News in The Times of Celtic’s letter to Stewart Regan regarding that club’s wish for a Judicial Review into the SFA’s handing of the Rangers EBT crisis increases the pressure on Regan considerably.
The SFA Chief Executive’s ill-advised spat with Pie and Bovril editor David McDonald this week may even be a sign he is devolving, and at least it demonstrates that, despite Twitter disaster after Twitter disaster, Regan doesn’t learn readily from his mistakes.
Also, it appears from the contents of Celtic’s letter that their target in terms of a Judicial Review has been the SFA, and not the SPFL, all along. That chimes with developments as I understand them elsewhere in this process.
Even though it now appears that Celtic and a fan group are seeking a Judicial Review it is by no means certain that it will ever happen.
Having a sound legal basis for it, obtaining standing, and having a reasonable chance of victory are all variables in the equation, and each has to be weighed carefully before progress can be made.
Having said that, if the reason any Judicial Review fails is because of that lawyer-speak we have been subjected to of late, the SFA may yet come to believe that hiding behind legalese is neither in football’s best interests, nor in the interests of the individuals at the SFA who are under fire.
The bottom line as they, is this;
Rangers did acquire an unfair advantage over others by their use of EBTs. The SPL themselves were flabbergasted when Sandy Bryson proclaimed his eponymous ‘imperfectly registered’ doctrine. They all know – everyone in every board room in the country, in every SFA department, in every SPFL office – that cheating took place.
In fact and in spirit.
The jaws of the vice are tightening as we speak. The fans group who are building a case for a Judicial Review give its handle a wee turn every day, and the leak of the Celtic letter to Regan reduces his wiggle room even further.
It is surely now just a matter of time before this ridiculous and infamous chapter in Scotland’s football history is dealt with.
Of course people will accuse anyone who is a Celtic fan, or an Aberdeen fan, or a Dundee United fan (clubs whose rivalry with Rangers is keenest) of partisanship in this affair. That is mere deflection and bears no scrutiny whatsoever.
As a Celtic fan myself, I can’t deny that I am angry at what took place between (at least) 2000 and 2009, but does that mean that as a Celtic fan I have to recuse myself from having an opinion?
And as a former employee of the club, am I excluded from any conversation about the integrity of our game because the club at the centre of the scandal is Rangers? Pull the other one.
SFM, and the wider fans’ movement has been consistently appalled by this sorry chapter over the last six years, but is no kangaroo court. We are not asking for conclusions to be drawn without due process. We see unexplained regulatory anomalies in the processes at Ibrox and Hampden which have never to our knowledge been addressed. We simply wish that they should be.
Further, if my club was at the heart of this nonsense, I think I’d be incandescent with rage that they had allowed me to revel in the joy of winning all those trophies, only to have the achievements cheapened and nullified by their mismanagement. I would regard that as the ultimate betrayal (and Celtic fans can give you a list of club betrayals as long as Mao’s march).
I’d be thinking that those same business practices that apparently had given us so much, had actually caused to fail catastrophically. Having taken delight in the honours, I would have to accept the consequences too.
The SFA, by their corrupt approach to the demise of Rangers, have denied Rangers fans the catharsis that they could benefit from. In fact the authorities’ refusal to deal with the situation in terms of their own rules it has fostered a siege mentality to exist at Ibrox.
This in turn has enabled a series of charlatans, including the current board, to drive the bus in the direction of a brick wall for the last five years.
After the phenomenally successful share issue (something that can’t happen again whilst King is in charge for regulatory reasons), the new Rangers were given seed capital which should have flowered by now with the regular watering of their huge fan base. That £22m, which should have seen the club competing at the top by now has gone, and the potential which existed in 2012 has been diminished severely.
It’s no fun being a fan of Scottish football in the midst of this. But we make a fundamental error if we think that Rangers fans are enjoying it. They are victims in this too, and they have been defrauded by the Murray-era shenanigans, and the circus performers who have been on the scene since then – every bit as much as the rest of us.
The honourable thing (no laughing at the back) for the SFA to do would be to agree to Celtic’s request for a Judicial Review.
If the pressure is turned up another notch or three on the SFA, then maybe we will all get closure, and perhaps finally we can move on.