A Lie for a Lie

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The “Lawwell Letter” is trending everywhere this week. To elucidate, it is email sent to (among others) Peter Lawwell and Eric Riley of Celtic on 26 July 2012 by SPL CEO Neil Doncaster.

The email came with an attached copy of the Five Way Agreement (hereafter “5WA”, the deal between Sevco, Rangers, the SFA, the SPL and the SFL). Now that it has been made public, it seems safe to speak openly about what it all means for us as folk who believe in sporting integrity.

I would preface my comments with a caveat though. On the face of it, the Celtic Chief Executive appears to have misled the gathering at the recent Celtic AGM. He was asked by a shareholder if Celtic were involved in the Five Way Agreement. Lawwell replied, “No”, and gave same “No” response to the follow up question, “have you seen it?”

Given that a copy of that email was in the possession of a few folk before that AGM, I have to admit to being surprised by that answer – although even more surprised at the apparent lack of due diligence implied by the lack of knowledge of its content.

We have attempted to contact Mr Lawwell to ask him if he would like to comment on the apparent discrepancy between the evidence and his answer (and I am sure we are not the only ones to have done so). To date, we have received no response. Given the complete lack of acknowledgement of the existence of this anomaly in the MSM, we should perhaps assume that none will be forthcoming.

Perhaps there is an explanation (yes I know), but Celtic should know, like Rangers old and new have come to realise, that silence on these matters breeds deep suspicion and distrust.

Assuming for the minute that Occam’s Razor applies here, there may be an uncomfortable truth emerging for Celtic fans – that Rangers (old and new) do not have a monopoly on dishonesty. There is also an uncomfortable truth that should emerge for Rangers fans too – that as we have said all along, this has never been about just Rangers, but about the governance of the game.

If the Celtic CEO did lie to the AGM a few weeks ago what are the consequences? He broke no laws as far as I can see. One insider I spoke to said simply this,

“So he lied. So what? What happens now? It’s irrelevant”

That is of course absolutely true. As long as controlling shareholders are happy that Resolution 12 is buried, and that no deep inquiry into governance is held into the workings of the game in Scotland, the lie is nonpunishable, though it would be a mistake to believe that accountability is confined only to the corporate rules governing Boards and shareholders; the corporate veil of “I was only following company policy” can be readily challenged in the court of public opinion, which has no statute of limitations.

What all this demonstrates of course is that Celtic have been saying one thing to their fans and shareholders, nodding agreement in private meetings about how appalling Rangers behaviour was, tut-tutting over how amateurish the authorities were, and wringing their hands in frustration at what a sham the LNS inquiry turned out to be.

At the same time, they have done nothing, allowed small shareholders to spend not inconsiderable suns progressing the matter, and quietly hoped that the “appetite” for justice would diminish so they could get back to whatever it is they and the rest do when subject to little or no scrutiny.

Whilst ten in a row is on the table of course, they can get away with it. To Celtic fans right now, understandably, nothing else matters. But what if TIAR is derailed? Not a stretch to imagine that the Parkhead kitchen could get uncontrollably hot in that circumstance. And when the TIAR squirrel finally ends its scurry, in either success or failure, where will the fans attention be diverted?

Perhaps the arrogance that permits making (allegedly) false statements to a general meeting, and (allegedly) misleading shareholders over Res 12 is borne of the knowledge that the parachutes are ready to be deployed when either of the above scenarios come to pass? If TIAR is achieved or goes south, are they already prepared for an emergency exit?

Celtic have two major shareholders whose combined holding is over 50% of the club’s shares. Dermot Desmond and Nick Train. Desmond is now in his eighth decade and Train is reportedly having some business difficulties. Both may well be moved to get out anyway, but fan unrest would make their decision a whole lot easier.

And Lawwell himself is – if you believe the MSM – on the wanted list of nearly as many top clubs as Alfredo Morelos.

The foregoing of course is extremely “Old Firm” centric, and as the two biggest clubs in the country they certainly have the biggest impact on the game, culturally, socially and financially. However there is no get-out clause here for others.

We KNOW there is evidence of fraud surrounding the licencing issue in 2012. We KNOW there is evidence of a cover up over that, and the EBT-related registration issues for Old Rangers. We KNOW that the Five Way Agreement was signed by football authorities in the knowledge that it would rob their own rules of judicial authority with regard to compliance by RFC prior to 2012.

We also know that NOT ONE club has taken a meaningful stand against any of it.

Clubs are saying one thing to supporters and doing their best to derail those supporters’ efforts on the other. We can also infer (not unreasonably) that the folk who run the clubs think that we as fans have no right to interfere in how they run their operations.

As I said earlier, Celtic can do what they like whilst TIAR is live, but afterwards, however it ends, the fans and shareholders involved in Res 12 will still be asking questions. Celtic in particular know how fatal it can be to alienate their own fan base – a fan base that has flexed its muscles with devastating effect for the boardroom in the past. And it is the wrath of the fans of all clubs that will eventually see the charlatans get their just desserts.

Our job as fans is to continue to hold those who care little for the honour and beauty of football to account, to continue to press them on their refusal to deal with arguably the biggest sporting scandal in Scottish history.

The bottom line (which is of course what the folk in boardrooms care about) is this. They need us far more than we need them. As fans of different clubs, the sensibility of those of us at SFM recognises that the real battle, the real war, is not between rival fans or rival clubs, but between the arrogant, self-entitled clique who run our game; who lie for fun, who cheat and belittle the sport; and the good folk who make it possible for the game to prosper.

Resolution 12 is not just about Rangers – nor is it just about Celtic. It deserves to be embraced by every true football fan in the country. The Res 12 franchise needs to widened

Sooner or later the fans will demonstrate their unhappiness with the money men. They did it in 2012, and they will inevitably do so again.

654 COMMENTS

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  1. Homunculus 19th February 2020 at 17:40

    This is going to be interesting, Rangers are looking for new retail partners for 20/21

    ==================================

    I wonder what SDI will be thinking about their "matching rights" for next season that were upheld by Justice Persey last year.

    Notwithstanding the SDI complication, I worder if TRFC is looking to engage with a new retail operator that with give them a substantial sum up front for a multi year deal, to help with their cash requirements, a la JJB Sports.


  2. Ex Ludo 19th February 2020 at 18:34

    ==================================

    They are still tied to Sports Direct.

    Elite are holding back £2.5m and there will be a Court case

    Clearly the relationship with Hummel has totally broken down.

    They have changed their facebook status from "in a relationship" to "single".

    I would be surprised if the large companies are going to be getting involved in a bidding war for the business. 

     


  3. From Justice Persey's ruling in July 2019.

    As to the first point, I am not satisfied that Rangers will lose significant revenues. It has already received the revenues due in respect of the 2018/2019 season and, given the limited nature of the injunctive relief now sought, will likely receive those due from Elite in the 2019/2020 season. It will also be entitled to receive revenues from SDIR in respect of the 2020/2021 season.

    It appears that Persey clearly envisaged SDI exercising their matching rights for season 2020/21.


  4. 'John Clark 19th February 2020 at 15:47

    Have we any idea  what 'Charge 1-proved under deletion' may mean?…'

    #########################

    I am not a lawyer, but I suspect that since Hibs were found guilty of the 'other half' of a similar charge on 06.02.20 (which includes the phrase 'a hostile or argumentative situation with players and/or team staff from the opposing team') for the same incident during the match on 20.12.19, TRFC had no defence to their alleged offence & that their planned evidence of innocence/mitigation was invalid & impermissible (and thus deleted from proceedings). 

    I may be wrong: I often am!


  5. Homunculus 19th February 2020 at 18:35

    In other thoughts, what next for

    Murray Park … Auchenhowie … Hummel Training Centre … 

    ======================================

    …… Donnay Training Centre or Londsdale Training Centre might fit the bill.


  6. ICT isn’t very happy about the Keatings appeal being rejected.

    https://ictfc.com/club-statement-9

    This decision has cost our player the chance to play in a national Cup Final, not something that comes along every week, to the detriment of the player, his team mates, the club and our fans. We believe it also damages the credibility of our governing body and brings the game into disrepute. The decision is plainly wrong and the dogs in the street know this. We have no right to appeal this final decision and it is painful to accept.


  7. easyJambo 19th February 2020 at 19:37
    Murray Park … Auchenhowie … Hummel Training Centre …
    ……………..
    Will now be called the no longer murray park, the no longer Auchenowie, the no longer called Hummel Training centre,Tranor HQ.


  8. Sad person that I am but due to tribal loyalties I normally am happy when ICT lose! However the decision made by the SFA today to turn down the yellow card appeal is such an injustice that I am have to agree with the statement they have issued. I will even contribute to any crowdfunding required if the SFA decide to punish them financially! 


  9. John Clark 19th February 2020 at 15:47

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    easyJambo 19th February 2020 at 15:13

    ‘…….Further good news for TRFC is that £5,000 of the fine is suspended.

    Have we any idea what ‘Charge 1-proved under deletion’ may mean?

    From the SFA website ( which incidentally still seems to show Regan as CEO!):

    “Principal hearing date: Tuesday 18 February 2020

    Outcome:

    Charge 1 – Proved under deletion

    Sanction – £5000 fine, £3000 immediate and £2000 suspended until End of Season 2019/20 …..”

    And is ‘suspension” conditional on good behaviour for the rest of the season?

    Or was there a plea that “we can only manage £10 000 of the £15 000 at the moment. Gi’e us some time to pay the rest, eh?
    …………………
    The offset rule.


  10. Homunculus 19th February 2020 at 17:40     

     This is going to be interesting, Rangers are looking for new retail partners for 20/21.

    —————————————————————————————-    

          So the legal dispute with Uncle Mick is sorted now, is it?

          Sounds more tactical than actual H…..Maybe the Sevco SLO has been getting it tight regarding next season's kit, when the chances of reaching next season should be the question. (Haven't they realised Sevco are still £10m short of finishing this one?).

       I'm not buying a public announcement surrounding negotiations, which are generally conducted under a veil of secrecy until the "Big reveal"….

         Methinks it's merely something to settle the unsettled…….And it's doing the trick, judging by the excited chatter on Sevco medja…….They've forgotten all about tumbling down the league…….If only for a short while..  broken heart


  11.  eJ

    "…the decision is plainly wrong and the dogs in the street know this…"

    =============

    Ha!

    That's a classy deliverance of a swift kick to the SFA goolies!

    And, yet…

    if the SFA CEO Maxwell wasn't a useful, overpaid puppet [or marionette indecision ], 

    this could be an opportunity to establish his own credibility -and to show everyone that the SFA can indeed change.

    [Bear with me on this!]

    I'd guess as CEO, he must have some Executive privilege whereby he can – by exception – overrule or rescind an SFA sanctioned decision?

    In this example, what if Maxwell stepped in to have the decision set aside ?

    Of course, the blazers' heads might explode as they frantically reached for the rule book.

    But, it would send a powerful message – both to the SFA staff and to the long suffering, paying customers / supporters.

    (I know, wholly hypothetical…).


  12. To be fair on Rangers we should also probably consider the latest development in their Everyone Anyone campaign.

    https://rangers.co.uk/news/headlines/everyone-anyone-fans-charter/

    Extracts

    “It is 2020, there is no place in football or indeed society for racism, homophobia or anti-social behaviour. Ibrox is a place where we can all come together, celebrate our diversity and enjoy the football.

    “We have achieved much since our launch, but we cannot become complacent and the campaign will evolve in the weeks and months ahead. The launch of the Fans Charter is the latest strand of this initiative and going forward any supporter buying a season ticket or match tickets will be expected to sign up for this new code of conduct.”

    The Everyone Anyone Fans Charter

    I pledge to play my part in the initiative by:

    • Acting as an ambassador for Rangers at all times by being respectful, tolerant and inclusive
    • Raising awareness of the Everyone Anyone diversity and inclusion campaign
    • Appreciating that despite our many differences, we are all united in our support for Rangers
    • Respecting supporters and groups who share contrary views and beliefs
    • Acknowledging we should all feel safe, welcome and wanted at Rangers matches
    • Recognising the barriers people may experience because of their identity
    • Standing up and being an ally for those who experience discrimination
    • Rejecting pre-conceived stereotypes about Rangers fans, players and staff and their identities
    • Assisting Rangers to showcase our varied fanbase by setting a positive example at matches
    • Accepting there is no place in society for bigotry, racism, sectarianism or homophobia
    • Reporting discriminatory language and behaviour whenever I witness or experience it
    • Being aware of how my behaviour and language might impact on others
    • Understanding there will be sanctions for discrimination and anti-social behaviour

  13. Jimmy Bones 19th February 2020 at 17:01

    '..you would find him guilty under deletion of the sub-heads he wasn’t involved in".'

    _____________
    Grateful to you, JB. 

    It's puzzling , though.

    Why would there  be charges against a party if they could be deleted because he wasn't involved? Sounds like the 'charge' sheet was made up by the same PF who produced the charge sheet against the 'conspiracy' of the alleged conspirators  Green, Whyte and the others!broken heart


  14. Homunculus 19th February 2020 at 21:39

    ‘..To be fair on Rangers we should also probably consider the latest development in their Everyone Anyone campaign…’

    Sadly, Homunculus, the ‘Charter’ is missing one very important pledge:

    ” I pledge to play my part in the initiative by:telling the truth that TRFC, as a club newly admitted to Scottish Football in 2012,  is not Rangers football club of 1872  and is consequently telling an untruth and making false claims when it attempts to claim to be that club. In the interests of Sporting Integrity I  will uphold the self-evident truth that sporting titles and honours can only be claimed by the clubs that actually won them.”

    Without that, the ‘Charter’ is pointless and dishonest and simply a diversionary, hypocritical exercise.

    And there can be no moving on with unrepentant cheats.


  15. Extracted from the latest Ibrox statement, re: new kit supplier;

     

    "…Furthermore, Rangers will celebrate its landmark 150th year in 2022, which represents a unique opportunity for the successful partner to join the anniversary celebrations."

     

    Yet another reason to hope that the Ibrox club is dead – and buried – sooner, rather than later…  ​​​​​​


  16. StevieBC

    Agreed, my own club, celtic, facilitate it as well, that's why I no longer spend money in scottish football, its a laughing stock 


  17. The latest advertising for a kit manufacturer to bid for a deal for next season is an act of desperation or should I say another act of desperation. What it is telling us is nobody has approached them even though they will be well aware a deal is up for negotiation and any approaches made by Rangers* to encourage a deal have been rebuffed . Why would anyone waste their time and money preparing an offer that Ashley merely has to match in order to seal the deal .Why would a rival company prepare a deal that has to be shown to Ashley.  Their past is now coming back to haunt them , they are toxic , they cannot be trusted and King is still hiding behind the curtain . The man they all wanted , the man they sacrificed a real billionaire and successful businessman for , the man that everybody without blue tinted specs warned them about will be the man that condemns them to insolvency. 


  18. Timtim

    The Simmet and Pants Park

    I near died laughing.

    'Simmet and Pants of Argyle Street'

    Fine purveyors of footballing apparel since 2020

     

    James Bisgrove, Rangers’ Commercial and Marketing Director commented: “We’re delighted to announce that we shall be engaging with potential partners that can deliver an official Rangers kit supply and retail operation that mirrors the demand of the club’s global fan base.”

    I put that quote into google translate. It came up with the Spanish phrase 'estamos jodidos'.

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