Readers may be aware that the group Fans Without Scarves have written to Celtic urging them to seek a review of Scottish football (See here)
On the back of that laudible effort, I have been persuaded to publish a letter I sent to that same board over a week ago (on 8 November)
At the time of publication, I have received no acknowledgment. Some organisations are like that, of course. (I put it down to the inferior quality of the social upbringing of their boards rather than concern for their postage bill)
The following is the text of that communication;
Mr I Bankier,
Celtic Football Club plc
Celtic Park, Glasgow G40 3RE
Dear Mr Bankier,
You will, of course, recall as clearly as I that, at the Celtic plc AGM in 2013, the Resolution bearing number 12 on the agenda was not formally debated and voted upon, but was adjourned indefinitely.
I understand that over the intervening years (!) a number of conversations and discussions have taken place between the Board and the immediate proposers of Resolution 12 (among whom, I should perhaps say, I was not numbered in 2013 and am not now numbered).
As an eventual outcome of those discussions and conversations, as again you will recall, Celtic plc in September 2017, shortly before that year’s AGM, entrusted to the Scottish Football Association [SFA] the task of undertaking a thorough investigation into the circumstances under which the Union of European Football Associations [UEFA] granted a UEFA-competitions licence to the then Rangers Football Club in 2011.
Unfathomably, it was not until May of this year that the Compliance Officer of the SFA referred the matter to the Judicial Panel Disciplinary Tribunal [JPDT]
In that same month of May 2018, evidence emerged that appeared to cast serious doubts on the legitimacy of the award of the UEFA licence to Rangers Football Club in 2011.
In late June 2018, and following careful consideration of that evidence, the legal representative of what is known as the ‘Res.12 Group’ informed both the SFA and Celtic plc of these doubts, passing to those bodies copies of the evidence which gave rise to those doubts.
In July 2018, The Rangers Football Club Ltd challenged the reference to the JPDT, arguing that the appropriate authority to which any such reference ought to have been made is the Court of Arbitration for Sport [CAS]
This challenge has apparently and inexplicably frozen all action by the JPDT.
To my eye, as a small shareholder, it appears that the Board of Celtic plc have been and continue to be at the very least dilatory and lukewarm if not yet totally remiss in looking after the interests of their shareholders.
It is now November: the reference by Celtic plc to the SFA was made over one year ago. Even by reference to the civil Courts let alone to the internal disciplinary body of a not very large sports governance body such as the SFA, that is an unconscionably long time for a reference not to have been acted upon. I now feel obliged to ask the following questions:
- Have the Celtic Board pressed the SFA to say what action they have taken vis-vis the challengemade to the legal powers of the JPDT to investigate the circumstances surrounding the award of the licence ?
- If they have not done so, would they care to give their reasons why not?
- If the response from the SFA was that the matter of the jurisdiction of the JPDT has been referred elsewhere (to UEFA or to the CAS), are the Celtic Board content with that response and prepared to take such subsequent monitoring action as may be necessary?
- If the SFA have not referred the question of jurisdiction elsewhere, have the Celtic Board ascertained at what stage the JPDT’s investigation is at, or even whether it has yet begun?
- If the Board have been told that the JPDT has stalled, perhaps indefinitely, what does the Celtic Board propose doing to ensure that the investigation that they were assured would be undertaken will indeed be undertaken by the JPDT as a matter of priority, with a timetable for completion?
- Does the Celtic Board actually trust the SFA/JPDT to investigate thoroughly, honestly and deliver true judgement? Is it not time that a vote was taken to pass ‘Res 12’, based on what is now known by Celtic plc, and the matter formally referred by Celtic plc to UEFA to investigate as thoroughly as was done in the recently reported cases of the Albanian, Serbian and Kazakhstan national associations?
The Celtic Board must keep in mind their obligations to shareholders. This would be especially so where there may be grounds for suspecting chicanery on the part of others, in consequence of which Celtic plc might have been denied an actual, defined sum of money and the opportunity potentially to compete for much more in ‘prize’ money.
In such circumstances it would not be at all for the Board on its own authority simply to ignore the possibility of chicanery and dismiss the matter.
There are sufficient grounds for me to believe that the award of a UEFA licence to the then Rangers Football Club in 2011 may have been made in the knowledge that that club was absolutely not entitled to that award.
In my opinion, the granting of a UEFA licence to the then Rangers FC in 2011 is not merely a ‘sporting’ matter, but one which might conceivably, in the absence of acceptable responses from the SFA/JPDT, require reference to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service.
The failure to date of Celtic plc to insist that the SFA take urgent action to fulfil the commitment they made that a thorough, independent investigation would be undertaken urges me to make such reference on my own initiative as a citizen who suspects that a crime may have been committed.
However, before taking such a step, I think I will await your replies to the questions above if you would be good enough to provide such.
name and address