Charles Green – What Will Football’s Authorities Do?

Charles Green has declared war on the Scottish football authorities. His statement and that of Duff and Phelps today deserve detailed analysis, which is ongoing at McConville Towers as we speak, and will be concluded as soon as Stewart Regan, Neil Doncaster and Peter Lawwell tell me what to write.

For now, I wanted to speculate if Mr Green had managed to forget the terms of the SFA Rules, under which Rangers FC was censured for his comments some time ago. Mr Green could well have forgotten, as the censure took place as long as eleven days ago.

The relevant rules are as follows:

Rule 1: All member clubs shall:
(a) observe the principles of loyalty, integrity and sportsmanship in accordance with the rules of fair play;
(b) be subject to and comply with the Articles and any statutes, regulations, directives, codes, decisions and International Match Calendar promulgated by the Board, the Professional Game Board, the Non-Professional Game Board, the Judicial Panel Protocol, a Committee or sub-committee, FIFA, UEFA or the Court of Arbitration for Sport;
(c) recognise and submit to the jurisdiction of the Court of Arbitration for Sport as specified in the relevant provisions of the FIFA Statutes and the UEFA Statutes;
(d) respect of the Laws of the Game;
(e) refrain from engaging in any activity, practice or conduct which would constitute an offence under sections 1, 2 or 6 of the Bribery Act 2010; and
(f) behave towards the Scottish FA and other members with the utmost good faith.

Rule 2: Each member shall procure that its officials, its Team Officials and its players act in accordance with Rule 1.

Rule 66: No recognised football body, club, official, Team Official or other member of Team Staff, player, referee, or other person under the jurisdiction of the Scottish FA shall bring the game into disrepute.

Rule 71: A recognised football body, club, official, Team Official, other member of Team Staff, player or other person under the jurisdiction of the Scottish FA shall, at all times, act in the best interests of Association Football and shall not act in any manner which is improper.

Now let’s see where Mr Green might, through inadvertence, have sinned against those rules, accidentally of course. The following are extracted from his statement on the official Rangers FC website.

“Our lawyers have made that point repeatedly to the SPL in correspondence and yet our requests for an explanation from the SPL have been completely ignored. The SPL’s silence on these issues is deafening. The outcome of the SPL’s process will have no legal effect.

“Although the SPL goes to great lengths to emphasise the independence of its Commission, the Commission is not independent of the SPL. It has been appointed by the SPL. It follows SPL rules and its process is managed by SPL staff. I don’t question the impartiality of the individual panel members but whatever decision they reach is a decision of the SPL.

“Did the SPL launch an investigation? Did they appoint a Commission?  Did they ask to see EBT correspondence? Did they ask any questions at all?  No. They did absolutely nothing.

“What compounds the breathtaking hypocrisy of the SPL in this whole saga, is that the SFA, the SPL and us – as the new owners – took part in numerous discussions regarding the new company’s league status during which it was made clear that a deal was there to be done where ‘the EBT issue’ would be dealt with as part of a package of sanctions which would be implemented in return for membership of the SFA and a place in either the SPL or Division One.

“We do not accept that people who are willing to come to an agreement on such matters then have a right to instigate a full blown inquisition when matters do not unfold as they thought they would.

“In our view, it beggars belief that an authority which can be heavily involved in these discussions to the point that the Chief Executive Neil Doncaster repeatedly stated he was not interested in stripping titles from Rangers can lurch from that position to setting up its own Commission under the chairmanship of Lord Nimmo Smith.

“I must make it clear that we are not questioning for a moment the integrity of Lord Nimmo Smith and his colleagues but we believe the SPL have been hypocritical in their approach to this matter.

“Why is the SPL rushing to judgement now when it has been sitting on the matter for two years? Their haste is particularly difficult to understand when the tax tribunal judgement is imminent.

“The factual issues in both cases are identical. We have to ask why is the SPL so anxious to issue a judgement in this matter before the tax tribunal’s findings are made public.

“Nothing has changed as the judgement still has not been made public. Why is the SPL rushing ahead when in April the SFA felt it unwise to do so?

“Rangers was not the only club in Scotland to use EBTs yet nothing was done and little has been heard about it. Also, Rangers stands accused of achieving sporting advantage unfairly – yet there is little debate over the fact in all the years EBTs were in existence at Ibrox, the Club often failed to win either the league title, or the main cup competitions.

“The decision we have taken has not been taken lightly. There are powerful representatives from Clubs within the SPL – not all of them by any means – who appear hell bent on inflicting as much damage on Rangers as possible.

“It is lamentable that the Board and executive of the organisation have not been able to deal with this appropriately. We do not hold every SPL club in the same regard. Several clubs were placed in an invidious position and we believe their interests were not best served by those in more powerful positions.

“Furthermore, as a Club we are not satisfied that the issue of conflict of interest relating to advisers to the SPL has been satisfactorily dealt with.

“Once again I would thank our supporters for their patience and tolerance. They have been asked to take it on the chin time and again and we stand united in saying: No more.”

——————————————————

Have a read through these edited highlights once again…

The SPL’s silence on these issues is deafening … the Commission is not independent of the SPL … They (the SPL) did absolutely nothing … the breathtaking hypocrisy of the SPL in this whole saga … a full blown inquisition … it beggars belief that an authority which can be heavily involved in these discussions to the point that the Chief Executive Neil Doncaster repeatedly stated he was not interested in stripping titles from Rangers can lurch from that position … we believe the SPL have been hypocritical … There are powerful representatives from Clubs within the SPL – not all of them by any means – who appear hell bent on inflicting as much damage on Rangers as possible … It is lamentable that the Board and executive of the organisation have not been able to deal with this appropriately. We do not hold every SPL club in the same regard. Several clubs were placed in an invidious position and we believe their interests were not best served by those in more powerful positions … Once again I would thank our supporters for their patience and tolerance. They have been asked to take it on the chin time and again and we stand united in saying: No more.

——————————————————

Mr Green has issued a lengthy statement, as can be seen from the fact that what is shown above is only an extract from it. It is on the official Rangers website, and is stated to be by “Rangers Football Club”.

If this is not a declaration of war on the SPL and by extension the footballing authorities in Scotland, I don’t know what is.

I spoke to a friend who compared some of Mr Green’s recent statements to what has become known as “dog whistle politics”. There is little of the dog-whistle about this – instead it is a clear rallying cry to the loyal support of Rangers, which will, I am sure ensure that the turnstiles keep clicking at Ibrox for some time yet.

As of a few minutes ago the respective posts regarding the statement on two of the main Rangers FC fan sites showed a total of 867 posts and over 26,000 views. Not bad for a statement issued two hours ago!

I also suspect that the reaction there will be 100% positive.

Deciding that they are refusing to play and denouncing the process before the first hearing takes place is an interesting tactic. Now, if the Commission proceeds, in the absence of both oldco Rangers and newco Rangers and delivers a damning judgement, it will be ignored, it appears, by Mr Green and his company. And, if action is taken, then they propose to invoke the aid of the courts to stop disciplinary action happening.

What strikes me is that, once again, Mr Green is playing a masterful hand. He is a king of diversion. When the transfer of the SFA membership took place Mr Green said:-

“There remains, however, an outstanding issue with the SPL regarding EBTs.  As we have proved in the last couple of months we will stand up to any challenges that face Rangers and will continue to fight for the Club’s best interests.”

What he has managed to do is to build the impression that the one penalty, above all others, which newco will not accept, being the most horrendous possible, is the stripping of titles. Not being barred for all time from, membership of the SPL; not being suspended for a longer period than the next three years; not the imposition of further financial penalties…

No, the one penalty to be fought against, above all others, is one which will cost newco not a penny, and will in fact generate more support from the fans.

As I said, it is brilliant!

He has challenged the football authorities to take action, as indeed he promised he would. So much gratitude for the three ruling bodies pledging to “facilitate” Rangers entry to SFL3!

And as far as his attack on some, but not all, SPL teams, one wonders why he felt constrained from telling us who they were. After all, Ibrox is the home of clarity, transparency and free speech!

However the extracts above indicate numerous ways in which the rules quoted at the top of this piece are broken. Will the SFA have the courage of its convictions to take action? Will the SFL take any steps itself?

Or has Mr Green stared them down, and, as long as the share flotation comes along in the near future, enraptured the fans into subscribing in their thousands?

As has been the case ever since RTC started, this piece could end with the line:- we have no idea what will happen next; we will have to wait and see!

Posted by Paul McConville

1,814 Comments
  1. Charlie Brown


    torrejohnbhoy says:
    September 19, 2012 at 18:40

    TJB – there is every suspicion to believe that hearts current wages delay is at least in part attributable to the delays in receiving monies due to be received from the SPL and the aforementioned club/ex-club accommodated in the infamous 5 way agreement.

    Not that that excuses Hearts and our cash-flow projections and margins shouldn’t be so wafer thin that any delays in getting monies in causes 5 or more players to be late in getting their wages.

    View Comment
  2. Lord Wobbly


    Rangers fans could be asked to register their interest in a share
    issue as early as next month

    http://www.sportinglife.com/football/news/article/439/8092495/rangers-share-issue-gathers-pace

    View Comment
  3. Lord Wobbly


    CHARLES Green and Imran Ahmad have flown across the Atlantic for a four-day, four-city tour to meet North American fans.

    http://www.rangers.co.uk/news/headlines/item/2233-green-heads-to-north-america

    View Comment
  4. Danish Pastry


    justiceintegrity says:
    September 19, 2012 at 18:37
     1 0 Rate This
    Must be listening to a different sound bite but I don’t hear the words “I hope”..
    ———

    Me neither.

    On a different subject, fingers crossed for Scottish success in the CL tonight. The nation’s football needs a lift on the big stage.

    View Comment
  5. Lord Wobbly


    Danish Pastry says:
    September 19, 2012 at 19:01
    2 0 Rate This
    justiceintegrity says:
    September 19, 2012 at 18:37
    1 0 Rate This
    Must be listening to a different sound bite but I don’t hear the
    words “I hope”..
    ———
    Me neither.
    On a different subject, fingers crossed for Scottish success in the CL tonight. The nation’s football needs a lift on the big stage.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Good man.

    View Comment
  6. timtim


    http://www.btinternet.com/~k.miller18/ssb18th.mp3

    can I suggest those who cannot hear the “I hope” quote listen to this version
    if they still cannot hear it can I suggest cotton buds may help

    View Comment
  7. essexbeancounter


    Charlie Brown says:

    September 19, 2012 at 18:10

    Essex beancounter says:
    September 19, 2012 at 17:52
    0 0 Rate This
    ========================================================================

    precisely the reason why the football authorities should mandate a uniform & simplified standard set of accounting information that all clubs should and must provide concerning their operating income and expenditure, liabilities and cash-flow so that all clubs can be compared on a like for like comparison and to ensure that clubs can be evaluated to see if they are operating within key metrics like % of wages / income etc. The English Football League have implemented a set of budgetary and financial information clubs must provide and in future will refuse to accept player registrations if clubs are failing to achieve agreed parameters or would do so by agreeing contracts or future liabilities that would push them outwith safe / agreed limits.
    ===============================================================

    Charlie…your ideas and sentiments are admirable and I am aware of the English FA “regulations” re financial information.

    However, who will act as the “referee” in cases of dispute(s)? THe existing firms of accountants/auditors?

    We have already seen the banking crisis of 2008 in which banks failed or nearly failed, a few days after receiving a clean audit report from the so called “independent auditors”.

    However, I do think it is worthwhile pushing for a standard set of accounts and related information “across the board”, particularly with football clubs. There is unfortunately a big mountain to climb before such “standardisation” is accepted.

    View Comment
  8. Lord Wobbly


    Martin O’Neill has taken former Motherwell, Everton and Birmingham City attacker James McFadden on trial…

    http://www.sunderland.vitalfootball.co.uk/article.asp?a=293868

    View Comment
  9. Lord Wobbly


    The non-payment of player wages at Hearts is set to be on the
    agenda of a Scottish Premier League board meeting on Thursday.

    http://www.football365.com/scottish-football/8092651/-

    View Comment
  10. Galling fiver


    The irresponsible chap said “I hope”.

    Very pleased to read PL in the Scotsman today, my fears about the ” dual ” contracts issue being a carve up have been eased.

    No gloating on the Ramsden cup exit from me, as it would take away from what I thought was a very impressive QOS performance more than a poor Sevco one.

    As for the CG comments, last nights result, not performance, will empty more seats than a request to clean their act up ( if thats even what he meant). It’s win at all cost as this fiasco illustrates, thats why they have premier league players in the bottom tier. More rules will have to be broken if the Sevco I watched last night is to be competitive a year from now, whilst avoiding Groundhog day.

    View Comment
  11. Lord Wobbly


    Hi folks. Hope you don’t mind the avalanche of links. Just filling in time until kick-off.

    Perhaps anyone not following the game could take time out to discuss wider Scottish football issues while us Hoops fans are distracted 😀

    View Comment
  12. smallteaser


    Lord Wobbly says:
    September 19, 2012 at 19:14

    The non-payment of player wages at Hearts is set to be on the
    agenda of a Scottish Premier League board meeting on Thursday.

    http://www.football365.com/scottish-football/8092651/-
    ================================================
    Why is the non payment of the television revenue not on the agenda?
    It affects all clubs not just Hearts, I would have thought this was more immediate than the Hearts players being 4 days late at this point.
    Just wondered what the purpose is of an agenda when it would appear no published minutes are ever taken!!
    Looking at the governance its made up on a day to day basis anyway.

    “Hearts have said they are seeking to swiftly resolve the latest delay, which comes after a month which featured a glamour Europa League tie with Liverpool, while all 12 Scottish Premier League clubs are awaiting the latest instalment of television revenue amounting to £300,000 per club.”

    View Comment
  13. TSFM


    Looks as though there is an almost unanimous agreement on the signing in via WordPress.com.
    What we propose to do is as follows;

    We won’t make it compulsory until next Sunday (23 Sept) to give those who want to sign up with WordPress time to do it.

    At that time, we will remove the bad words list and the need for any moderation after the first comment is accepted. It should also make it easier to remove trolls who tend to change usernames every five minutes.

    To sign up for a username only (not a blog as well) at wordpress, go to

    https://signup.wordpress.com/signup/?user=1

    You can also get an avatar when you do that (another cause for complaint on here 🙂 )

    As I said earlier, we need to look past the end of our noses here. Rangers may be the biggest story right now, but it won’t always be. We are convinced that if we are to succeed, we need to have Rangers fans on board. The fact that they are largely absent (with a few notable exceptions) here has made it easy for us to indulge in pejorative language when referring to individuals associated with RFC and TRFC. By and large, that kind of language is not used to describe people associated with other clubs.

    We will post some suggested guidelines for posting, but we need to cut out the pejorative stuff, and COMPLETELY ban the H word (including the use of asterisks to circumvent the rule).

    Any suggestions which may help are welcome. Can you use the Contacts page to do so?

    UPDATE: New FAQ page now created to include some suggested posting guidleines. Comments on this are welcome.

    UPDATE: New post with new poll now up

    View Comment

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