The Scottish Premier League has acted with clarity, issuing a statement today that they have instructed an inquiry into the alleged non-disclosure of payments to the league by Rangers since the inception of the SPL on 1 July 1998.
The SPL statement refers to rules to “impose a prohibition on players receiving payments for playing football or participating in an activity connected with football except where such payments are made in accordance with a form of contract approved by the SPL and require that all such contracts are submitted to the SPL within 14 days of being entered into.”
They helpfully link to The Rules of the SPL, which is sure to be one of the most read regulation documents in the world this week.
Compare and contrast this action with the goings-on at the Scottish Football Association.
SFA chief executive, Stewart Regan, told Scotland on Sunday the association president, Campbell Ogilvie, is “heavily conflicted” on the subject of the investigation into Rangers and as such would not be a party to conclusions, saying, “Campbell won’t play any part in any meeting, discussion or conclusion on any activities surrounding Rangers”.
It would, of course, be helpful for Mr Ogilvie to tell his SFA colleges exactly what went on when he was general secretary and director of Rangers. His evidence should be an integral part of the investigation, unless his memory is less effective than fellow ex-Rangers director, Hugh Adam.
Regan spent some of last week dismissing demands for a comment on allegations that Rangers have improperly registered football players for over a decade by suggesting matters concerning the club were under investigation, headed by Lord Nimmo Smith, which is due to report this week. However, it appears that Nimmo Smith’s secret terms of reference do not include the most important question surrounding the club. On the subject of improper registration, Regan said, “The board will meet to discuss it within a week or maybe slightly longer. Very, very quickly the board will get together to consider the facts.”
Scotland on Sunday’s Tom English induced a variety of reactive quotes from Regan. Asked if the SFA would hold an inquiry into Rangers contracts, he said, “That will depend on the board’s view of the facts and what information is there. The situation is changing daily and new information is emerging all the time. We’ve got our hands on certain pieces of information and we’re exploring it and we’re asking for further information. By the time the board meets we will have a fuller picture and if it’s the board’s opinion that they want a fuller investigation then that will be an option. If they feel they have enough facts to draw some conclusions then that will be their decision.”
So now we know that Lord Nimmo Smith’s report is likely to ignore the main issue surrounding Rangers. Without SFA clarification, we can only guess it will address the Fit and Proper suitability of Craig Whyte to own a football club, surely a complete waste of resources.
We also know that the association might still decide against investigating the evidence of Hugh Adam, The Sun newspaper, and various other journalists, that second contracts exist.
The SFA cannot be dragged along behind the story like this. Like the SPL, it should issue an early statement of intent to investigate the serious allegations made about Rangers during their president’s time on the club’s board.
Step up, Mr Regan.
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