Does Money Indeed Ruin Football?

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For those following the games, rooting for their favourite teams and feverishly discussing their matches between two glasses of ale, football is a mix of entertainment and something to be excited about. These fans are, in turn, a massive customer base for those behind football as a business: their dedication and following is the driving force behind broadcast rights, merchandise, and ticket sales, all of which turn a wonderful sport into a cash cow for those pulling the strings. As long as the game is fair, both in the field and behind the scenes, it’s a win-win for all parties: the players get their salaries, the fans get their quality football, and the business entities behind them, ranging from football betting operators to the teams’ owners, advertisers, sponsors, and such, all get their money. Like in every business, though, there are parties in football that don’t exactly operate according to the rules. Of business, that is.

What many people don’t realize, though, is that football goes beyond being simply a game. As MEP Stelios Kouloglou pointed out in an op-ed published on Euractive this April, football can often flow into different areas like politics and racial bias, pointing out that the emergence of Pelé, one of the best football players ever, was instrumental to significantly reducing racism in Brazil. Yet the democratic nature of football is degraded today thanks to all the money flowing into it. And the best example of this, Kouloglou writes, is the UEFA Champions League.

As he points out, the only clubs that can reach the Champions League semi-finals are from the “big 5” countries – Spain, Italy, France, Germany and Great Britain. And this happens not because there aren’t any talented teams in other countries but because of all the money flowing into the clubs nowadays. After all, not all clubs can afford to pay almost £200 million for a single player, no matter how talented and marketable the player might be. These big clubs with big money behind them syphon all the most talented players from all over the world, offering amazing transfer fees and strengthening their ranks – investing in their future success with the goal of keeping their fans’ attention pointed on them, and making even more money in the process.

And where there’s money, there must be scandals related to money. Corruption and tax avoidance run rampant across football, from the top of organizations like FIFA and UEFA down to local clubs and players, working with financial advisors like Kingsbridge that allegedly help them invest in ways that will grant them tax relief, schemes that “don’t work”, according to HM Revenue and Customs.

A few years ago, an unpopular opinion emerged in the press stating that the influx of big money into football will ruin it forever by attracting the “wrong kind of owners” that see clubs as their “cash cow”, among others. MP Damian Collins went as far as saying that “Running a big football club now is like running a Hollywood studio – it’s a content business. The money goes to the stars”. And this is one of the biggest issues today’s football faces that can ruin it forever.

395 COMMENTS


  1. Homunculus 3rd March 2019 at 11:24
    5 2 Rate This

    I think you have it spot on JC.

    The company which issued the side letters still exists, albeit being liquidated.

    The new club, if approached will simply say, sorry that’s not us you will have to speak to the people you have the deal with.
    ……………….
    Who would be the first ex-player facing ruin to raise his head above the parapet and state “I face ruin because the way my wages were paid at ibrox, i have a side letter that claims the club will see everything alright if the tax man came calling.But when i went to ibrox with my lawyers the club said it is has nothing to do with them”.
    Options for said players.
    1. Agree payment terms with the tax man, and hope you have enough to keep up the payments and keep the tax man from your door.
    2.Face ruin.
    3.Take the ibrox club to court to honour the side letters,after all they say they are the same club.
    4. Go public if the ibrox club tell you to do one.
    5. Face ruin and keep your mouth shut.
    6. CRY.

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  2. Ex Ludo 3rd March 2019 at 12:06

    '..But, but it’s the same club. Everybody says so.'

    """"""""""""""""""""""""""

    I don't suppose HMRC has made any approach to RIFC plc or the TRFC Ltd Board.

    It would be fun, though,  to see and hear the bumptious Blair trot out again the rubbish that there was a 'holding company' that went bust,

     lost its entitlement to be a shareholder in the company known as the SPL

     had to return its share certificate to that league,

    and in consequence of not being a member of a recognised league, lost its entitlement to membership of the SFA

    -and lost any right to participate  in professional football in Scotland.

    because, of course, if it had been as simple as that, there would have been no need for anyone to create a new football club and apply for admission of that club to a  recognised football league (any league, please, just let us in!)

    And it would fun to hear again a learned QC explain that such  new club is the identical entity that is presently in Liquidation, except of course that it is not the football club that paid players by means of an EBT, guaranteeing those players that if that wizard wheeze resulted in them owing tax , it would reimburse them any tax they had to pay. 

    Pure Blairian fantasy.

    Far more legally proper and easier to tell the truth: RFC of 1872 , the football club which employed football players , secretly paid them by EBT loans while promising to pay any tax looked for in connection with those loans , went into and is presently in Liquidation.

    The present day TRFC Ltd and RIFC plc are NOT that liquidated football club and made no payments to any of those football players who hold a 'side-letter', and are in no way liable for any of their tax debts, or the debts of RFC 1872 (IL).

     

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  3. Cluster One 3rd March 2019 at 13:31 

     

     

    Homunculus 3rd March 2019 at 11:24
    5 2 Rate This

    I think you have it spot on JC.

    The company which issued the side letters still exists, albeit being liquidated.

    The new club, if approached will simply say, sorry that’s not us you will have to speak to the people you have the deal with.
    ……………….
    Who would be the first ex-player facing ruin to raise his head above the parapet and state “I face ruin because the way my wages were paid at ibrox, i have a side letter that claims the club will see everything alright if the tax man came calling.But when i went to ibrox with my lawyers the club said it is has nothing to do with them”.
    Options for said players.
    1. Agree payment terms with the tax man, and hope you have enough to keep up the payments and keep the tax man from your door.
    2.Face ruin.
    3.Take the ibrox club to court to honour the side letters,after all they say they are the same club.
    4. Go public if the ibrox club tell you to do one.
    5. Face ruin and keep your mouth shut.
    6. CRY.

    _____________________

     

    It's not going to happen, but…

     

    The 5Way Agreement made TRFC responsible for the previous club's football debts. Now what if a player claims, and can put forward a good argument, that the money he owes HMRC is actually a football debt of Rangers Football Club, because he can show the court a contract that states Rangers Football Club will indemnify him against any claims from HMRC. 

     

    So, an EBT player takes his side letter (indemnity) to the Liquidators (BDO) and says he wants to claim against the club. BDO don't want to accept it (there's little enough in the pot) and say, 'TRFC have agreed to pay all football debts of Rangers FC. You are/were a footballer and the letter is part of your contract as a footballer. Go sue them'.

     

    Fanciful, probably, but I'd love to see it argued in court.

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  4. Re The footballing debt would the question not be which of the side letter holders made no footballing contribution whatsoever?

     

    so that’s Bob Malcolm stuffed for starters!

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  5. Lots of EBT chat on here today. I think it was PMGB who stated that this mess would take 10 years to work through such a legal mine field. It looks like it could take much longer.

    It would prove a severe test of former players’ loyalty for them to consider taking either iteration of Rangers to court and some of them might not have a side letters in any case. Based on the interims and the Close loan it would seem suing Rangers (IL) is a better option.

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  6. Allyjambo 3rd March 2019 at 16:54
    The 5Way Agreement made TRFC responsible for the previous club’s football debts. Now what if a player claims, and can put forward a good argument, that the money he owes HMRC is actually a football debt of Rangers Football Club, because he can show the court a contract that states Rangers Football Club will indemnify him against any claims from HMRC.

    So, an EBT player takes his side letter (indemnity) to the Liquidators (BDO) and says he wants to claim against the club. BDO don’t want to accept it (there’s little enough in the pot) and say, ‘TRFC have agreed to pay all football debts of Rangers FC. You are/were a footballer and the letter is part of your contract as a footballer. Go sue them’.

    Fanciful, probably, but I’d love to see it argued in court.
    ………………….
    Options.
    1. Face ruin.
    2. Face the wrath of the fans

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  7. Ex Ludo 3rd March 2019 at 18:50

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

    I think it would be throwing good money after bad.

    They would have to ask the club, through BDO to pay their tax debt for them.

    BDO would refuse, saying they were not a creditor and even if they were they wouldn't be a preferred one anyway.

    They would then have to sue the club, through BDO for breach of contract.

    Even if they won, and that is by no means certain after all this time, it would probably just become another debt which they might get a small dividend on.

    Sounds like a waste of time and money to me. 

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  8. Making a claim from the OC administrators may be complicated by the fact that both HMRC and EBT recipients would be claiming for the same unpaid tax. As Homunculus noted the financial returns would be meagre even if the claims were successful. It might clarify whether they satisfied the football creditors rule however. If this was followed by an invocation of NCs 5 way agreement undertaking then things could become very interesting.

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  9. Spikeyheid@20.40

    I’m speculating here but if the new club did not meet the terms of the 5 way agreement in relation to football debts then the SFA would be in a difficult position as it might render the whole 5 way deal null and void. 

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  10. This caught my eye five minutes ago:

     

    "Disciplinary Tribunal Update | Selkirk FC

     

    Friday 1 March 2019

    Alleged Party in Breach: Selkirk FC

    Disciplinary Rule allegedly breached: Disciplinary Rule 1
    All members shall:

    (a) observe the principles of loyalty, integrity and sportsmanship in accordance with the rules of fair play;
    (b) be subject to and shall comply with:
         (i) the Articles;
         (ii) this Protocol;
         (iii) the Cup Competition Rules;
         (iv) the Registration Procedures;
         (v) the International Match Calendar;
         (vi) Club Licensing Procedures; and
         (vii) any statutes, regulations, directives, codes, Decisions promulgated by the Board, the Professional Game Board, the Non-Professional Game Board, the Judicial Panel, 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 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;
    (f) behave towards the Scottish FA and other members with the utmost good faith.

    Principal hearing date: Thursday 28 February 2019

    Response date: 18 February 2019

    Outcome: Termination of membership."

    <

    Anyone got the full story on Selkirk's case?  What did Selkirk FC actually do/not do:field ineligible players? tell lies to the SFA about the remuneration they were paying their players, or on their licence application form? No, couldn't have been any of those, if we follow precedent!

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  11. spikeyheid

    '.. If this was followed by an invocation of NCs 5 way agreement undertaking then things could become very interesting'

    **************

    Yes. The 5-Way Agreement was/is a devilish agreement under which a wickedly  deceitful narrative was constructed and passed off as Truth, by members of 'governance bodies' who perversely arrogated to themselves powers which their Articles of Association did not grant them.

    In doing so, they acted with dishonour and in a way contrary to the fundamental  purpose of their very existence as governance bodies.

    They made shameful liars of themselves, and their lie has eaten away at, and will continue to gnaw, the very vitals of Scottish Football, and destroy any credibility it has as a clean sport.

    Anything now that would bring that rotten, corrupt Big Lie out into the gaze of the wider world of football and bring about condign punishment for the liars and restoration of Truth would be most welcome.

     

     

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  12. When I put forward the idea that Rangers' EBT players might use the 5Way Agreement as a sueability (just made that word up mail) conduit to TRFC, I was doing it rather tongue in cheek. Not just because I have no way of knowing if success would be even remotely possible, but because I cannot imagine a player being prepared to risk what Neil Lennon, and some less well known innocent people, have had to face as a result of, well nothing much, really, just not being people who kowtow to the idea of an 'establishment football club'. Imagine what those EBT players, merely trying to enforce an agreement entered into by a football club, at that football club's instigation, would face!

     

    And to think that this blog was about the effect too much money is having on our game…

     

    Rangers really were a club like no other, with the new Ibrox club, TRFC, carrying on with all the despicable 'traditions' that made it so.

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  13. bordersdon 4th March 2019 at 09:26

    "John Clark last night

    Story in local paper re Selkirk FC..

    *****************

    Thanks, bordersdon, for that link.

    A sad wee story. I hope Ms Davison was provided with all the practical help she needed.

     

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  14. A sad tale of Selkirk Football Club, we can only hope that a new club will be formed for the sake of the game in the area and for the people of Selkirk.

     

    I know nothing of how these clubs operate, but I am certain that, over the years, many people will have dedicated their time and money to keeping the club afloat, while some, no doubt, were happy to take the local kudos and use their association with the club to their business advantage. It would appear Ms Davison is of the former category and I hope she I not abandoned by the Lowland League, and, in particular, by the SFA, and is given all the help and advice that our august governing body can give.

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  15. bordersdon 4th March 2019 at 11:01

    '..John Clark @ 09.59Bobby Johnstone was Selkirk FC's most famous player and there were close links with Manchester City due to that. A nice article on this (if the link works?) by a gentleman called John Leigh if you scroll down to tweet by David Knox. If you are interested that is.'

    ********************

    Yes, I found that a really interesting piece, and thank you for the link.

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  16. If they have cash flow issues why not just do a pre-sale of season tickets. I think there are companies which will do that for a commission. 

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  17. Homunculus, you are very naughty!

     

    We will ALL know that the game for TRFC is finally, absolutely over if/when they try to securitize ST sales…

     

    And meantime, they are definitely playing with fire taking cash from Close, again.

     

    Oh dear, what a pity, nevermind. 

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  18. StevieBC 4th March 2019 at 15:57

    To be fair there's not a great deal of difference, other than the fact that one is a pre-sale, but you have to pay a whacking big commission. The other is a loan on which you have to pay a whacking big lump of interest.

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  19. Allyjambo 4th March 2019 at 07:34
    22 1 Rate This

    When I put forward the idea that Rangers’ EBT players might use the 5Way Agreement as a sueability (just made that word up mail) conduit to TRFC, I was doing it rather tongue in cheek. Not just because I have no way of knowing if success would be even remotely possible, but because I cannot imagine a player being prepared to risk what Neil Lennon, and some less well known innocent people, have had to face as a result of, well nothing much, really, just not being people who kowtow to the idea of an ‘establishment football club’. Imagine what those EBT players, merely trying to enforce an agreement entered into by a football club, at that football club’s instigation, would face!
    …………….
    They could face ruin if they don’t.
    Choices.
    1. Face ruin.
    2. Face a fan backlash.
    3. Face the wife.

    View Comment

  20. easyJambo 4th March 2019 at 14:17
    8 0 Rate This

    TRFC Ltd has followed up the floating charge in favour of Close Leasing, that was lodged last week, with a “Standard Security” over the Albion Car Park and Edmiston House.

    https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/SC425159/filing-history/MzIyODM3MDI4NWFkaXF6a2N4/document?format=pdf&download=0
    …………………..
    Looking back to when they cleared the credit facility the last time, i was surprised it was only November 26, 2018.
    https://www.scottishfinancialnews.com/article/rangers-clear-credit-facility

    So just about 3 months later they are back in again.

    View Comment

  21. When the debt facility was cleared last time.
    Rangers managing director Stewart Robertson said after announcing the facility at the beginning of this year that it will allow the club greater financial flexibility, “another key step towards normalising the business”.

    He added: “Some folk take pleasure in winding us up because we don’t have a bank facility but this is the next stage in moving the club forward and getting it onto a sensible business footing.”

    But Dave King said after announcing pre-tax losses for the year to June 30, 2018 of £14.3m, having more than doubled for a second year, that there were no questions being asked about the club’s financial strength when dealing with suppliers, financial institutions and other clubs.
    https://www.heraldscotland.com/news/17255126.rangers-property-including-wifi-and-tv-screens-released-after-3m-debt-facility-is-cleared/?ref=rss
    ……………..
    will allow the club greater financial flexibility,
    That flexible, it’s back cap in hand to the same credit facility.

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  22. Cluster One 4th March 2019 at 18:15

    They would have been worth the stated amounts then , but does depreciation pay no part in assessing their value ? Could the loan be for less , or assets other than those stated pawned as well ?

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  23. Not wanting to be accused of whataboutery, but when can we expect the BBC report of when sevco will have to pay for the damaged seats up at Aberdeen on Sunday.

    I only ask as the beebs sports pages last couple of days have listed about Celtic having to pay for damages seats at Easter road(80 I think was stated), sectarian abuse of Boyd(and coin throwing although it did look like a very big silver coin).and other things as well.

    The only thing mentioned about sevco was abuse on Clarke which the gasl did apologize for, the game where sevco supporters hit the linesman with a coin wasn't reported as done by their fans just as he was hit by supporters during the game.

    Maybe i/we am/are just being sensitive about the balanced reporting but I think until the smsm disappear and replaced by neutrals nothing will change

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  24. EJ at 19.01.

    Cheers for that EJ, I nearly choked on my lagavulan(that would have been a waste).

    I wonder what went wrong that they were quick off the mark at reporting the story.

    Maybe things wouldn't be so bad if the sms reported everything as clearly and fairly as they do with the other clubs, it might make the sevconians realise that they are correct that the smsm and the been are indeed biased but for them not against them

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  25. While I am on here can anyone tell me how to stop these annoying bar ads at the bottom of the page.

    I have done the normal accept or reject page but the ads just keep on coming any help would be welcome cheers

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  26. Trisidium 4th March 2019 at 23:25

    Excellent Twitter stuff on SL today with two of our number seemingly (and politely) on a divergent trajectory

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

    My involvement was probably down to timing more than anything else for me as I had just pinged off an email to Hearts arguing the same points.

    For anyone unsure of my position, I'm very much in favour of Strict Liability.

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  27. Strict Liabilty is a highly relevant discussion under the current  blog about football and money.

    Our clubs seem to willingly accept strict liability when they take the UEFA silver.

    It seems to me that there are no convincing arguments for not having strict liability in domestic football. 

    It won’t be the only answer in combatting some of the societal ills but football has to stop its current role where it is directly and indirectly by used to normalise inappropriate behaviours. 

     

     

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  28. How anyone who has witnessed the botched OBFA act by the SNP, and witnessed how arbitrary the rules are applied by the SFA can be in favour of strict liability is beyond me. There is no way in this world that such a system could be fairly applied in Scotland, and the notion  that a title race could be decided by it is crazy. Personally I am just in favour of the Police and Stewards who football clubs pay heavily for being more pro-active in doing their jobs. 

    In my opinion Scotland is not the quite the welcoming multi-cultural society some politicians claim it to be. Strict liability in some cases would be like giving a fox the key to the hen house. I can only imagine three anonymous people deciding team A will be docked points, while team B for an offence which appears exactly the same are not.  It's also worth noting that it doesn't work in Europe, given the number of re-offences that occur.

    There needs to be an adult debate about how to resolve the current issues, but it needs to involve more than arrogant, agenda driven BBC sportswriters and grandstanding politicians, who currently appear to be the only people allowed a say. Something stinks to the high heavens. 

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  29. https://twitter.com/TheScotsman/status/1102844771847028741?s=20

    Money and football again. Minimum asking price for a certain Colombian footballer. See above.

    FWIW, strict liability for non UEFA games could cause more problems than it solves. Let’s say a season ticket holder who comes to the game to watch the match and doesn’t get involved in any shenanigans can’t get to his/hers seat because that particular stand  has been closed due to the shenanigans of others then said season ticket holder could sue the Club and or the SFA for breach of contract.

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  30. Cluster OneCluster One 4th March 2019 at 18:06

     

     

    Allyjambo 4th March 2019 at 07:34
     

    When I put forward the idea that Rangers’ EBT players might use the 5Way Agreement as a sueability (just made that word up mail) conduit to TRFC, I was doing it rather tongue in cheek. Not just because I have no way of knowing if success would be even remotely possible, but because I cannot imagine a player being prepared to risk what Neil Lennon, and some less well known innocent people, have had to face as a result of, well nothing much, really, just not being people who kowtow to the idea of an ‘establishment football club’. Imagine what those EBT players, merely trying to enforce an agreement entered into by a football club, at that football club’s instigation, would face!
    …………….
    They could face ruin if they don’t.
    Choices.
    1. Face ruin.
    2. Face a fan backlash.
    3. Face the wife.

    ______________

    I suspect the new club's 'impecuniosity' will have a greater bearing on whether or not a player sees the 'risk' worthwhile, regardless of what his wife might say.

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  31. Immediately freeze any and all public monies due to the SFA – until there is satisfactory evidence that they are competently governing Scottish football.

     

    That would be guaranteed to wake up the blazers at Hampden, and force them into taking meaningful action.

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  32. Re the Scottish Cup Semi-Final TV coverage..

    At first glance, it looks like Premier Sports will select the Aberdeen/ TRFC v Celtic tie on subscription basis.

    Am I reading this right ( I know that BBC One will cover the Final)?

    If so, I for one don't fancy paying an annual subscription (£100) as I'm not interested in NHL, Basketball, Squash etc (some of the other stuff covered).

     

    So – yes. Money is indeed ruining football.

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  33. Every club has its share of idiots.

    Some clubs sing offensive songs week in week out and get away with it

    Cant see strict liability ever being brought in

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  34. I am afraid people don't seem to get the main jist of strict liability.

    The whole point is to get the vast majority of right minded football supporters onside so that they can go and watch 22 folk kick a ball around the park.

    At present we are being dictated to by a minority who seem unable to simply enjoy attending a sporting event without the needless add-ons. 

    Then we start worrying about an even smaller minority who may be so sick and twisted that there are fears they will infiltrate the opposition fan base to cause trouble.

    We should not be dictated to by these factions. This is how you end up with idiots like Trump and Farage spouting their nonsense because people just let it go unchecked.

    I want to go and watch football to watch football. Its is as simple as that. Religion, Unionism, the formation of the Irish Free State, supporting the Armed Forces, the Palestinian cause, LGBT rights, chlorinated US Chicken, minutes silences/applause and wearing arm bands for all manner of non-football related issues are all issues that can be taken to George Square or a march from Princes Street to Holyrood.

    Over an Jamobs Kick-back some folks have highlighted some zoomer with a wooden framed canvas Union Jack, waving it around at the recent St Mirren game. WTF is that all about. Apparently at least two got huckled out with one looking to his fellow fans querying who the Catholics were in our support, perhaps forgetting that Captain Berra went to Catholic primary and high schools in the city when growing up. Hopefully (as was the view from nearly all posters on Kick-back)  a life time ban from Tynecastle is on its way to these wasters.

     

    On Celtic blogs I see folks complaining that (similar to the Tartan Army and other club loyalty points scheme) the Green Brigade faction is in that cycle of always getting tickets for away games because they build up loyalty points to the extent other fans don't get a look in. Therefore you embolden their bad behaviour at away games because they feel special and untouchable. A ballot idea for a fairer allocation of away briefs  was then knocked on the head by some and the argument descends into "we are more loyal Celtic fans that you are!!! So once again with a season ticket base of 52,000 at Celtic Park a small minority rule the roost.

    Strict Liability will give the majority of fans the voice to say, "treat us all equally, you are costing your club points and money and PS- Take your shyte elsewhere."

     

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  35. I just finished watching a show on Netflix called Behind The Curve. It’s about the handful of Americans who believe that the Earth is flat.

    If you watch it, and I recommend the show, don’t go into it expecting bug-eyed maniacs; one crazy internet lunatic aside that’s not what you’ll get. Instead these appear to be very rational people … except that they share a completely irrational belief.

    These earnest, decent, folk appear absolutely harmless until near the very end when at a conference a kid aged 12 gets up; he’s a “third generation” Flat Earther, and one of his people tells a story about how when, in his class, the teacher declares that “as everyone knows the planet is a globe” around one third of the kids shout “no it isn’t.”

    And everyone in the room applauds that story, as if it’s not horrifying.

    As a professor points out, this is how you get to a point where a sizeable part of the population believes that the 99% of mainstream science that supports the global warming hypothesis has it wrong. In UK terms, it’s how a man like Michael Gove can go on national TV during the EU Referendum and tell the audience that “people are sick and tired of experts” without it ending his career.

    He won his referendum, of course … and then there’s Trump, who I won’t even discuss.

    All over the world, ignorance masquerading as “alternative opinion” in on the rampage and it’s not at all difficult to spot these folk because all claim to be the font of all wisdom and knowledge and they invariably claim that all history which contradicts theirs is a hoax or a conspiracy.

    One of the Flat Earthers, a striking woman called Patricia Steer, at one point states her quite certain view that all the other conspiracy theories are mere threads of a “spiders web” at the centre of which is the round Earth fraud. This boggles the mind.

    Nobody who knows anything about Scottish football can be in the slightest doubt that the game here is replete with people the Flat Earthers would regard as fellow travelers.

    They are to be found in every club’s support but, worryingly, they seem to have sneaked their way onto boards of directors as well. And not all of them are obvious.

    The defining charactersistic of a flat-Earther, or any of the people who believe in crazy stuff, is that no amount of logic will change their minds. Evidence? It has to be fabricated. Ask them to produce their own – and some in the show do try – and you come up a blank.

    One of the areas in which conspiracy theories abound in football is when people talk about Strict Liability and how it would be used. I can think of a hundred reasons not to introduce it, but believe me one of them is not that fans might sneak into rival club’s games and try to get them done. It is a loony idea, taking things to an extreme which is quite ridiculous.

    I don’t even care that some allege it’s been done before. The handful who might actually try such a stupid thing would deserve everything they get upon actually acting on it.

    The point of Strict Liability is to force fans to self-police. Forget that this should be the job of the actual police; I understand, in part, what the intent here is.

    The way I understand it, if a fan who’s at a game with his mates does something untoward he’s relying on a code of silence to save his skin; how would a perfect stranger, there on his own, get away with it?

    He’d either be turned in to police instantly or something would happen which made him wish he had been. They’d get their hands on him soon enough and the scam would be blown.

    And this would be if he was able to get into the ground in the first place. Strict Liability would force the clubs to be much more serious about how it sells tickets. No purchase without a credit card would be a start, and the matching of every numbered stub to a person’s home address would be a useful weapon against any such behavior.

    Listen, I hate the idea of Strict Liability, but it’s not based on any conspiracy theory or outlandish prospect of fans from other clubs engaging in sabotage. I am not handing our inept political class, who made such a mess of the Offensive Behavior Act, a catch-all to demonize clubs and fans and turn grounds into mausoleums. I also don’t trust anyone – the SFA, the government, the police – to create a list of do’s and don’ts. It would be a nonsense.

    But I am not afraid of the SFA or anyone else trying to “rig” a title race; if you think clubs would stand for that, if you think they’d tolerate it, you are dead wrong.

    The first time a team was deducted points for arbitrary nonsense it would spark a showdown the likes of which the game here has never seen. It simply will not happen.

    If this is going to be stopped, we need real honest to God reasons for opposing it. Let’s start with how any effort to punish a club for political songs in the stands would be an all-out assault on free speech which should never be allowed to stand.

    Sectarianism is different, and so are racist chants. They are already criminal under the law; if the law (as it stands) is being used as a barometer then it would be a decent enough start … but the framers would still need to be careful.

    And whilst I do not believe the regulations would ever be used to deliberately disenfranchise a team, can you imagine the consequences if applying them inadvertently affected a close race? You would be as well to light the blue touch paper and throw it onto the gasoline.

    That, alone, is reason not to do it; even with the best will in the world it could cause exactly the kind of unrest that it is supposed to be discouraging.

    But if we go into any future discussion on such a regulation spouting flat-Earth nonsense the people on the other side of the table will view us with justified contempt. Anything we throw back at them would have to be grounded in reality and not in flights of fancy.

    From James Forrest

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  36. Ex Ludo 5th March 2019 at 08:40

    https://twitter.com/TheScotsman/status/1102844771847028741?s=20

    Money and football again. Minimum asking price for a certain Colombian footballer. See above.

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

    The first thing you need to have a sellers market is a market.

    Where exactly is the queue of people creating a bidding war for a decent (at SPFL level) striker, who has never really done anything of note in Europe, or at international level, with a seriously questionable mentality.

    The reality is more likely to be that a club playing at a decent level will come in with a reasonable bid. The player will tell the club to accept it or he will be "downing tools". 

    Football players are human being and are not bought and sold. Their registration is bought and sold but that is meaningless without the player signing a contract of employment. 

    The newspaper "article" is in fact an advert, they are telling people that he is now for sale, that the club need to cash in on his value. Selling off assets. The "minimum price" is really just to make it worth printing. by making it look like a story. 

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  37. Homunculus @11.02

    Its a zero cost piece that will get picked up by NewsnowRangers and end up all over the internet. T’Rangers fans will celebrate that the club has a major asset and agents in different countries will take notice too. Interestingly the player in question got more than a few mentions on ClydeSSB on Monday night. The pundits and callers all agreed he had been subdued following his booking and showed great maturity in not getting booked again thanks to the thoughtful guidance of his manager. No one said that he had been booked for simulation in the first place. That wasn’t in the script.

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  38. Ex Ludo 5th March 2019 at 11:25

    The pundits and callers all agreed he had been subdued following his booking and showed great maturity in not getting booked again thanks to the thoughtful guidance of his manager. 

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

    I love the whole "damned by faint praise" thing.

    If I remember correctly loads of players got booked in that game, none of them got a second yellow, does that mean they all showed great maturity thanks to the thoughtful guidance of their manager. 

    People get a yellow and don't get a second one all the time for Heaven's sake. It is only deemed worth mentioning for him because he is a lunatic. Which presumably the club will now try to sell as him having grown out of based on Steven Gerrard's wonderful man management. 

     

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  39. EJ

     

    I view Strict Liability in much the same way.  I care not a jot about what is said/sung/flung other than if it goes beyond normal, and by normal my measure is suitability for my pre teen kids attending with me,  then it will offend me personally.*

     

    As you say Strict Liability is not about the individual it is about the club.  It doesn’t matter if the club or members thereof thinks something should be said, sung or flung the point is if they’re told it shouldn’t happen then it doesn’t happen.  Period.

     

    And then in so dealing with a collective will (and you can call it dictat if you want), so the ‘normal’ individual will be rewarded.  Dissenters should feel free to take their concerns elsewhere whether there’s 5 of them or 50,000.

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  40. Wrt fans' behaviour , I don't get the bit about praising "the majority" for not transgressing when they've been in a position to influence things by their presence in numbers , but have chosen to say/do nothing to assist their clubs in attempting to deal with the undisciplined among them .Fly with the craws , get shot with the craws – equally culpable .

    Hadn't seen this before – well done the flock !

    Aberdeen fans hit out at the SPFL over the arrangement of the Betfred Cup semi-finals.

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  41. Wolves: Championship winners lost £1m a week during 2017-18

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/47453599

    Wolverhampton Wanderers lost more than £1m a week during their Championship-winning campaign last season.

    Wolves recorded a pre-tax loss of £57.16m for the year ending 2017-18, more than double the £23.18m they lost in the previous 12 months.

    However, the club were promoted to the Premier League as title winners in Nuno Espirito Santo's debut season as manager.

    They also turned over £26.4m and had an increase of £1.3m in ticketing income.

    In a statement on the West Midlands club's website, the pre-tax loss was attributed to increased expenditure on players, wages, and promotion bonuses. https://www.wolves.co.uk/news/club/20190305-headline-financial-information-for-201718/  

    Some of those signings include player of the season Ruben Neves and the loan acquisitions of Diogo Jota and Willy Boly.

    "Wolves' owners are committed to continuously improving the club, from both a footballing and wider operational and strategic perspective," said the statement.

    However, Wolves are showing no signs of a reduction in spending and the club have already spent £109m on players since being promoted to the top flight.

    https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/02487393/filing-history

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  42. Sannoffymesssoitizz @18.23

    I wonder how many more teams operate like that in the in EPL? Hopefully the income tax and national insurance payments are up to date. 

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  43. Bolton Wanderers: Millwall fixture may be postponed over safety concerns

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/47457750

    Bolton Wanderers have until 13:00 GMT on Wednesday to assure the local council that they have adequate safety provision for Saturday's Championship game against Millwall.

    Bolton Council, the club, local police and ambulance services met on Tuesday amid concerns Wanderers may not provide sufficient stewarding for the match.

    Greater Manchester Police are also owed money by the club for policing matches.

    "We are hopeful a resolution will be found," a council statement said.

    "The club has recently been unable to demonstrate it can meet the legal conditions of the ground's safety certificate.

    "After consultation with all members of the Safety Advisory Group, the council has taken the decision to give the club 24 hours to address all safety concerns, otherwise we will reluctantly issue a prohibition notice.

    "We understand some fans may be alarmed by this news, but the council is bound by legal process and we are not prepared to risk public safety by allowing any event to go ahead without proper resources in place."

    Bolton, who are 23rd in the Championship, said in a statement that they have "provided written assurances that they are able to meet the legal conditions."

    Players as well as full and part-time staff, including matchday stewards, have still not been paid their salaries for February.

    On Monday, part-time staff issued a statement saying they had not been given any information or apology by the club as to when their wages would be paid.

    In addition, Bolton's training ground was closed on Monday as the club's financial problems continue to mount, having already been issued a winding-up petition by HM Revenues & Customs last month.

     

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  44. Hibernian to get new CCTV after bottle thrown at Celtic's Scott Sinclair

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/47461590

    Hibernian are to improve the CCTV at Easter Road after their current system failed to identify the fan who threw a bottle at Celtic's Scott Sinclair.

    The incident took place during Saturday's Scottish Cup quarter-final as Sinclair prepared to take a corner.

    Hibs are now looking at fans' reports about the culprit and will invest in enhanced security "at no small cost".

    "Clearly this is also money we would rather be spending on football, said chief executive Leeann Dempster.

    "Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of our security personnel, we have been unable to pinpoint the individual through the existing CCTV set-up at Easter Road Stadium.

    "However, we are heartened that several supporters have been in touch to try and identify the person responsible and we are following up on those."

    Police Scotland are investigating after the glass bottle landed just yards away from Sinclair before referee Willie Collum retrieved it and passed to stewards.

    Dempster is adamant that serious action will be taken against the "mindless minority" who detract from "those spending their time and money to support Hibernian".

    "In future, there will be no hiding place for those few individuals who seek to tarnish the reputation of the vast majority who do Hibernian proud on a weekly basis at grounds all over the country," she added.

    "Any supporter caught engaging in behaviour that places players, staff and other fans at risk will be dealt with in the strongest possible terms available to us, whether that involves exclusion from Easter Road Stadium, a Football Banning Order or criminal prosecution when appropriate."

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  45. I think that a start could be made by making "away" tickets non-transferable , and printing the holders picture on the ticket .It would cost penies using technology .No admittance if your face didn't fit . I would imagine that the kids who seem to be causing most of the bother are not getting the tickets from the clubs . ( like the r soul with the smoke bomb in the wooden stand last night ).

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  46. Forgot to say last night.

    Did anyone else notice during the game last night as the Aberdeen fans started singing you are not rangers anymore, the commentator had the urge to go down the yellow brick road with a stat. about the last time these two clubs met in a scottish cup final. It was as if he had to say something to enhance the same club myth as the fans were singing otherwise.

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  47. More on Strict Liability. I was assured by someone who definitely knows that Government Regulators fine wealthier companies more for breaches of legislation despite less wealthy companies having exactly the same breach. I have no idea why other than to think they just use it as a reason to top up the coffers. I am absolutely sure that there are enough journalists and meddling MPs in Scotland who would be quite happy to see Celtic fined £400k for something that another club only gets fined £30k for. Also, if Celtic have a stand closed for the actions of 100 idiots, then 9,000 innocent punters are punished, whereas if 100 idiot fans of a smaller club cause exactly the same problem, they could most likely withstand the stand closure without any innocent punters losing out. 

    I sense vindictiveness, resentment and agendas everywhere at the moment, and I simply don't believe Scotland is a fair enough society to properly implement Strict Liability in  an honest, fair way. By all means it should be discussed as an option in terms of cleaning things up along with other options, but the platform being given to the current demands for it are as far removed from a democratic society as you will see. No-one, absolutely no-one, is being allowed an alternative platform other than on Social Media. 

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  48. paddy malarkey 5th March 2019 at 16:55

    The point is 'the majority' just want to go and enjoy a game of football. They are not paying money at the gates to be stewards or special constables.

    As discussed previously the danger in confronting the minority is the potential for violence, abuse and claims you are not a loyal fan. You may even be accused of being 'a grass'.

    I have personally intervened when a previous young team at Tynecastle were getting out of order on the concourse at half time, right in front of police. A friend tried to intervene regarding sectarian shouting from so called Hearts fans on a train but had to back off for fear of violence.

    The majority view on Jambos Kick_Back is that these idiots need to take there nonsense elsewhere and when bans for idiots are spoken about they are generally supported by posters. But the minority then start singing "we hate Kick-Back" at games. Why? Because they still feel invincible and they are somehow doing the club a favour with their presence.

    While I don't know the exact circumstances there was a video the other day of Celtic fans coralling Police in a corner, presumably because they had the temerity to maybe huckle a fan who was out of order. The mob however seemed keen to protect their own (phone cameras out etc) as opposed to ensuring the potential wrong doer was dealt with. This is the typical attitude you have to deal with when 'the minority' come together.

    I'm not picking on Celtic but, by chance there is social media evidence out there,  in Valencia a video shows an drunk fan kicking chairs and up turning a table outside a bar. People who appear to be locals end up having to move away. Next thing in another video, at what seems to be the same location, the batons are out.

    Yes heavy handed police tactics when compared to our boys in blue but the drunk fan appeared to be out of order. For his foolishness I'm guessing some folk who were behaving themselves,  i.e "the majority", took a few baton strikes from Spain's finest.

    What is the attitude I wonder?

    – Get this idiot to **** 

    OR

    – Thanks for the bruises and bashed skull pal but its OK your a good Celtic lad !!!

    The majority do more than enough but these idiots still continue to spoil it.

    Larger fines and points deductions are the only way forward in my view.

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  49. On strict liability, I am all for equity of treatment.

    The support at a football match are paying customers.

    If paying customers at a theatre started breaking the seats and throwing them about would the theatre owner be fined, would they have part of the theatre shut down by the authorities..

    If not why would it be OK to do it to the owners of a football stadium. 

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  50. To change the analogy, if fans go to see Take That and decide to do the same thing, should the band be fined for their actions, should they have future concerts cancelled, or the number of fans limited with people who have bought a ticket not allowed to go.

    Or should action be taken against the people committing the violent acts.

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  51. Has there been a summit yet? Have I missed it? Two managers went nose to nose a few years ago. The crowd were already departing the stadium but the incident was caught on camera and a national summit was convened before you could say “strict liability”. Instead we’ve had a very lopsided media debate but not much else. Not letting drunk people in would be a start as well as preventing alcohol from being brought in. The coin throwing will peter out as we will soon be a cashless society. There’s no incentive to frisbee your debit/credit card onto the field of play. Cold pies are a different story.

     

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  52. I wonder if Morelos' agents, World In Motion, have made representations to TRFC for a large increase in their client's remuneration?

     

     

    If not, why not? He's a £20m footballer after all angrymailenlightened

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