Time to Make Things Happen

In the light of the SFA President’s unfortunate remarks in the MSM today, relegating every Scottish football club other than Celtic or Rangers to support role status, this blog by Auldheid on the need to have a conversation about the leadership and governance of the Scottish game is remarkably prescient.

It is also important in that it shows there are people out there (and not just us at SFM) who are engaged in finding workable solutions to our problems – solutions to which involve the major stakeholders in football, the fans (or customers as most boardrooms would have it).

The people involved in finding solutions are well-connected and not without influence, but most importantly they seek to give fans a greater voice in the game – and they do not represent a paid-for voice with a seat at the SFA table or a funding source that depends to a large extent on saying nothing when fan interests are damaged.

SFM is more than happy to endorse Auldheid’s sentiments. 

Tris

 

The following extracts have been taken from an earlier SFM Blog (The Lost Voice of the Armageddon Virus), to emphasise the fact, if any were needed, that something is rotten in the state of Scottish football.

 

“Significantly for matters out with the confines of the (Craig Whyte) case – and this has been incredibly under-reported by the main stream media – David Murray also told the court earlier that he had used EBT’s in order to get better players for Rangers than they could otherwise afford, re-igniting social media exchanges over the validity of William Nimmo-Smith’s report into Rangers use of EBT’s.

You may remember that Nimmo-Smith himself considered that Rangers had gained no sporting advantage by their use of the scheme – a conclusion diametrically at variance with Murray’s – the man who operated the scheme to achieve exactly that end.

If Murray is telling the truth, then it puts Nimmo-Smith’s conclusions in doubt. And even if you leave aside for the moment the amended and extremely creative terms of reference set by Neil Doncaster which effectively excluded the already known to be unlawful DoS EBTs from Nimmo-Smith’s team, the SPL has been shown up as a bit a joke.

Another sensational piece of info the court heard, which again has gone almost completely unreported, was that in an email from Mike McGill of Murray Group, dated 17 March 2011, he says “the (wee tax) case only recently went from a potential liability and had not “crystallised” until recently” – this long before a Euro licence was awarded to Rangers on the basis, according to Stewart Regan, that the bill had “not crystallised” when the licence was awarded.

It may be that the laws of unintended consequences will prove to be more significant to football than the matter of Craig Whyte’s guilt or innocence.”

 

However the “revelations” only tell many of us what has been questioned or known since 2011 about Scottish football that has filled gigabytes of space  on numerous forums and blogs about the handling by the SFA of the grant and retention of a UEFA Licence to Rangers FC in 2011 and the flawed creation of the Lord Nimmo Smith Commission  whose Decision in February 2013 was met with incredulity by those who follow the game as the Decision bent all previous understanding of the intent of registration rules pretzel shaped in order to meet a desired damage limitation outcome.

More has yet to come arising from the Craig Whyte trial and the decision of the Supreme Court on the legality of  EBTs as administered by Rangers FC.

Yet despite what has been known for several years (and has been or will be further confirmed as the wheels of justice grind slowly to an end), and in spite of all the words spilt, tweets tweeted and blogs blogged,  nothing appears to impact on the SFA or SPFL.

Indeed, it was tweeted just the other week by Alex Thomson of Channel 4 News that regardless of the Supreme Court Decision there would be no taking title away from the history of Rangers FC using the LNS Decision as a defensive line in the sand in spite of the Decision itself being founded on sand.

How Doncaster is able to say that really needs examining in terms of his authority and the two fingers it gives to the integrity of the League he is CEO of..

But this is not another blog to rail against the powers that flee, who hide behind main stream media spin, and worse, use the loyalty supporters feel for their clubs to do nothing about the rotten state of football governance in Scotland. This is a blog about ending the biggest barrier to making change happen – the lack of an  effective Scottish football clubs supporters union around which the fans can gather and press for change.

There is an organisation called Supporters Direct, who are invited to sit around the Hampden table but who lack the essential ingredient to make them effective –  independence from the SFA (who partly fund them).

You don’t bite the hand that feeds you stuff. They are also an organisation whose roots are in England with a Scottish offshoot. You can read what they are about at

http://www.supporters-direct.scot/about/

Improving football governance in Scotland is not their main aim – which is not surprising given some financial dependence on the SFA – so they do not represent a coherent and easily navigable way forward on the road to providing much-needed transparency and accountability to Scottish football.

However, all is not lost, there an alternative Scottish organisation founded in Scotland called  The Scottish Football Supporters Association (SFSA)

http://scottishfsa.org/

whose nine point manifesto includes a commitment to improved football governance. The SFSA manifesto was launched on 7th Jan 2016 at Holyrood, and enjoys the support of a number of MSPs including former First Minister Henry McLeish.

A copy of the full SFSA Manifesto can be read at

https://drive.google.com/viewerng/viewer?url=http://scottishfsa.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/SFSA_The_Fans_Manifesto_A4_20pp_Screen.pdf

and the relevant part in terms of football Governance is at Point 8 that says

Reclaim The Game

Regular Independent Auditing and Review of the Performance of Governing Bodies and Clubs.

 “When a fan is asked how well the club they are following is doing they can point to a league table. This quickly establishes the quality of the on-field performance at any given time.  Of course, the reality of football means that there will be fluctuations in performance depending on a range of variable factors. But the beauty is that a league table never finally lies. Its judgement is there for posterity. However, when we are asked to rate the performance of the club as a business there are few clear criteria. This is because of a complete lack of transparency throughout the game. Often it is only when criticism emerges that we get to see how a club is actually managed.

This lack of transparency is being questioned and changed in the banking and commercial sectors. It is no longer acceptable in Scottish football. Clubs have to maximise their effectiveness and live within their means. We want to see independent monitoring and evaluation of the off-field performance of clubs and governing bodies in all areas, from financial transparency to customer services. This includes performance tables. The SFSA will seek to reward high performance through annual awards. We believe that strong support and community focused clubs will find themselves in a better position to thrive and to attract new revenue streams, creating a virtuous circle for the game and breaking down the mistrust about transparency and fan engagement in boardrooms.

In recent times the reputation of both the Scottish Football Association (SFA) and the Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) have likewise suffered. This reflects badly on the game and hampers our ability to attract new investment into the sport. In modern commerce, most of the major brands and businesses evaluate customer feedback on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. Looking at the SFA survey results from over 10,000 fans the Net Promoter score for our two national bodies is revealing and concerning.

The gulf between those who run football and those who love it and pay for it is far too wide to be healthy, which is why substantial reform in the boardrooms and throughout the governing bodies is in their interest, the fans’ interest, and the interests of Scottish football as a whole. “  

We know that over the next 6 weeks the SFSA will be going live with a major campaign to highlight governance and transparency along with a plan to deliver it and will provide details at that time when preparatory work completed.

We at SFM believe it is the responsibility as fans who care about an honest game (and who doesn’t?) to take the opportunity to work with our new national fans organisation in not just talking about change but to make sure that change actually happens.

We can all start that process by joining the SFSA.  It costs you nothing apart from 5 mins of your time and you can join at  http://scottishfsa.org/  to become the means of  making Scottish football something we all feel happy to support because we feel part of it rather than apart from it..

Auldheid

Auldheid

Celtic fan from Glasgow living mostly in Spain. A contributor to several websites, discussion groups and blogs, and a member of the Resolution 12 Celtic shareholders' group. Committed to sporting integrity, good governance, and the idea that football is interdependent. We all need each other in the game.

168 Comments
  1. neepheid

    neepheid


    I see some discussion on transparency of company ownership. The attached article explains the current position.
    https://www.bdo.co.uk/en-gb/insights/business-edge/business-edge-2016/beneficial-ownership-register-opens-on-6-april-201

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  2. upthehoops


    It is for this reason that I personally see very little purpose in attending the AGM on an annual basis though I recognise that such a meeting does give some shareholders an opportunity to address directors and key employees.

    It is also a chance to share some humour, as we can see here 12

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  3. jimbo

    jimbo


    Oh well, seeing as it’s so quiet I’ll make mention of the draws for the first two qualifiers,  Champions League & Europa League, tomorrow starting about 11am BST.

    When you look at the teams in the first round draw for the EL there are hardly any familiar names other than the Irish and Welsh ones.  Both St. Johnstone & The Rangers are seeded so should be OK to go through to the 2nd. qualifiers.  This is where it gets a bit trickier, some familiar faces there who should be seeded so that’s a plus for St. Johnstone who should also be seeded. Good luck to them.  On the other hand TRFC will be unseeded,  the DR says it’s because this is their first time in Europe in 6 years, but it could also be because it is their first time in Europe EVER!  Heaven knows how they will do, they are such an unknown quantity now.

    Aberdeen get a bye to enter at the 2nd. qualifier and are seeded.  Let’s hope they get through this stage.

    In the CL qualifiers Celtic enter at the 2nd. qualifying round seeded, indeed they have the second top seeding.  This will present absolutely no problem and they will progress to the group stages and providing we can avoid Barcelona 0701 should be ok for the Final next May.040421

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  4. Cluster One

    Cluster One


    ALLYJAMBOJUNE 18, 2017 at 10:20
    I do feel that if we are being critical of any survival plan that TRFC might appear to be following, that as well as showing how or why it is likely to fail, we must also look at the more positive aspects of how it might just pay off for them. After all, there has to be something that makes them believe their plan might work, no matter how slim the chances of success are. It is still a long shot, though, but long shots sometimes pay off, just not very often.
    £20 per bum on seat,
    ————————–
    First time in europe no matter the opposition, i think the ibrox club will be charging more than £20 per bum on seat.Or maybe as a goodwill gesture from the board they will charge £1 for a seat and £20 for a programe.
    Now where have i heard that marketing proposal before06     

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  5. Auldheid


    Jimbo
    On the other hand TRFC will be unseeded,  the DR says it’s because this is their first time in Europe in 6 years, but it could also be because it is their first time in Europe EVER!  Heaven knows how they will do, they are such an unknown quantity now.
    ===============
    As far as UEFA are concerned The Rangers Football Club only became eligible to apply for a UEFA licence in Aug 2015 having satisfied the Article 12 requirement to be members of the SFA for three consecutive years from Aug 2012.
    TRFC would never argue otherwise with UEFA as UEFA’s acceptance would mean paying tax in millions overdue since Sept 2011 and earlier.
    The SFA also understand this as they were informed of same by UEFA (Traverso) in June 2016 and it would be so easy for the media to confirm what Traverso said.
    Additionally had they not ceased to be the same club/company in UEFA’s eyes then UEFA would have pursued the dishonesty at play to be granted and retain the licence in 2011.

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  6. Allyjambo

    Allyjambo


    Cluster OneJune 18, 2017 at 17:41  
    ALLYJAMBOJUNE 18, 2017 at 10:20I do feel that if we are being critical of any survival plan that TRFC might appear to be following, that as well as showing how or why it is likely to fail, we must also look at the more positive aspects of how it might just pay off for them. After all, there has to be something that makes them believe their plan might work, no matter how slim the chances of success are. It is still a long shot, though, but long shots sometimes pay off, just not very often.£20 per bum on seat,————————–First time in europe no matter the opposition, i think the ibrox club will be charging more than £20 per bum on seat.Or maybe as a goodwill gesture from the board they will charge £1 for a seat and £20 for a programe.Now where have i heard that marketing proposal before 
    ______________________

    I have absolutely no doubt they will, but I was looking at the net position after all costs and VAT have been deducted, then TV rights added before averaging out the ‘profit’ as 50,000 at £20 per bum. Not even a fag packet calculation, just an attempt to show how the estimate of £1m per home match is easily achievable for them, and makes Europa Cup participation potentially very lucrative for TRFC, despite the moderate level of prize money per round.

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  7. jimbo

    jimbo


    Hope it’s OK to bring this subject up, if not, happy to be moderated.

    There is a possibility that Linfield FC could qualify for round two of the CL qualifiers.  I don’t think they would be seeded, however Celtic would be seeded.  These ties usually have a geographical element to them, to avoid long hauls. 

    The problem is the first leg is held on 11 or 12 July.  I don’t need to spell out what Belfast will be like on those two days.  It’s a potentially explosive and dangerous fixture.  Hopefully it wont fall that way and it likely won’t.  But what if it does?  What to do?  Play both ties in a neutral venue, in Wales?

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  8. tony

    tony


    JIMBO
    understand where you are coming from,but both ties in wales ????? celtic play in glasgow not belfast

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  9. goosygoosy


    ALLYJAMBO
    JUNE 18, 2017 at 10:20
     HOMUNCULUSJUNE 18, 2017 at 00:30 Why does that have to be “remembered”.  ______________
    I do feel that if we are being critical of any survival plan that TRFC might appear to be following, that as well as showing how or why it is likely to fail, we must also look at the more positive aspects of how it might just pay off for them. After all, there has to be something that makes them believe their plan might work, no matter how slim the chances of success are. It is still a long shot, though, but long shots sometimes pay off, just not very often.
    ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
    That’s exactly the reckless all in strategy that lead to RFC plc  going into liquidation in 2012
    If TRFC Ltd continue down a similar road despite having something like 50% of the resources that RFC had they are more likely to fail than to succeed
    Time will tell
    ,,,,,,,,,,,,,
    Worth revisiting in Sept/Oct 2017

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  10. jimbo

    jimbo


    I was trying to magnanimous there Tony, Linfield lose their home advantage so Celtic should do the same. 

    A compromise – Celtic play their home tie at Firhill!  It’s Glasgow but not home.

    Besides I would never tire of seeing that scary PT mascot image around the place, best ever!

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  11. bigboab1916


    Still cannot work out how if the court case gives the date of the wee tax case and it been made known to White prior to his takeover and been in demand during his takeover. A bill in Murrays watch and a bill known by all parties that Regan can basically lie and not be took to a football arbitrition this is like Jim Farry all over again.
    From the evening times  and from EUFA rules below the guy is a liar.
    “UEFA rules state clubs taking part in their competitions must declare any “overdue payables” to the taxman and reveal details on whether there is a commitment to repay amounts, or a dispute over any bill.”
    “But Regan revealed the SFA have been in dialogue with Celtic on this issue for the past three years and insisted the governing body had acted entirely in accordance with the rules.”
    Article 66 – No overdue payables towards employees and/or social/tax
    authorities – Enhanced
    1 The licensee must prove that as at 30 June of the year in which the UEFA club
    competitions commence it has no overdue payables (as specified in Annex VIII)
    towards its employees and/or social/tax authorities (as defined in paragraphs 2
    and 3 of Article 50) that arose prior to 30 June
    2 By the deadline and in the form communicated by the UEFA administration, the
    licensee must prepare and submit a declaration confirming the absence or
    existence of overdue payables towards employees and social/tax authorities.
    3 The following information must be given, as a minimum, in respect of each
    overdue payable towards employees, together with explanatory comment:
    a) Name of the employee;
    b) Position/function of the employee;
    c) Start date;
    d) Termination date (if applicable); and
    e) Balance overdue as at 30 June, including the due date for each overdue
    element.
    4 The following information must be given, as a minimum, in respect of each
    overdue payable towards social/tax authorities, together with explanatory
    comment:
    a) Name of the creditor;
    b) Balance overdue as at 30 June, including the due date for each overdue
    element.
    5 The declaration must be approved by management and this must be evidenced
    by way of a brief statement and signature on behalf of the executive body of the
    licensee.
    6 If the licensee is in breach of indicator 4 as defined in Article 62(3), then it must
    also prove that, as at the following 30 September, it has no overdue payables
    (as specified in Annex VIII) towards employees and/or social/tax authorities that
    arose prior to 30 September. Paragraphs 2 to 5 above apply accordingly.

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  12. tony

    tony


    JIMBO
    I was trying to magnanimous there Tony, Linfield lose their home advantage so Celtic should do the same. 
    celtic shouldnt lose anything jimbo,sorry mate not gonna happen

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  13. jimbo

    jimbo


    I remember AJ saying a few days ago that he might not always remember exact details (like Auldheid & EJ  et. al.) me even more so.

    One thing I seem to remember is that long before 30 June Rangers legal/ financial advisors? told them they were in shit street with the wee tax case, they accepted that apparently.  The side letters were the killer.  HMRC had already won a similar case – Aberdeen Asset Management?

    God only knows how Regan thought this had no bearing, he seemed to believe something along the lines that negotiations were on going.  They weren’t, not even a payment plan nor size of interest/ punishment payments.  They were due.  Full stop.

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  14. broganrogantrevinoandhogan


    HomunculusJune 18, 2017 at 10:11
    I doubt you will ever find any post or opinion from me that suggests that a club should be run in anything other than in a proper businesslike manner or that I suggest anywhere that a club should speculate to accumulate or measure its success or its very being by the performance of its first team.
    Nor have I ever suggested that a club should be run by fans.
    On the contrary, let me make it clear that I personally think that a club should always be run by professionals and by people with business expertise in a variety of areas.
    The entire thrust of my point was that the promise and method of fan ownership promoted by Fergus McCann was simply never going to be although he personally may well have believed that was possible.
    No matter what form of ownership is in situ, and irrespective of the legal structure that governs the true ownership of any football club, you are still going to need a board of professional directors and managers throughout the footbal club who will take charge of finances, management decisions, management strategies, business plans and so on.
    I have never suggested management by fan committee as that would clearly not work and would be utter folly.
    Anyway, enough of me and my opinions. I will go back to lurking and sleeping.

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  15. Jingso.Jimsie

    Jingso.Jimsie


    ALLYJAMBO

    JUNE 18, 2017 at 19:46       
    I have absolutely no doubt they will, but I was looking at the net position after all costs and VAT have been deducted, then TV rights added before averaging out the ‘profit’ as 50,000 at £20 per bum. Not even a fag packet calculation, just an attempt to show how the estimate of £1m per home match is easily achievable for them, and makes Europa Cup participation potentially very lucrative for TRFC, despite the moderate level of prize money per round.
    ———————————————-

    I wonder who’ll pay to cover TRFC versus Nondescripty Nobodi from Eastern Europe? BT cover the group stages, but would they be motivated to shell out extra for a qualifier? I doubt that BBC/STV would be interested. That leaves the likes of Prime Sports etc. Would they pay six figures?

    I’d also wonder that TV coverage could have an adverse affect on the gate at Ibrox, with fans choosing to watch lower-cost TV coverage with a few beers, rather than spend £30 or £40 on a ticket plus travel & refreshments.  

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  16. naegreetin


    Re JJ @ 11.11 19 June

    Re coverage of the Ibrox Europa qualifier – given the “mood-music” that emanates from the BBC i bet they are wetting their pants to cover the tie – personally , I couldn’t give a f*ck who they get as they shouldn’t be in the draw in the first place but best wishes to the other Scottish teams in the draws – I hope Jimbo’s nightmare draw for Celtic doesn’t materialise !

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  17. Allyjambo

    Allyjambo


    JINGSO.JIMSIEJUNE 19, 2017 at 11:11

    Rest assured, TRFC’s first ever Europen campaign will be covered on TV, from start to finish, no matter who they play.  Just think of the coverage they got in the lowest tier of the Scottish league for evidence of that.

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  18. Big Pink


    New blog up by a new contributor – a very Honest Man 🙂

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  19. One day, Katie, you will wind up in an NHS A&E, and we will treat you as well as we can, without hesitation, as we do all bigots & haters. https://t.co/pwf1ni8Gvo

    So proud and pleased for my good pal @Cairney2 many congratulations Jim! https://t.co/EEBASaeVEU

    Dave King and The Takeover Panel – The Truth that dare not speak its name. https://t.co/znjDUL8xvl via @wordpressdotcom

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