The SPL deadline for clubs to provide information on improper registration of players was six weeks ago today but the league has yet to report findings to clubs, while the chief executive rallies support to allow a Newco access to the league.
Time has expired on this policy of non-disclosure until it’s too late.
If the SPL chief executive ever tells us that Rangers fielded improperly registered players between 2000 and 2012, resulting in years of 3-0 defeats being awarded, there will be an enormous amount of anger, not only among supporters, but in boardrooms across the country, as they ponder money which was rightfully theirs but which went to Rangers – perhaps including Rangers prize money for finishing second this season.
We have made an attempt to quantify this money. Some of the losses were easier to calculate than others. For example, it was easy to calculate that when Rangers won the title in 2009 with improperly registered players, earning automatic qualification to the Champions League group stage, they denied Celtic £15m European earnings, plus £340k SPL prize money. Other losses are less clear, specifically when a club was denied a place in a qualifying round for the Champions League or Uefa Cup, which they may or may not have progressed from.
We have established three figures for each club in the SPL during the season just finished, to cover the period from 2000 to 2012:
The absolute minimum each club was denied from European and SPL prize money as a result of Rangers finishing above them with ineligible players.
The figure based on Scottish clubs gaining entry to Champions League/Europa League (Uefa Cup) group stages from 20% of their qualifying campaigns (which is slightly less than trend).
The maximum a club could have achieved if it qualified for the European group stage it was denied entry to.
Out estimates take no account of the subsequent effect money has on future years. For example, If Celtic earned an additional £15m from entering the Champions League group stage in 2009-10 their league challenge for that season would have been £15m stronger, and Rangers £15m weaker, potentially resulting in consequences in future years.
This multiplier effect would have benefited Celtic but it would be likely to have a greater effect on other clubs, some of whom would be denied the enormous percentage increase in budget automatic qualification to European group stages would have brought.
Hearts finished immediately behind Celtic and Rangers more often than any other club over the period and suffer the greatest potential losses, even more so than Celtic. Hibernian, Aberdeen, Dundee United and Motherwell also suffered significant losses.
Several clubs got nowhere near European football over the period, and some of the 11 spent only a few years in the SPL but each club lost over £1m.
Figures for each club are:
In the event Rangers fielded ineligible players during the period under consideration, which everyone apart from Neil Doncaster knows, and even he will be unable to deny next week, we know the following:
Rangers received a minimum of £40.9m which should have gone to the 11 other clubs, assuming each club lost all their European group stage qualifying campaigns. This calculation does not include earnings from clubs now in the Scottish Football League, such as Hamilton Accies or Dundee.
If Scottish clubs progressed to the group stages of European competition on only 20% of their qualifying campaigns the loss would be £69.0m.
The figure for total potential losses if clubs successfully progressed to every European group stage is, as the figure for 100% failure, more illustrative than likely, but the maximum cost to the 11 SPL clubs is £224.6m.
Results will be changed, trophies can and will, be re-awarded, but these are the harsh financial consequences clubs, their lawyers and supporters, will consider when the facts are presented to them next week. The SPL executive has had six weeks to consider if there is sufficient evidence to commence disciplinary proceedings; they have failed to do so. They have failed you and every other football supporter in the land, while shamelessly pursuing an accommodation for the errant club BEFORE REVEALING THE FACTS TO YOU.
Time will be up soon, Mr Doncaster. You’ve had your chance but you have convinced no one. The people who really matter in this entire debacle are those who buy tickets for Celtic Park, Pittodrie, Easter Road, Tynecastle, Tannadice, Fir Park and the rest, they will hear the truth and read these figures. You have failed them.
Celtic’s disadvantage deepened when their winger John Doyle was sent off ten minutes into the second half for kicking the scorer, but there was an equaliser from Aitken, who was especially suited to a night of such fervour and force. Never bashful, Aitken was stimulated by the challenge of being in an outnumbered line-up.
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