dilute the Murray family’s 70% voting power over MIH.



    Talking about the winding-down of MIH, Murray said: “This has been a consensual approach with the bank, and it has been an orderly, managed process. It’s not been easy – it could have been easier to walk away and not do it – but it was decided with the lender that we would work this out, and we have.”



    There are major assets which remain unsold, including Response, the call-centre business. It lost a contract with BSkyB, but has since won one for Scottish Power. In another unusual move, Lloyds let Murray and his family, through Murray Capital, buy Murray Estates, which owns about 1200 acres of prime development sites across Scotland’s central belt for just £13.9m. In addition to Murray Estates, Murray Capital also snapped up other unwanted MIH assets.



    The Murray Estates portfolio includes a 13-acre site at Ratho Station on the western edge of Edinburgh, a 26-acre site near Edinburgh Airport, a 300-acre site at Torrance Park in North Lanarkshire, the 135-acre Kingdom Park site in Kirkcaldy and the 675-acre Garden District on greenbelt land adjacent to the Edinburgh City Bypass near Gogarburn.



    The latter offers scope for a £1 billion development of 3500 homes, a showcase garden project called Calyx and a new community stadium. For many years Murray has been ­piecing together so-called “ransom strips” to the east of Edinburgh Airport’s approach road, with a view to galvanising a wider ­development project called the ­International Business Gateway.



    Things are already moving fast for the some of Murray Estates’ development sites. In November, Fife Council granted planning permission for the construction of a £500m residential district at ­Kingdom Park over 20 years. The same month, pre-construction work got under way on a £60m mixed-use development for phase one of Torrance Park in Holytown.



    In its 2013 annual report, MIH said funding difficulties meant it was unable to develop the Murray Estates sites itself. MIH added it had considered ­selling the land in a piecemeal fashion to other developers but then “received an unsolicited approach from the Murray family in spring 2013 to acquire the ­majority of assets in the portfolio of Murray Estates”.



    A spokesman for Lloyds said the Murray Estates deal included an “anti-embarrassment clause” which enables the bank to secure a share of the upside should Murray Estates’ projects come good, but declined to give details.



    The MIH 2013 accounts noted: “The ­transaction completed after protracted negotiations and was supported by advice from two independent firms of chartered surveyors … plus significant potential additional consideration based on profits realised over 10 years.”



    Intriguingly, even though Murray Capital (formerly known as Charlotte Ventures) also banks with Lloyds, Murray made clear Lloyds did not fund the £13.9m acquisition. He added that the non-embarrassment clause is geared to enable the bank to get a bigger share of gains if projects are sold or developed quickly, saying: “It was put in place to stop us flipping things for a quick gain.”



    Overall, Murray has been shown far greater leniency than other failed property tycoons after Lloyds/HBOS was bailed out and commercial property prices crashed. One ex-HBOS insider has suggested that it was because he was “one of the great and good, like Tom Farmer and Tom Hunter”.



    All three have been knighted, with Murray receiving his – for services to business in Scotland – in June 2007. The source added: “Sir David never had the great fall, the humiliation that some of the other over-leveraged property tycoons were made to feel.”



    His businesses’ outstanding debt to Lloyds stands at up to £346.7m, and the bank has, to date, written off £268.5m through debt-for-equity swaps, which suggests that the collapse of his business has left a £615m hole in Lloyds’s accounts, and that two-thirds of the money Murray’s businesses borrowed has been lost.



    And because of the 2008 bailouts, it is effectively taxpayers who are picking up the tab. Meanwhile, he has walked away from the wreckage of his failed group with some of its most promising assets under his belt.



    It is perhaps unsurprising that Murray presents the winding-up of his erstwhile business empire as a sort of triumph. ­Writing in the MIH 2013 accounts, he said: “In the prevailing economic ­conditions since 2009, the delivery of the numerous asset disposals and debt-reduction programme represents a significant achievement and a very ­credible performance.”



    He said: “It’s not been without some ­casualties but we’ve done the best we could. The proceeds from the disposals have been optimised, enabling us to secure ­continued employment for more than 95% of the group’s 2008 workforce and minimising losses to other stakeholders and creditors. One of the reasons we have come through this as well as we have is that we had some prime assets and some good trading ­businesses. All the small creditors have been paid in full and everyone’s been paid their redundancy.”



    Lloyds refused to comment “on the grounds of customer confidentiality”, but others might see Murray, along with bonus-crazed bankers in rescued banks, as the ultimate pet of the sugar daddy state.




    Before looking abroad for other sports or countries


    mired in cheating,nefarious behaviour corruption etc,


    Look to our own game.



    From the Herald yonks ago.




  15. Paul67 – You write as if you are surprised about the corruption in sport.



    You only have to look at Scottish Football to see that sport as a fair contest is fecked.



    The corrupt cabal that is the SFA, Jim Farry and the Referees debacle. Dougie, Dougie, Beaton, Madhun and to many to mention.


    Anyone in doubt watch the Netflix series Bad Sport about referee corruption in Italy and if you are naive to think it does not go on in scottish football then god help you.






    D :)



    D :)

  16. Right dinner then to watch a bit of Scotland before going to watch wee Riley bhoy the grandson play football.



    D :)

  17. Tom McLaughlin on




    Spot on about MM.



    He posted a few years ago about “the days before QSG at Celtic”.



    After 5 minutes of head spinning I decided to respond, politely enquiring as to who or what was QSG. He advised that it was quality street gang and then gave me a row for not knowing the history.



    I replied again, pointing out that as they were known as the quality street KIDS, it was little surprise that I couldn’t decipher it.



    He certainly doesn’t take kindly to people simply asking him to explain something.



    PS. His use of initials are not acronyms. An acronym is initials that form a speakable word or sound.



    Eg. UNESCO, NATO, NASA, ASLEF are acronyms. IRA, UDA, CBI, NUM are not because you have to say each letter individually.

  18. glendalystonsils on

    Anybody not happy with our centre backs should thank their lucky stars we don’t have Grant Hanley .

  19. JIMDOM


    My pals son is at Golf College in US at present.


    He says the American press and public are not happy at all with the LIV tour.

  20. Billybhoy1967



    Dear Visitors ,



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    Sorry for that but we respect the UEFA holder’s rights .



    You can continue Watching The the UEFA Competitions Matches on the official channels TV/Satellite/internet like BT SPORTS (UK), SUPERSPORT (SA) , SPORT TV (PT), BEIN SPORT(AR) …



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  21. Rock Tree Bhoy on

    CONEYBHOY on 14TH JUNE 2022 4:01 PM



    Think my kind of view is in the minority, which I’m pleased about, my son goes to the Scotland games at Hampden and I commend him for that, not for me though. Celtic are my only football interest.

  22. Tom McLaughlin on



    That’s some effort from wonderboy Patterson FFS



    And McCoist tells us about 4 times that he wasn’t expecting the pass. WTF?

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