AULDHEID was kind enough to give us an update on Resolution 12 on the day before the Celtic AGM last November.
In light of the recent High Court case in which Craig Whyte has been cleared of all charges, and relevant evidence was given in High Court, under oath, relevant to Resolution 12, we thought we’d look back on what Auldheid was saying…
AULDHEID ON RESOLUTION 12, NOVEMBER 2016
Signatories were sent an Account of Activity that set out correspondence on their behalf by the requistitioners to Res12. A link to it has already been posted on CQN for those who were not on the list but have an interest.
The covering document was the Conclusions arrived at as a result of the correspondence with the SFA and UEFA sent to signatories and it is now here to be digested by the wider CQN readership.
It complements in more detail on Res12 what is in the SII report that was independently commissioned. Its long but worth reading.
Update for signatories/supporters of Resolution12 adjourned at Celtic PLC AGM of Nov 2013.
Background to Resolution 12
The full document reported in the AGM Notice AND The Board’s response that Resolution 12 was unnecessary can be read at https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B6uWzxhblAt9c3pRTmtBbjhheDA/view?usp=sharing
NOTE – during the initial meeting, prior to the AGM at which agreement with the PLC was reached to adjourn the resolution, we were advised by Celtic PLC CEO Mr Peter Lawwell that if we provide a “silver bullet” he would fire it. We consider the following to be an arsenal from which Mr Peter Lawwell can select from numerous “silver bullets”.
Activity Timeline. Please read the document and the correspondence available from the first link above which provides a detailed account of our communications on your behalf, with both the SFA and UEFA from April 2015 to date It will be a long read if you check every link but what will matter most to you is the following conclusions.
1. Application for a licence is required before 31st March and on that date in RFC’s published accounts they state they had a “potential” tax liability and “discussions are continuing with HMRC to establish a resolution to the assessments raised.” Neither was the case.
2. By April first 2011, a newspaper interview with Alistair Johnson RFC Chairman confirmed, this “potential” tax liability as a bill that must be paid, citing a previous precedent set in a test case won by HMRC.
3. Existing documentation confirms a £2.8 Million tax liability, relating to side letters going back to season 1999/2000.
4. That tax liability was accepted by RFC and the subject of correspondence with the HMRC as early as February 2011.
5. The UEFA licence was not granted on 31st March 2011 as stated by SFA CEO Stuart Regan. UEFA confirmed to us this happened on April 19th 2011 by which time the £2.8 Million liability was a matter of Public Knowledge.
6. Stewart Regan, by way of a written letter in December 2011, informed the Celtic CEO that after the Licence was granted on 31st March, all discrepancies and matters of noncompliance were the sole responsibility of the UEFA (CFCB) monitoring team. It now transpires that Mr Regan in writing to the Celtic CEO:
6.1 Provided Mr Lawwell with the wrong date regarding the grant of the licence.
6.2 Failed to mention; the licence had been granted on 19th April.
6.3 Failed to mention; the grant of the licence had been intimated to UEFA on 26th May.
6.4 Failed to mention; the SFA were responsible to report all licence breaches and other matters to UEFA before the end of season 2011/12.
6.5 Failed to mention; during the season of 2011/12 the SFA determined RFC NO LONGER complied with the terms of the licence granted, offering no explanation or update as to when or on what grounds RFC eventually failed to comply.
7. All items outlined in point 6 above are confirmed to have taken place by the Head of Club Licensing at UEFA and Celtic PLC have all the correspondence.
8. Correspondence between HMRC and RFC dated 20th May 2011 exists in which HMRC provide a determination of the £2.8 Million tax bill, detailing player ebts with side letters dating back to August 2000, calculations of tax overdue and resultant penalties , the requirement for formal recovery procedures be implemented due to non-cooperation. It identifies that RFC used an irregular (DOS) EBT scheme starting in September 1999 introducing side letters in August 2000, a period excluded from the LNS Commission by the then SPL
9. The 20th May 2011 letter was received by RFC before the grant of licence for season 2011/12 was confirmed by the SFA to UEFA (26th May 2011). RFC were responsible to report the letter to the SFA immediately. In turn the SFA were responsible to report the letter to UEFA and revaluate the license grant in the event that subsequent further evidence invalidates the initial granting, prior to reporting to UEFA
10. Celtic PLC, understandably are averse to peddling or dealing in correspondence between HMRC and other SFA member clubs. Accordingly we engaged an independent firm of international solicitors seeking clarification from the SFA and UEFA (at the invitation of the SFA), on their knowledge of the existence and the status of this letter, and its effect on their licensing process. For the avoidance of doubt the letter of 20th May was only one of a series of communications between all the parties and that series started before March 2011 and ended long after 20th May 2011.
11. While neither have denied knowledge of the 20th May 2011 letter. Both SFA and UEFA refuse to answer our questions about, when or if the letter was brought to their attention. How it was brought to their attention. What action was taken on confirmation of an overdue and unpaid tax liability being pursued by HMRC, prior to both the RFC UEFA competition participation under the licence granted by the SFA on 19th April, and reporting license approval to UEFA on 26th May 2011
12.. Evidently from the above, the statements made by the CEO of the SFA to the CEO of Celtic PLC regarding the licence approval/grant and subsequent monitoring procedures are inaccurate and misleading because:
12.a. UEFA cannot begin to monitor a licence until they know it is approved, in this case the licence approval decision was not confirmed to UEFA until 26th May. Thus Stuart Regan is patently incorrect when stating in writing and in public broadcasts that the SFA had no role to play in any licensing matters after 31st March.
12.b. Regan’ statement above is contradicted by UEFA, clearly identifying that during season 2011/12 the SFA determined RFC “no longer” complied with UEFA licensing provisions. They stipulate this was an SFA determination, without clarification on when or why “no longer” was applied. This asks serious questions about what Regan told Celtic.
12.c. The SFA compliance officer intimated without categorically stating or confirming when, that they were unaware of the HMRC May 20th letter, after we provided a copy in 2014, but appear to be saying they had the information contained in later correspondence. Shareholders believe that on receipt of our copy the SFA should have contacted UEFA without further activity from us. Shareholders were concerned at the outset that this letter and others concerned had been withheld from the SFA altogether, apparently this MAY not be the case. Significantly in LNS terms if the SFA did indeed have the 20th May letter in 2011 why was it not passed to their then SPL colleagues along the corridor in 2012 when LNS was being commissioned?
13. Both the SFA and UEFA are clear that they will only answer questions posed directly by a member club namely Celtic PLC or any other club.
14. To our knowledge no member club has or plans to ask any such direct questions – partly on the basis of not wanting to deal in the private correspondence of other clubs setting a dangerous footballing precedent AND partly because they wish to appear to rely on the integrity and self-certifying nature of the football regulations and procedures.
15. While we respect and fully understand, the reasons given by Celtic PLC in relation to this stance we cannot agree for the following reasons:
15.1. There are clear contradictions between the explanations given by the SFA and UEFA as to what took place which require investigation.
15.2. Both HMRC and the Lord Advocate’s office have alleged fraudulent activity in relation to the tax bill concerned, this alone justifies further enquiry into the events of the season 2011/12 UEFA footballing licence approval and administration.
15.3. Whilst appreciating the need to be circumspect regarding the sources of documentation and correspondence, the fact remains that the licensing process that Celtic and other clubs seek to protect and abide by, gives both the SFA and UEFA full powers to recover all documents from member clubs, official bodies including tax authorities, and all necessary third parties. This is what Resolution 12 sought, requesting that UEFA commission an independent enquiry with such full powers of recovery. Such a report strengthens the licensing system rather than weakens it. Seeking clarification in these circumstances does not in any way harm Celtic PLC, on the contrary, it displays their determination to protect the integrity of the game (benefitting all clubs) and the interests of all the shareholders.
15.4 Celtic PLC is responsible to all its shareholders to ensure that it trades within a sporting framework that is properly administered allowing the club to trade on an even footing with all other companies or organisations within the same trade associations. It is clear from all the above that in this instance, when the Celtic PLC CEO properly sought explanations from office bearers of those trade associations he was given less than candid explanations and may well have been completely misled.
15.5 The latest response from UEFA does not suggest that there are no questions to be asked and answered in this case, especially considering the stance taken by UEFA itself in the case of FC Giannina [License refused on investigation due to tax overdue payable and private agreement (side letter?) grounds)] in circumstances bearing a remarkable similarity to the circumstances at play here. What the response does say is that these questions CAN only be asked and WILL only be answered by way of a formal enquiry from a member club.
16. In the circumstances, we, as representatives of the signatories of Resolution 12 have taken this matter as far as we can, clearly the only way that further enquiry and answers can be made will be if UEFA receive a formal request from a member club.
17 The Timeline of correspondence and this document is being circulated privately by e mail to those who either signed Resolution 12 and/or the later mandate to provide names to the SFA whose e mail addresses we hold, with advance apologies to those who should be contacted but we cannot in the absence of the ability to e mail.
18. A copy of our narrative and the supporting timeline has been copied to Celtic to consider their position prior to the AGM on 16th November 2016 when we believe the PLC should now make a statement with regard to their position on the necessity of Resolution 12. We have run the course on your behalf with regards to UEFA and in doing so we think we have made a case for an investigation into the SFA’s approval of the 2011 UEFA Licence granted to Rangers FC which is now up to Celtic to pursue. If, having read the attached and this message, you agree you might wish to signal so by e mail to John Paul Taylor JPTaylor@celticfc.co.uk Subject Line: Res12 Statement for 2016 AGM? It will be drawn to the attention of The Company Secretary.