Guest Blog by Shyster and Shyster
Anyone hoping for some “on the record comments” made under oath in the Kinloch v Coral case is Court last week would have been sorely disappointed.
Like many people I followed James Doleman’s tweets from Court with interest. However, it became clear very early on in the proceedings that there was to be no seminal moment in the OCNC debate – despite the obvious defence available to Coral which would have made it so.
A tweet from Mr Doleman (see below) makes it clear that Coral sent a letter to Mr Kinloch explaining the reason why they would not pay out on his bet.
The reason, in a a sentence was that “Rangers were demoted, not relegated”.
Here is that Tweet from Mr Doleman.
I assume then, that an employee of Coral communicated this letter to Mr Kinloch without getting it “legalled” first.
That is extraordinary for a number of reasons; firstly, it is factually incorrect, and secondly it can be argued that this position leaves Coral open to exposure in other areas.
I find it difficult to imagine how this letter left Coral without the approval of their legal people, especially given that £250K plus legal costs was at stake.
If I was in Kinloch’s position, I would on the phone to the nearest no-win-no-fee lawyer I could find, because in the light of their explanation for refusing to settle the bet, and using terminology that Coral would understand, he is better than evens to win the case.
I think it would be fair to conclude this employee may be facing disciplinary action, and that this action will turn up as a case study in the training manuals sitting on shelves in every bookmaker shop in the country.
However just because the OCNC debate sat on the bench last week it doesn’t mean there wasn’t something juicy on show. The SPL’s legal representative, Rod McKenzie – a defence witness in the case – made some very interesting comments in his evidence.
Before I go into his comments further I would like to address some unfair criticism aimed at Mr McKenzie. As most of us know, he is the lawyer who helped create in elusive 5 Way Agreement.
Nothing has blurred the lines of the OCNC debate more than this document, and Mr McKenzie himself is most likely to have authored the 5 Way Agreement, and provided a rationale for his client, the SPL signing up to it. But the SPL would have outlined what they wanted in the Agreement, so any anger directed at McKenzie is misdirected. He was, quite rightly, looking after the interests of his client. It is not his fault that his client is an idiot.
Notwithstanding this, Mr McKenzie said – or rather didn’t say – some very interesting things.
- He told us that the 5 Way Agreement contains (what appears to be) nuclear grade confidentiality clauses.
- He couldn’t – or wouldn’t provide a definition of Relegation.
The man who wrote the rules for the SPL says he cannot define relegation. Well he can, but he chooses not to.
Conclusion? I can only infer that there is something in the 5 Way Agreement that precludes him from saying more.
I have seen (online) what are alleged to be draft versions of the 5 Way Agreement. In Football term though, and despite of existing Corporate Law, the OCNC debate cannot be fully settled until the actual and final terms of this agreement are known.
If only there was a way to see that document.