One, er, Two Rules to Rule Them All

370
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Why the SPFL Decision to Deduct Points from Clyde FC For An administrative Error is Raising Eyebrows In Social Media and Encouraging Dancing Around The Lord Nimmo Smith Elephant in the Main Stream.

It was reported in the news that Clyde have been deducted points for fielding an ineligible player in two matches, news that has raised supporter eyebrows when a comparison is made with SFA and the then SPL treatment of ten years of imperfect players registration by the then Rangers FC and caused a bit of dancing in main stream media around the LNS Elephant.

When the existence of side letters that formed part of a players remuneration contract was revealed in March 2012, it prompted an investigation by the SPL into the eligibility to play football of players who had been provided side letters by Rangers FC that indemnified them from any loss should the ebt schemes , through which their main remuneration flowed, be deemed unlawful by HMRC.

The issue for the SPL then was were those players properly registered under SPL rules?

The common belief held until then being that incorrect registration made a player ineligible to play and any game an incorrectly registered player played in was void:

  1. Presumably on the basis the errant club had gained an on field advantage from incorrect registration and/or
  2. to act as a deterrent to clubs to deliberately conceal full registration details from the football authorities.

The result of games in which such a player played was treated as a 0-3 defeat and the 4 points gained deducted and 3 points each granted to their opponents.

To get answers the SPL, after seeking evidence of side letters accompanying any type of EBT from Rangers FC, established the Lord Nimmo Smith (LNS) Commission to identify if a breach of registration rules had occurred and what were the consequences in sanction terms.

It is interesting therefore to compare the following from the LNS Commission in respect of sanctions against Rangers FC for a breach covering ten years of incorrect registration with the sanctions against both Clyde FC over 2 games and Hearts over one game, based on what Lord Nimmo Smith said in his findings at 107 and 108 of his Decision.
Findings that 7 years later have caused social media eyebrows to raise to Roger Moore levels because of apparent contradictions arising from the justifications given for a financial sanction only in the LNS Decision.

LNS Decision basis 107 /108

[107]
We nevertheless take a serious view of a breach of rules intended to promote sporting
integrity. Greater financial transparency serves to prevent financial irregularities. There is insufficient evidence before us to enable us to draw any conclusion as to exactly how the senior management of Oldco came to the conclusion that the EBT arrangements did not require to be disclosed to the SPL or the SFA. In our view, the apparent assumption both that the side-letter arrangements were entirely discretionary, and that they did not form part of any player’s contractual entitlement, was seriously misconceived. Over the years, the EBT payments disclosed in Oldco’s accounts were very substantial; at their height, during the year to 30 June2006, they amounted to more than £9 million, against £16.7 million being that year’s figure for wages and salaries. There is no evidence that the Board of Directors of Oldco took any steps to obtain proper external legal or accountancy advice to the Board as to the risks inherent in agreeing to pay players through the EBT arrangements without disclosure to the football authorities. The directors of Oldco must bear a heavy responsibility for this. While there is no question of dishonesty, individual or corporate, we nevertheless take the view that the nondisclosure must be regarded as deliberate, in the sense that a decision was taken that the sideletters need not be or should not be disclosed.

No steps were taken to check, even on a hypothetical basis, the validity of that assumption with the SPL or the SFA. The evidence of Mr Odam (cited at paragraph [43] above) clearly indicates a view amongst the management of Oldco that it might have been detrimental to the desired tax treatment of the payments being made by Oldco to have disclosed the existence of the side-letters to the football authorities.

[108] Given the seriousness, extent and duration of the non-disclosure, we have concluded that nothing less than a substantial financial penalty on Oldco will suffice. Although we are well aware that, as Oldco is in liquidation with an apparently massive deficiency for creditors (even leaving aside a possible reversal of the Tax Tribunal decision on appeal), in practice any fine is likely to be substantially irrecoverable and to the extent that it is recovered the cost will be borne by the creditors of Oldco, we nevertheless think it essential to mark the seriousness of the contraventions with a large financial penalty. Since Issues 1 to 3 relate to a single course of conduct, a single overall fine is appropriate. Taking into account these considerations, we have decided to impose a fine of £250,000 on Oldco.

Compare this with the Clyde FC case where ineligibility was admitted from the outset so there was no question of dishonesty yet they received a sporting sanction in form of a points deduction, whilst Rangers avoided such a fate on account of the Bryson interpretation that meant that a player whilst not fully and correctly registered was nevertheless eligible to play until the errors were discovered.

What Clyde FC said in their defence of their error was

“We are deeply disappointed with the outcome of yesterday’s hearing as, despite the fact that we admitted the breach of the SPFL rules, we feel that we put forward a robust and cogent case as part of our defence. The case concerned a player, Declan Fitzpatrick, who has been registered with Clyde since September 2018 and was recently on loan at Clydebank.
“The breach occurred as a result of a genuine oversight and a gap in the administrative procedures. This error was not the fault of any individual.
“We feel that the sanction imposed was unprecedentedly harsh.

The result of Clyde honestly admitting to an administrative error was a twin football and sporting sanction of £1500 and 4 points deduction for being honest.

Hearts had a similar administrative error defence when they said:

“ Due to an administrative error on the club’s part at the end of the January transfer window, Andrew Irving entered the field of play in the 65th minute as an unregistered player. Andrew was given an extension contract in January, 2018 and his extension paperwork was all properly completed and in order. However, it was not loaded onto the online SFA registration system at the time. His official registration, therefore, ran out on 9th June, 2018. Unfortunately, this was not picked up in advance of last night’s game.”

Hearts, as a result of their honesty, were deducted two points and fined £10k.

Yet in the case of Rangers FC, LNS judged the decision to withhold side letters was deliberate and because, as a result of non-disclosures of evidence to the contrary, he was able to decide there was no question of dishonesty.

The size of the penalty £250k recognised the longevity of what he was able to treat as an administrative error, but because LNS treated it as such and because the SFA advised that a flawed registration, apparently even if deliberate dishonesty was the reason for that flaw, was accepted by a blindsided SFA, then a player was eligible to play and so no points deduction sanction was applied.

The question of the validity of a deliberate and dishonest registration was never address by LNS although he did say in para 88 of his decision:

“There may be extreme cases in which there is such a fundamental defect that the registration of a player must be treated as having been invalid from the outset. But in the kind of situation that we are dealing with here we are satisfied that the registration of the Specified Players with the SPL was valid from the outset, and accordingly that they were eligible to play in official matches.”

What exactly constitutes an extreme case?

Had LNS seen the HMRC letter of 23 February 2011 or the HMRC letter of 20th May 2011 (that incidentally should have been in the SFA’s hands immediately on receipt under UEFA FFP rules before UEFA were notified of clubs granted a UEFA licence in 2011) would he have been duty bound to consider if a fundamental defect had taken place?

In those letters HMRC justified their pursuit of the wee tax case liability of £2.8M under their Extended Limit rules on basis that when they sought evidence of side letters for DOS ebts in April 2005, Rangers had responded dishonestly and that on sight of that response Rangers QC Andrew Thornhill advised them in early March 2011 not to appeal.

Does that evidence, which was not disclosed by Rangers Administrators Duff and Phelps to then SPL lawyers in April 2012, not point to such a fundamental defect in registration that a player’s registration should be regarded as being invalid from the outset?

However regardless of the rights or wrongs in the construction of the LNS Commission and subsequent Decision based on that construction, the salient point is that Clyde FC and Hearts were deducted 4 points and 2 points respectively, after both admitted to an honest mistake in their registration process and both received twin financial and sporting sanctions. Why Hearts were not deducted the 3 points gained as a consequence of beating Cove Rangers is unclear, although a 3 point reversal would have made qualification out of the group impossible.

Hearts were able to overcome the effect of the two-point deduction and still qualify for League Cup final stages so are unlikely to want to revisit the SPFL decision of points deducted.

However a £10k fine for an honest mistake in one game might be worth appealing on the basis that if a £250k fine for every match Rangers fielded incorrectly registered players was apt in the circumstances that LNS was led to believe existed that on a pro rate back of a fag packet basis this amounts to £695 per game over 10 seasons of 36 games a season, a £10k fine is excessive but would Anne Budge budge?

Anyhoo lets compare the three cases to highlight why eyebrows were raised.

Clyde FC

  • honest mistake admitted – financial sanction and points deduction

Hearts FC

  • honest mistake admitted – financial sanction and points deduction

Rangers FC 

  • Deliberate decision taken not to fully register a player’s details with SFA.
  • Evidence of dishonest motivation to not fully registering a player registration concealed by Rangers
  • financial penalty but no points deduction.

It was always going to be the case that what took place in 2012 under the cloak of the Lord Nimmo Smith Commission would unravel in time as it set a precedent that flew in the face of sporting integrity principles and a common held belief that incorrect registrations attracted a sporting sanction, a belief rekindled by the recent decision to deduct points from Clyde FC.

Perhaps there is a rules based difference that justifies the LNS Decision that can be used by the SFA to explain to the common man why no sporting sanction was applied, but what the common man will ask is it more or less likely that in light of the LNS Decision clubs will be honest with the SFA in future if a player falls foul of the registration process or will appeal on the basis that LNS set a precedent against which all clubs should be judged and then sanctioned.

In a nutshell if an honest mistake is admitted how can a points deduction be justified unless the SFA can show the mistake was a deliberate one carried out by a club to give them a sporting advantage.

The LNS Commission was always a can of worms waiting to be opened which is probably why the SFA rejected the SPFL’s request of September 2017 to revisit the SFA handing of Rangers use of ebts and side letters. Have the SFA introduced a moral hazard in the form of the LNS Decision that will continue to undermine the integrity of Scottish football as long as they allow it to?

Oh what a tangled web we weave eh?

370 COMMENTS


  1. Poor Keef…
    Even when he is made to look such a fool, remember his every player was attacked.
    ……………..
    Bogs Dollox
    he must have had a pure riddy for the remainder of a very long day.
    ……………
    I believe keef does not do riddies, if he did every day would be a pure riddy for him.
    It’s having a permanent riddy that gets him sports journalist of the year.

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  2. JJ: an article about Gordon "I know nothing about anything" Smith?

     

    Thanks, but think I'd rather cut my toe nails.

     

    And in the great scheme of things;

    as the bar is so bloody low for SFA CEO, Smith was probably one of the 'least bad' so far!

    I know…   angel

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  3. CO, well Smith did acquire invaluable experience taking Rangers down the drain…

     

    I'll get my plunger.  crying

    [Offline for the duration now – before I get chased.]

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  4. I see now why we had to endure the McCoist headline grabbing news this last week..More trying to drum up support for his radio breakfast show,put out a few soundbites the smsm will latch on to them for a headline, people ask where did he say this. Then the hope of the radio breakfast show they have gained a new listener.

    Figures must be down if they are relaying on McCoist to try and get them new listeners. Has the radio show not realised it may be McCoist himself that is causing listeners to turn off?

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  5. From Andrew Smith in 'The Scotsman' on line at 22.30 today:

    "Money has been the root of all evil for Rangers; the splurging of sums the club weren’t generating propelling them to the abyss with liquidation seven years ago. Yet, the spending of more money than they take in seems permanently cited as the cure to all ills by those within the Ibrox club. Steven Gerrard has added himself to an exhaustive list of those that consider this approach as ultimately the only means to knock Celtic from their perch"

    In fairness to 'The Scotsman' I won't copy the full article.

    And in fairness to Gerrard, he does refer to the need for his Board to release some dosh: he is quoted as saying   that he" needs the board to fund the recruitment of a goalscoring midfielder of stature" and that "We can go into a market where we can improve and get more and better options around Alfredo, assuming he stays, to be better against your Hibernians and St Johnstones and Dundees and hopefully that’s the next step.”

    In fairness to Andrew Smith, he finishes his piece with this observation:

    "The financial constraints within which Rangers must live, meanwhile, would appear harder to accept"

     

    https://www.scotsman.com/sport/football/competitions/premiership/rangers-boss-steven-gerrard-we-need-financial-support-to-decorate-our-cake-1-4898669

     

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  6. John Clark 30th March 2019 at 23:26
    “The financial constraints within which Rangers must live, meanwhile, would appear harder to accept”
    ………………..
    I need more cash to catch celtic. Gerrald, back me and i’ll win trophies.
    ………….
    Reading today’s headlines it looks as if SG has not been paying attention
    Is this SG get out? the board would not back me with cash, so i had to walk away.
    Will the cash strapped board be raging at these headlines?

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  7. Now that their season is effectively over, the finger pointing, recriminations, frustrations and blood letting can kick off at Ibrox.

     

    And in a weird way, the shockingly poor match officiating at the last Glasgow Derby game at Ibrox has probably helped to force TRFC into a corner – and with 40K+ ST's still to punt.

     

    The 1-0 win for TRFC in December arguably raised expectations at Ibrox way beyond even their own unrealistic levels of entitlement.

     

    Dafoe, Davis added to an already crippling cost base.  An even bigger Wonga style loan, [overdraft 🙂 ] from those nice chaps at Close.

     

    And Big Mike waiting in the wings… with even more legal bills piling up…

     

    The dodgy Scottish Refs might just have just done Scottish football a favour, by pushing TRFC ever closer to financial abyss.

     

    And a very well done to the linesman Clancy for spotting Morelos' elbow today.  

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  8. "StevieBC 31st March 2019 at 15:2

    And a very well done to the linesman Clancy for spotting Morelos' elbow today.  "

     

    Not sure that he did. I thought it was the linesman on the other side.

    What he did manage however was to miss a straight left from Ryan Kent pretty much on the halfway line. That took a very special level of skill.

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  9. After the last Celtic v "Rangers" game where the ref was heavily criticised by all football supporters with the obvious exceptions, those with Celtic leanings drew up a list of anti Celtic refs. Some sites can be found with Bobby Madden wearing Orange Lodge regalia. Whether real or photoshopped I don't know but I though Mr Madden had a good game today and did not show any bias. He may have missed the Kent punch but who's perfect and anyway there are 3 other officials. All in all a good performance from the officials in a difficult situation. It must have taken courage to send off Morelos and Halliday so 5 stars for Bobby Madden.

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  10. The Ryan Kent clothesline on Scott Brown was pretty outrageous, you don’t generally see someone so blatantly battering another player. One suspects a lengthy ban is to follow. 

    Disappointing result for me today obviously but I thought it was a very entertaining game in a lot of ways, and momentum swung strangely during the match. 

    I remember after the World Cup final in 2002, everybody was wondering what Materazzi had said to Zidane. Who knows what Scott Brown was saying today, but he clearly had a good script. It’s a nasty side of the game in my view, I remember it even from playing fives when guys would say horrendous things just to wind you up when there was no competition involved at all. I’m not defending Rangers players reacting at all by the way, before I get shouted down for that. For context I’d reference the Neil Lennon / Ally Mccoist situation a few years ago when Mccoist obviously said something very incendiary to Lennon and caused that nasty confrontation. 

    Pretty much a league win today for Celtic. Do Hoops fans want to see Mr Lennon in charge permanently? 

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  11. I wonder why my last comment is waiting moderation a full hour after posting and another posted 10 minutes after mine is approved. Have I not been a member long enough?

    That would be because of the naughty word which fell foul of the naughty word detector.
    BP

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  12. “StevieBC 31st March 2019 at 15:2

    And a very well done to the linesman Clancy for spotting Morelos’ elbow today. ”
    ……………..
    I thought the clip by the ibrox player on Edouard as he ran down on goal should have been a yellow card, maybe the ref just let play go on but he could still have gone back and gave a yellow, maybe the ref just forgot as he was to busy giving Edouard a yellow for celebrating.
    Ref rant over…

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  13. RyanGosling 31st March 2019 at 18:07
    Pretty much a league win today for Celtic. Do Hoops fans want to see Mr Lennon in charge permanently?
    …………..
    Do ibrox fans want to see Steven Gerrard in the dug-out next season after promising so much and delivering so little?

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  14. Could be worth considering simply banning away supporters for Derby games?

    At the final whistle, the away team immediately leaves the pitch and straight down down the tunnel – no need to hang about.

    For the sake of c.800 away supporters, why bother with the risk? 

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  15. I posted a comment earlier that went into moderation. On reflection I might have used a banned word starting with "H" in jest. My apologies if that was the cause of the moderation. My comment was if fact in praise of the oft maligned  Bobby Madden.

    After the last Celtic v "Rangers" game where the ref was heavily criticised by all football supporters with the obvious exceptions, those with Celtic leanings drew up a list of anti Celtic refs. Some sites can be found with Bobby Madden wearing Orange Lodge regalia. Whether real or photoshopped I don't know but I though Mr Madden had a good game today and did not show any bias. He may have missed the Kent punch but who's perfect and anyway there are 3 other officials. All in all a good performance from the officials in a difficult situation. It must have taken courage to send off Morelos and Halliday so 4 stars for Bobby Madden. I sure I can expect lots of thumbs down.

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  16. Cluster One 31st March 2019 at 21:14  Do ibrox fans want to see Steven Gerrard in the dug-out next season after promising so much and delivering so little?

    I don't know about Ibrox fans but Celtic ones would like him to stay!cool

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  17. Cluster One I’d certainly like him to stay. I think he’s done a great job, some fantastic results in Europe and kept us competitive in the league far longer than previous regimes, not that that is saying much. However I think progress has been made and have confidence that it will continue to be made. Celtic are not a great yardstick for Rangers at the moment, given how far ahead they are in terms of budget, but if you look at Rangers compared to others in the league we are doing well (or at least doing what we should be doing with the relative budget). 

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  18. Looks like Neil Cameron of The ET has lost the plot on Twitter.

    A couple of well dodgy posts.

     

    A disgusting retweet regarding Scott Brown.

     

    And a potentially libellous post about his nemesis, Phil.

    Not good.

     

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  19. RyanGosling 31st March 2019 at 22:47
    7 24 Rate This

    Cluster One I’d certainly like him to stay. I think he’s done a great job, some fantastic results in Europe and kept us competitive in the league far longer than previous regimes, not that that is saying much. However I think progress has been made and have confidence that it will continue to be made
    ………………….
    Last season Rangers finished 12 points behind a Celtic club that included: Dembele Armstrong Griffiths Stable management This season Stevie G has steered Rangers to 13 points behind a clearly weaker Celtic side.@ JBLuvsCeltic

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  20. Any and all other considerations apart, the front page of the 'The Scotsman 'Monday Sport’ pull-out has a full-page picture that would win a prize for any boxing magazine.
    It is, of course, of Ryan Kent's 'push' ( or rather, full-arm, professional-looking swing) at Brown. 

    Full marks to the photographer (Craig Foy, of the SNS Group), and to the paper's picture editor.
    It is a brammer of a picture , and certainly worth more than several thousand words.

     

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  21. I think Bobby Madden had a fairly good game yesterday. Lots for him to do. He missed what I thought was a clear penalty to Rangers and the now-infamous left hook from Kent, but overall I though he was professional and honest.

    Tried manfully to deal with the faux outrage of Rangers players at the end, but missed some top thuggery by Fotheringham and Candelas. In fairness, half a dozen Tiny Whartons wouldn't have been able to sort that out wink

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  22. Cluster One I said we’d remained competitive longer, not finished closer. At the turn of the year we were genuine title contenders and had finally beaten Celtic in the league for the first time since liquidation. We’ve fallen far away now but that’s what I meant by remaining competitive – previous years have seen us out of serious contention by the end of July!

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  23. For differing reasons, I wouldn't expect either Gerrard or Lennon to still be managers in Glasgow next season.

     

    However, whilst Gerrard is likely to do walking away, down south…
    IMO, Lennon is more likely to be retained, perhaps on a 2 year contract, which I don’t think is good for CFC or for Lennon himself.

    …and has anybody woken up the blazers at Hampden, to get a public response on McLeish's 'imminent departure'?

    You would think that the new SFA CEO would be very keen to show everyone outside the SFA that he is on the ball, and not at all like the ineffective CEO's before him…  indecision

     

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  24. 'Big Pink 1st April 2019 at 11:29

     

    I think Bobby Madden had a fairly good game yesterday. Lots for him to do. He missed what I thought was a clear penalty to Rangers and the now-infamous left hook from Kent, but overall I though he was professional and honest…'

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

     

    I won’t mention any specific incidents, but I think that Mr. Madden had a 4/10 performance at best yesterday. That's simply not good enough for a FIFA referee in the highest-profile domestic fixture in Scotland.

     

     

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  25. Big Pink 1st April 2019 at 11:29

    '..I think Bobby Madden had a fairly good game yesterday.'

    %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

    I did not see the game. 

    I understood from the radio commentary (BBC Radio Scotland) ,though, that the Morelos red card incident was flagged up by the linesman, and that the other linesman flagged up the Halliday incident. 

    So Madden was on relatively safer ground in taking action than  in not taking action. That is, in the current climate, more questions would have been asked if he had ignored the incidents! 

    The distrust I have of a Football Governance body that could engineer the 5-Way Agreement makes me ready to suspect that they would get up to any amount of lying and cheating to try to protect themselves. 

    It would not have surprised me , therefore, if there had been pre-match discussions  to ensure that the referee could not possibly be accused of deliberately ignoring any offence committed by Morelos. That is, that the least wee foul by Morelos was to be pounced upon in order to show that there was none of the  partiality of which 'referees' have been accused!

    So, I was mightily reassured by the immediate and instant agreement among the radio commentator and pundits including Neil McCann and Billy Dodds, that Morelos' offence was so blatantly obvious that he had to be sent off .

    I have of course seen the incident on TV, and agree.

    It really does annoy me that I have become so distrustful. I would wish not to be.

    Sadly, though,  I will remain distrustful of our Football Governance body until the 5-Way Agreement is rescinded, and the Res12 matter is fully and independently investigated. 

    And will not allow the cheats to forget their cheating for as long as they and I live. Who knows but that I might live long enough to spit on a dishonourable grave or two?

     

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  26. Big Pink 1st April 2019 at 11:29

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

    If it's the tav 1 then not a penalty sinclair is in front tav then runs into him no penalty imho.

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  27. shug 1st April 2019 at 15:17   

     

    Big Pink 1st April 2019 at 11:29 =============== If it's the tav 1 then not a penalty sinclair is in front tav then runs into him no penalty imho.  

     

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

     

    If only there was a Celtic message board where important matters like this could be discussed at length.

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  28. I wonder if this is the nice Mr Blair of TRFC and what he would be doing  with a company that specialises in the purchase and collection of niche debt portfolios ?

    The following motions were granted, unopposed, on Friday 29th March

     

     

    A286/18 TBI Financial Services Ltd v James Blair

    Pure speculation , of course !

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  29. Bogs Dollox 1st April 2019 at 17:50

     

    If only there was a Celtic message board where important matters like this could be discussed at length.

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

    It was mentioned here so as far as it goes then it's up for discussion imho.

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  30. Morelos has made a public apology via Twitter to his club and fans.

    Fair enough.

     

    No mention though of the guy he assaulted in public view, and in front of countless Police officers.

     

    Sums him up I suppose…

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  31. StevieBC 1st April 2019 at 18:46

    '…No mention though of the guy he assaulted in public view, and in front of countless Police officers.'

    %%%%%%%%%%%%%

    I wonder can anyone remember the occasion a goodly number of years ago when, during a game in one of the English leagues, a police officer went on to the pitch during play to caution (or whatever) a player he had seen 'assaulting' an opponent?  I don't think I ever heard how that matter ended. 

    Judging from the photograph I mentioned earlier, any polisman would have been entitled to arrest Kent on the spot for at least attempted assault! broken heart 

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  32. shug1st April 2019 at 18:30 

     

    Bogs Dollox 1st April 2019 at 17:50 

     

       If only there was a Celtic message board where important matters like this could be discussed at length. ====================================

    It was mentioned here so as far as it goes then it's up for discussion imho. 

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

     

    Fair enough but just because it was mentioned on here doesn't make it a relevant matter for discussion. 

     

    I believe this blog was for the discussion of the wider issues facing Scottish football in general and not a Radio Clyde style debate about what does and doesn't constitute a penalty in one of the Glasgow derbies. There are other sites for that debate.

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  33. Ex Ludo 1st April 2019 at 22:56

    '….So even if a punch is thrown but misses the target it’s still assault.'

    %%%%%%%%%

    What I don't know, Ex Ludo, is whether the punch landed!

    Does anyone know, other than Brown himself and his assailant?  If the punch landed, Brown would  surely have a sore jaw and a claim for damages/criminal injuries compensation for injury sustained, and Kent would have some bruised knuckles?broken heart

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  34. And it all , it ALL, comes back to the deep-rooted belief that our Football Governance body is, and has been since the first false statements made to it by RFC about the remuneration paid to their superstars, and the highly questionable ( but not allowed to be investigated) granting of a UEFA licence to an unentitled club, rotten to its very core.

    A belief strengthened by the signing of the absurd 5-Way Agreement which allows a liquidated club to be resurrected while simultaneously languishing in Liquidation. 

    It is the sheer insulting nonsense of the whole approach by the SFA to the most monumental cheating ever perpetrated by a Scottish professional football club that renders that body totally unfit for purpose, and its Board members little better than towsy little self-serving grubbers ready to sell their personal integrity for a mess of pottage.

    Honest to God!

     

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  35. Does anyone on SFM know what happened to our colleague Jimbo?

    I've gone back over the blogs and can't see that he has posted since 17th December 2018.

    I used to get mildly annoyed by some of his frequently off topic posts, but I do hope nothing untoward has happened to him – he did appear to have some issues and occasional dark thoughts.

    Jimbo, if you are reading the blog, drop us a post to let us know you are OK. 

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  36. The DR is definitely getting even worse.

    Today's efforts include 2 standouts;

    1) "Celtic skipper Scott Brown set to go under SFA microscope for Rangers celebrations"

    Good headline to pacify the bears and to deflect. 

    But an absolute nonsense, lazy, off the cuff article, which didn't even bother to include any 'unnamed source' quotes.

    It's credited to Michael Gannon, who presumably doesn't even bother to read the p!sh he is given by Traynor ?

    2) "Michael Stewart questions how Rangers can keep financing 'desperate' bid to stop Celtic."

    On the face of it, a critical piece about TRFC's finances based on truthful quotes from Stewart.  Interesting that nobody at the DR wants to put their name to it though, as it's credited to "Record Sport Online".

    But the best bit is this from the DR itself;

    "…Rangers posted losses of over £14million in November 2018 after investing heavily to bring Gerrard to the club and fund his subsequent squad rebuild…"

    Theses accounts were up to 30th June, 2018.

    Gerrard's first day as TRFC manager was 1st June, 2018.

    Materially, the £14M loss had bugger all to do with Gerrard.

    But the DR blames him anyway!

    However, the impact of Gerrard's recruitment and squad rebuilding will – absolutely – be reflected in the accounts to 30th June this year.

    Another poor / lazy effort from Traynor – to try and pin all TRFC's financial woes on Gerrard.

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  37. JC@23.52 yesterday 

    The punch doesn’t have to land for it to be an assault. Scott Brown, being a well trained athlete with excellent reflexes would instinctively react to a fist heading towards his face and minimise the impact of such an attack. From what I’ve read on Twitter this morning it appears Police Scotland are consulting with the Procurator Fiscal regarding his (Brown’s) behaviour during the match. Given what the video footage shows of the Ryan Kent incident Scott Brown could himself make a complaint to the Police. It will be interesting to see how the compliance officer deals with this matter later today.

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  38. I hate when police get involved with on field matters. There's enough to concern them in the stadium and in the city without getting involved.

    Should be SPFL/SFA who look into anything but they've gone into hiding it seems.

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  39. IMO, the Ryan Kent swing was the most shocking incident on Sunday.

    Morelos got a red for a sneaky, off the ball elbow.

     

    In stark contrast, Brown had actually been holding the ball just before Kent took a swing at him.

    Nothing sneaky or accidental.  Just a clear as day, clenched fist, left hook towards Brown's face.

    Intent seemed rather blatant.

     

    In any 'normal' televised game that punch would be the most talked about action.  It's just got minimised in all the other stuff going on in the game, and after the final whistle.

     

    Ryan Kent should have the book thrown at him – as any reasonable football supporter would expect.

     

    And the other point which has been lost in the noise: Brown had the ball in his hands. 

    …so how did the ref, 2 linesmen and the 4th official ALL miss the punch at the time ?

     

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  40. Has anyone actually seen any footage of Brown goading the Rangers fans? 

    I've seen Halliday arriving on the scene, which is not next to the Rangers fans. I've seen a clip of him celebrating his MOTM, where he is facing the Celtic support. If anyone has seen clips of this potential 'criminal' behaviour, I would love to see it.

    I have seen a photo of Fotheringham assaulting Lustig from behind. I haven't heard the police looking introvert that one.

    It is interesting that all the clips shown of the Brown/Morelos incident start just after Morelos gives Brown a little nudge – but that would mean that Morelos was actually the source of the provocation that is so hurtful.

    I don't want to come across (as I probably have done) as a Scott Brown apologist. If he played for a different team, I am sure he would get right on my nerves. He is a physical player, who sometimes crosses the line, and was clearly looking to wind up the Rangers players. However, when Celtic lost at Ibrox in December, the team walked off the pitch at the end with no trouble, despite serious provocation from Morelos during the match. Brown completely ignored Arfield doing a 'Broonie' right next to him as he walked off

    This whole provocation farce is being used to cover up the serious indiscipline of the Rangers team – something that has been evident all season long.

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  41. Not a lover of Scott Brown, he certainly loves to wind up the opposition players and fans, and sometimes gets the reaction he is looking for. Thing is, though opposing players often try to get him back with dodgy tackles and sly digs, I've never seen anything like that Kent punch thrown at him, or at any other player. It certainly was a beauty of the kind thrown in boxing movies, and if it had connected it would have seen Brown counted out and stretchered off.

    Brown was equally good at moving out of the way of the punch which has undoubtedly saved Kent from police action (though he might face it yet), and I'll stick my neck out here and suggest that even the SFA won't be able to ignore it and he must surely face a lengthy ban.

    It was no petulant reaction to an annoying opponent, it was a 100% punch from someone who clearly knows how to throw a knockout blow, and intended to land on the victim's jaw to his severe injury, the pictures, both still and moving, leave little doubt of that.

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  42. StevieBC 1st April 2019 at 18:46

    Morelos has made a public apology via Twitter to his club and fans. Fair enough. No mention though of the guy he assaulted in public view, and in front of countless Police officers.

    Sums him up I suppose…

    ___________

     

    I think it sums up TRFC's PR guru more than it does Morelos. I wouldn't be at all surprised if Morelos is unaware that he has made any sort of apology, unless one of his team mates tells him.

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  43. NCLBhoy 2nd April 2019 at 10:27

    Has anyone actually seen any footage of Brown goading the Rangers fans? 

    I've seen Halliday arriving on the scene, which is not next to the Rangers fans. I've seen a clip of him celebrating his MOTM, where he is facing the Celtic support. If anyone has seen clips of this potential 'criminal' behaviour, I would love to see it.

    I have seen a photo of Fotheringham assaulting Lustig from behind. I haven't heard the police looking introvert that one.

    It is interesting that all the clips shown of the Brown/Morelos incident start just after Morelos gives Brown a little nudge – but that would mean that Morelos was actually the source of the provocation that is so hurtful.

    I don't want to come across (as I probably have done) as a Scott Brown apologist. If he played for a different team, I am sure he would get right on my nerves. He is a physical player, who sometimes crosses the line, and was clearly looking to wind up the Rangers players. However, when Celtic lost at Ibrox in December, the team walked off the pitch at the end with no trouble, despite serious provocation from Morelos during the match. Brown completely ignored Arfield doing a 'Broonie' right next to him as he walked off

    This whole provocation farce is being used to cover up the serious indiscipline of the Rangers team – something that has been evident all season long.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Whilst the actions of Morelos, Kent and others is unacceptable on a football field. The behaviour of Brown on several occasions was unprofessional.

    I agree fully with your point that indiscipline at Rangers is a real issue and won’t be solved by issuing PR releases blaming others for their problem.

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  44. https://twitter.com/bbcsportsound/status/1113013623159390208?s=21

    This BBC tweet references a “police chief “ suggesting a senior officer has made a statement when in fact the substantive comments by the “chief” are actually made by a representative from the Scottish Police Federation who represents the rank and file. Whilst he has every right to comment it’s a poor show from the BBC to headline the comments in that way. There’s also a curious comment in the article stating that the clubs store banners belonging to fans who then hide behind these banners if they have committed any misdemeanours. Presumably someone has observed this type of fan behaviour but  no action has been taken in respect of this as far as I know. Can anyone confirm if clubs do actually store banners? It suggests some sort of collusion and a tacit acceptance of unwelcome messages being displayed on the banners.

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  45. Bogs Dollox

    The problem is the indiscipline of sevco players.

    Brown has absolutely nothing to do with it. No ifs ands or buts.

    Brown was elbowed in the face by Morelos.

    Brown was physically assaulted by Kent. Try swinging a left hook at one of your work colleagues. You will end up sacked and jailed.

    Brown was then further assaulted by Halliday who was sent off for his troubles.

    Trying to spread blame by saying that Brown was not professional is at best a deflection and at worst an excuse for violent actions of sevco players.

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  46. finnmcool 

    If I was Brown's manager I would not be happy about his professionalism and the unnecessary wind up behaviour.

    In the Morelos incident Brown clips his his heels from behind and off the ball.

    In the Kent incident he withholds the ball to prevent the restart of the game.

    In the Halliday incident I can't comment as the TV footage is not good but it looks to me that at least two other Rangers players should have seen red cards.

    I stand by my comments about Brown but I have a concern that you are conveniently overlooking facts in an effort to exonerate poor sportsmanship.

    With regard to Rangers discipline problems these run right through the squad and stem from constantly being second best where the default position is for them to believe they have a right to dominate. Falling short on a regular basis frustrates the players and that comes out in their unacceptable attitude and behaviour on the pitch.

    Alex Rae said on radio that Rangers should be beating the likes of Kilmarnock, Livingston etc as a matter of course.

    My question is; Why? They were simply not good enough to beat those teams when they met.

    Anyway feel free to thumbs down me just for not seeing things through Old Firm specs. This blog is becoming just a Celtic forum with a few Jambos and Dons for window dressing. This is probably my last post.

     

     

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  47. Bogs Dollox 2nd April 2019 at 15:33

    Rate This

     

     

    finnmcool 

    If I was Brown's manager I would not be happy about his professionalism and the unnecessary wind up behaviour.

    In the Morelos incident Brown clips his his heels from behind and off the ball.

     

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

    DB have you seen the whole footage you know the footage that most of the clips leave out the few seconds before when more-or-less has a nudge into brown's back just in the passing that means the antagonist was mr freddo. I'm sure browns manager is more than happy with his professionalism. Sevco players really need to grow up and own their own lack of professionalism. If they can't stand the heat then they should stay out of the kitchen.

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  48. Bogs Dollox 2nd April 2019 at 15:33

    In the Halliday incident I can't comment as the TV footage is not good but it looks to me that at least two other Rangers players should have seen red cards.

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

    It appears that at least 2 other sevco players were carded as well fods being 1 of them.

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  49. Ex Ludo 2nd April 2019 at 13:44

    '….Can anyone confirm if clubs do actually store banners? It suggests some sort of collusion and a tacit acceptance of unwelcome messages being displayed on the banners.'

    %%%%%%%%%%

    I have vague memories that Celtic FC some years ago and   for reasons of their own  (relating perhaps to a wish to exercise control of content) might  have offered to store large banners. 

    I don't know whether they actually did, or if so, whether the offer was accepted . 

     

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  50. 'Bogs Dollox 2nd April 2019 at 15:33

     

    In the Kent incident he withholds the ball to prevent the restart of the game…'

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

     

    The game couldn't have restarted immediately before the Kent incident occurred.

     

    Law 8 states the following:

     

    For every kick-off: • all players, except the player taking the kick-off, must be in their own half of the field of play • the opponents of the team taking the kick-off must be at least 9.15 m (10 yds) from the ball until it is in play • the ball must be stationary on the centre mark • the referee gives a signal • the ball is in play when it is kicked and clearly moves.

     

    Neither the referee, TRFC players or their opponents were in position for the kick-off. I accept that Brown lifted the ball from the centre-mark, but the ball wasn't 'live'. The referee hadn't blown his whistle. The referee (apparently) wasn't  even looking in the vicinity of the centre-spot or he'd have seen what transpired. Brown clearly doesn't prevent the game restarting at that moment because nobody except Kent was ready for the kick-off. Bain & Brown were (I think) the only two CFC players in their own half.

     

     

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  51. Bogs Dollox

    In this case, I would agree with you if you were right. enlightened

    I really don't care what Brown did or did not do. 

    I really don't care if it was Brown, Green or Black. The FACT is that a player was physically attacked on 3 separate occasions. At his work!

    We have all discussed strict liability in the last few weeks and the danger of a player being injured by a ned running onto the park. In this instance the neds were actually playing on the park.

    That is the story that is being swept under the carpet. That is the point you are missing.

    It's the same old 'he brought it on himself' nonsense I've heard before. How dare Brown put his face into my elbow when I'm swinging it.

    You eloquently explained the reasons for the indiscipline of the sevco players. That is the problem that the SFA created when they failed to censure Gerrard over his referee comments and rescinded Morelos's red card. It was a slap in the face to every other SPFL manager and player.

    Anyway. Post or don't post. It's up to you. I won't goad you into it in case I get a smack in the face broken heart

     

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  52. paddy malarkey 2nd April 2019 at 16:26

    %%%%%%%%%%

    The link has this:

    "Rangers: Ryan Kent offered ban for lashing [ my bold]out at Celtic captain Scott Brown

    Rangers' Ryan Kent faces a two-game ban after being charged for shoving [ my italics]Celtic captain Scott Brown.

    Footage showed the winger, 22, lash out at Brown in the aftermath of James Forrest's late winner for the hosts at Celtic Park on Sunday."

    What kind of garbage reporting we are now getting from BBC Scotland!

    There is no way Kent's swing at Brown could be construed as a 'shove' , and it was some crass idiot of a sub-editor who let such a contradictory report leave the keyboard.

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  53. Bogs Dollox 2nd April 2019 at 15:33

    I also don't see things through blue or green tinted specks (the Old Firm is no more – one side died ). 

    There's videos online showing Morelos bumping Brown prior to the clip of heels .It's the way the two of them go about their  business. There was also a video on Sportscene the other week of Morelos raking McKenna's ankle (Aberdeen) and McKenna ignoring it and moving on .Maybe Morelos could have learned something there . In the Kent incident , the referee was busy up the park with team celebrations and was minutes away from restarting the game . He over-reacted to being wound up . A lot of players are not mature enough to handle the pressures of these games . I think a lot of the problem was that it was last-chance saloon for one club , and their players were too hyped up to behave rationally . Everybody knows , since the SC final v Hibs , that any percieved "taunting"of the Ibrox fanbase is met with violence , and other club's fans are happy to give them the opportunity to disgrace themselves . A Scott Brown apology for any offence caused would be the biggest wind-up of all , and I'm surprised he's not done it . He's not my kettle of fish but players at other clubs are just as astute at gamesmanship .

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  54. shug2nd April 2019 at 16:30   

     

    Yes I did see the Morelos nudge on Brown but it's not a matter of who the protagonist is for the application of the Laws of the game because straight after it Brown kicks Morelos off the ball. Don't forget Morelos was sent off for exactly that crime against Aberdeen.

     

    You are trying to exonerate straightforward foul play and in doing so displaying double standards.

     

    Whether Lennon is happy or not with unprofessional behaviour doesn't come in to it. Anyway he's not exactly the most professional manager in the SPFL.

     

     

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  55. Jingso.Jimsie2nd April 2019 at 16:46    

     

    All of that is utterly irrelevant to what we were discussing regarding Brown's unprofessional and unecessarily provocative behaviour.

     

    Why take the ball of the spot? 

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  56. finnmccool 2nd April 2019 at 16:49

    '…That is the problem that the SFA created when they failed to censure Gerrard over his referee comments and rescinded Morelos's red card..'

    %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

    The SFA, by cobbling up the 5-Way Agreement to accommodate cheats lost all moral authority, and has  several times been given the finger with impunity by the chairman of RIFC plc. 

    The SFA supped with the devil, and is now seen for what it has become- in  effect, a bent cop, with no moral authority over the baddies they so eagerly aided and abetted and continue to aid and abet in the deceit of the Big Lie.

    (As for BBC Scotland, I wonder whether Chris McLaughlin's recent promotion was the beginning of an attempt to appease TRFC Ltd by discreetly removing McLaughlin from the list of reporters who would be sent to Ibrox , thus giving in to TRFC ?)

     

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  57. Finnmccool2nd April 2019 at 16:49   

     

    Your comment that you don't care what Brown merely demonstrates your bias and inability to look at two sides of an incident. At no point btw have I failed to condemn the physical violence of the Rangers players.However, Brown is in no way innocent in all this – he kicked an opponent off the ball! But you choose to ignore that.

     

    Your final comment about me somehow meeting out physical violence to you is childish and deeply insulting and I would like an apology. 

    Are you making the false assumption that I'm a Rangers fan and therefore automatically capable of it. Im not a Rangers fan.

     However, your slur is hardly fair to the many sensible non violent Rangers fans. One of whom came on here recently and made some reasonable points but as usual received a barrel load of thumbs down probably just because he's a Rangers fan.

     

     

     

     

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  58. Bogs Dollox 2nd April 2019 at 17:10

    Jingso.Jimsie2nd April 2019 at 16:46   

    All of that is utterly irrelevant to what we were discussing regarding Brown's unprofessional and unecessarily provocative behaviour.

    Why take the ball of the spot? 

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

    I'm certainly no lover of Scott Brown, but are you suggesting that taking the ball of the spot was in some way sufficient provocation for being punched in the face?

    Taking the ball off the spot is simply a means of delaying the restart of the game, just as happens multiple times during every game, either kicking the ball away (even a few yards), picking the ball up – retreating into a defensive position – then releasing it, or standing over the ball to prevent a quick free kick.

    I'd guarantee that both sides demonstrated similar behaviour many times during the game, but only one resulted in a punch being thrown.

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  59.  easyJambo2nd April 2019 at 18:16   5   0   Rate This Bogs Dollox 2nd April 2019 at 17:10 Jingso.Jimsie2nd April 2019 at 16:46    All of that is utterly irrelevant to what we were discussing regarding Brown's unprofessional and unecessarily provocative behaviour. Why take the ball of the spot?  ================================ I'm certainly no lover of Scott Brown, but are you suggesting that taking the ball of the spot was in some way sufficient provocation for being punched in the face  

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

     

    So despite my previous posts condemning the violent conduct of Morelos, Kent etc you can still ask me that question. Poor show on your part but for the avoidance of doubt, of course it's not sufficient provocation.

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