Published on 3 Jul 2012

Potential conflicts of interest at the heart of Scottish football

It all makes the clearest possible sense. Running one football club whilst having a financial interest in another is about the clearest potential conflict of interest possible in the business of sport.

Yet Channel 4 News can now reveal such possible potential conflicts are a commonplace within the game, involving key individuals, and it is allowed within the rules of the governing bodies as presently written.

Not only that. In one case this perceived conflict involves none other than the current president of the Scottish Football Association, Campbell Ogilvie, already described as “heavily conflicted” by his own chief executive and currently offering to stand aside if his presence in the job is a problem.

Offering – but not doing so.

Channel 4 News has a Companies House list of Rangers shareholders for 2008 and 2010. They prove, for instance, that the current Airdrie chairman and president of the Scottish Football League, James William Ballantyne, had 568 Rangers shares in 2008 when chairman of Airdrie.

Now, nobody is pretending these shares are worth very much money at all in the vast sea of Rangers shares. People will be interested in the principle of all this, though, not the money.

Let us consider some other high-profile figures – like Mr Ogilvie. He remains president of the Scottish FA, despite that “heavily conflicted” comment from his chief exec. In 2008 a Companies House report showed Mr Ogilvie held 3,505 Rangers shares whilst in senior management at Hearts. That year he became chief executive at Hearts and suddenly transferred his 3,505 Rangers shares to his wife Karolina, who already held 400 – thus giving her 3,905 shares.

And so to the one-time sectarian crooner Donald Findlay. Infamous for leading sectarian singing at an Ibrox function in 1999, he may have been forced out of Rangers over that unfortunate musical issue but he has not left Rangers in so many other ways. By 2010 Companies House records will tell you he held 9,900 Rangers shares whilst Chairman of Cowdenbeath FC.

No doubt there are other examples.

And so to the rulebook. Well, the Scottish Football Association rules state that:

“Except with the prior written consent of the Board, no Member, Associate Member or Official, may at one time either directly or indirectly:-

21.1.1 hold or seek to acquire beneficial ownership of or deal in the shares or securities of another club; or

21.1.2 be a member or shareholder of, or lender in any capacity to, more than one club…”

Along the corridor at Hampden Park, the Scottish Football Association handbook says pretty much the same things. And in the rules there is the rider that owning less than a 3 per cent total share value is OK.

We are talking about way less than 1 – let alone 3 – per cent in these cases.

The rules also state that having family members owning shares means they are treated as associates. That is, you’re all one in the eyes of the SFA and the SFL rulebook. Transferring shares from, say, Campbell Ogilvie to his wife would make no difference at all in law. Presumably Mr Ogilvie knew all this – he’s widely seen as an expert in football regulation.

So it’s a curious tale. What binds these people to their shares, since it cannot be the financial value? Emotion? It is far from clear. And what makes them hang on to them year after year, when doing so clearly suggests a potential conflict of interest to many, regardless of whether or not any rules have been broken?

Jim Ballantyne said everything had been declared to the boards, and in any case the share numbers are absolutely miniscule. He said:

“I see no problem here at all” and “I cleared everything with the boards” and “You are talking about the tiny fragment of one percent of ownership and this involves absolutely no influence whatsoever”.

We say that may well be true, but would it not be sensible to divest all shares in any other club when running a different one, let alone the SFL itself, just in order to avoid any perceived conflict of interest?

“No – not at all. It’s never been raised at any board meeting,” said Mr Ballantyne.

“Well, I’m raising it now’ I said.

“Well, you’re not in football,” he replied. I cannot seriously think that the president of the Scottish Football League believes only football directors can take a view on this – not the fans, not the public and not journalists. But that is what he told Channel 4 News.

And so to Donald Findlay. His case is perhaps the most curious of the lot. There is the perceived conflict of interest in running Cowdenbeath whilst owning almost 10,000 Rangers shares.

We asked Mr Findlay about the shares issue. We received the message back that he is not interested in answering, and a Cowdenbeath messenger said Mr Findlay says: “You can do what you want.” So the world must wait to know whether or not Mr Findlay regards his Rangers as a conflict of interest. If he does, he certainly does not want to talk to us about it.

At the end of the day, what you have here is another spotlight into the cosy, cronyish old world of Scottish Football, which has predictably lumbered into the 21st century only to come close to real collapse through lack of proper oversight and governance.

Many would simply say any sport which allows anyone a financial stake at all in one club whilst running another is a sport badly in need of urgent overhaul.

From these men today, no consideration or comment on the fans, the public, how this might look. Just the usual insouciance when faced with the concept that whether rules are actually broken or not, this hardly conveys a healthy impression of Scottish football.

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92 reader comments

  1. metaknight says:

    *something about the masonic order*

  2. Chris Traquair says:

    You’re getting closer to the truth Alex. Keep digging, keep following the line of cronyism and I’m sure you’ll get there sooner or later.

    1. Marty says:

      Mr Thomson is trying his best to make a mountain out of the molehill of very small amounts of shares (the old Rangers company has over 100 million shares, for example). But no doubt some folk believe there is a big, evil conspiracy at the root of it….

      1. johnny says:

        c’mon marty, I expected better of you mate..you used to be a lot more clue’d up thatn that…wise up man!

      2. Ignatius says:

        Well he seems to have been right so far. He’s been making mountains out of molehills since the very start of this debacle. At which point will you admit the truth to yourself Marty

      3. Ian Ferguson says:

        Marty, ordinary non Rangers or Celtic fans think the SFA & SPL are biased in the favour of what was the “The Old Firm”.

        Guys like Peat soon convinced us that the bias was real but was in Rangers favour, proven by years of “Honest Mistakes”.

        Rangers are to all intents & purposes gone yet the bias remains.

        Every rule bent or broken to try & ensure that Sevco get entry to the SPL or at worst the1st division………. AN HONEST FOOTBALL MAN SUMMED IT ALL UP…..CORRUPT. If it is allowed to happen Scottish Football is dead.

        All the wee shareholders should abstain as they are obviously biased…. Is Findlay neatral? Does he give a toss for the greater good of the other teams?

        Ogilvie should resignbut won’t & the corruption is so ingrained that nothing will be done about it.

        I can see Scottish Football being declared “not fit for purpose” & us ending up a satellite of the English FA, which would suit FIFA.

        All to help a newco who people hope will be a Rangers clone.

      4. RodtheFierce says:

        Over 100 million shares? I find that hard to be true and even if it is it doesn’t matter, it’s ridiculous to have shares in a club when you work for the SFA, no matter how small, on paper it’s still a fact. I mean there’s being secretly biased and then there’s being openly biased. Which way did Mr Ogilvie choose?

  3. redcliffescott says:

    Scottish mafia, simple as that. Hutton is right.
    It says little done to rectify cronyism in Scottish football journalism for the last god knows how long.

  4. Iniquitous says:

    Alex:

    Another excellent article. Perhaps a question regarding the following hypothetical situation could have been posed to Messrs Ballantyne and Findlay?

    Sevco 5088 are introduced to Division 3. Eventually, they meet either Airdrie United or Cowdenbeath in a situation where three points to said Sevco mean either promotion or avoidance of relegation. Would that not constitute, at a minimum, a perceived conflict of interest?

    As for Ogilvie’s stance, it is so utterly shameless, it beggars belief.

    Keep up the good work, Alex – I respectfully suggest a re-focus on Doncaster and Regan after this week’s shenanigans.

    Iniquitous

    1. Marty says:

      None of them have any shares in Sevco 5088 and since so many folk are trying to tell us it’s a brand new club as well as a different company….

  5. Shamrock hoops says:

    Alex Thomson- legend! Scottish football has been corrupt for many a year, only now are the Scottish public hearing the truth! Sevco 5088 must start in div 3, justice must be done!

  6. Rod says:

    Another great article Alex. These people have no shame as well as no idea about integrity in what should be a fair sport.
    I am surprised that so many corrupt practices have escaped the radar of UEFA. How can Scottish Football hold its head up when such laughable practices are blatantly being practiced?
    I am a supporter of the Scottish game but the sooner this farce falls flat on it’s face and has to start again the better for all of us.

  7. Caltat says:

    Interesting piece and if glasnost is to prevail in the Scottish game it would be good for all club officials to declare their true ties to other clubs.

    The conflict of interest with Donald Findlay s a non-starter really – we have all asked ourselves how this once rabid Rangers man could share his allegiance with any other club.

    The truth is that they operate (until now) in different levels of the game in Scotland so the situation is of zero consequence. We dismissed it a long time ago.

  8. Paddy Quinn says:

    The one good thing about this whole sorry mess is that now the whole world can see clearly what many of us have seen for years- That the disgusting corruption inside RFC did not stop there, but extended into the very halls of power of the SFA, the organisation that should have been the ones policing the wrongdoing at RFC.

    Don’t for a second think that this is a new revelation for many of us. This type of thing is almost as old as the RFC1872 itself.

  9. Alec McAulay says:

    Well done. One of many stories that have been waiting to be picked up by an active and serious sports journalist in Scotland willing to take on the likes of Mr Findlay. If only there had been any …

  10. Henry Clarson says:

    I’m truly surprised that you seem to find this surprising, Alex.

  11. So Sally can wait... says:

    Rule 1 of the establishment: You do not talk about the establishment.

    Rule 2 of the establishment: You do not talk about the establishment.

    All the furore of the past year or so will be insignificant when the findings of the dual contract investigation become public.

    Great work Alex.

  12. Ocuilte says:

    Excellent article Alex. Be interesting to see if it is
    I led up by any other MSM. I’m still very worried about the way rangers affairs have been glossed over by all with one or two exceptions.

  13. laptoployal says:

    Another great report Alex. The Rangers fiasco has highlighted how pervasive corruption is within Scottish football, epitomised by the completely conflicted Campbell Ogilive. The arrogance of the responses to your questions speaks volumes about these people. Rather than modify the league structure to accommodate a newco, what is needed is a completely new football authority that is free from corruption and sectarian bias.

  14. The Octagon says:

    Is anyone genuinely surprised about these shareholdings and the potential for conflict of interest arising ? My only surprise would be if these individuals were the only ones in the Scottish game in this position.

    ‘Corrupt’ as the Raith Rovers chairman said today to the assembled press.

  15. Glesgataxi says:

    Scottish Football – Rotten to the core.

  16. brianbhoy07 says:

    Excellent piece of journalism, Alex…only here in Scotland, the corruption has long been public knowledge. It just appears that nobody here is empowered to cease this ‘game played with loaded dice’, oh and outside of Scotland…nobody seems to care.
    Where are the ethics of UEFA/FIFA now? I wish they would finally act on this scandalous affair!

  17. David Dobbie. says:

    Could not have anything to do with “The sash their father wore” or the special handshakes they know could it?

  18. shooglynifty says:

    Another nail smacked on the head by Mr. Thompson. Well done, keep digging, lots more to see here.

  19. John says:

    Isn’t it just amazing how these stories are only coming out now? The Scottish media should hang their heads in shame. Well done Mr Thomson on doing your job, its a real shame there isn’t more like you in Scotland. I suggest you start reading blogs such as this and understanding what real journalists do!

  20. Brian Boyce says:

    Well done Alex what a story. No wonder we all think Celtic are paranoid they have every rite to be. The Scottish people would be mad to vote for independence as the whole of Scottish society is corrupted by Presbyterianism. That’s why they don’t like you aswell as Celtic and other faiths. Scottish football has always been the same. When it was for Airdie Livingston or Gretna we didn’t see such a clammed to save them or the staff employed by these companies. They were allowed to die with dignity and came back with new names and made there way back. Rangers owner Murray didn’t like the achiements of Celtic so plied Rangers with money that was borrowed to try emulate Celtic. As hard as he tried it cost him his team. I personally think that SFL clubs are being railroaded into something that’s of no fault of there own but might have to carry the can for it. Can the SFA/SFL now be trusted to carryout proper investigations into dual contracts I think not. Messers Doncaster Reagan and Ogilvies positions are totally untenable. Rangers haven’t been found guilty of certain things yet e.g the big tax case dual contracts but Scottish football is struggling to punish Rangers just now so rest assured they will not be able to punish them the way cheats should be. As the Scottish footballing establishment is run the way Rangers want it to be. Wouldnt it just be really interesting if there was a SPL ref with an ebt lol. As I said at the top of the page well done Alex you done more just peeking round the door than any Scottish journalist has done in 140 years of Rangers history. Keep up the good work.

    1. Marty says:

      “The whole of Scottish society is corrupted by Presbyterianism”? Wow. There’s an insight into the mindset of some of those attacking Rangers. Not all, of course.

    2. supercool says:

      i think you’re paranoid mate. you need to chill

    3. M Davidson says:

      Well said Brian.. No.. not paranoid as you would like everyone to ‘believe we are’ Those days are over.. And no.. to Scottish independence and Alex Salmond.

  21. Johnny Seven says:

    Great insightful article Alex. Hutton is correct. The game in this country is and has been for some years corrupt to the core. This includes the succulent lamb MSM.
    You are onto something here the likes of which has never been exposed to any degree, mainly due to this country being a bit of a backwater (or hidey hole) conveniently so for the power brokers. Keep digging Alex.

  22. Carntyne says:

    To the point as always. One thing I will dispute however.

    Its is not the ‘cronyish old world of Scottish Football’ as you put it.

    It is the ‘cronyish old world’ of Rangers and their sychophants.

    ‘We are the people’

    Corrupt and don’t care who knows it, seems to be the case.

  23. Gorygreg71 says:

    Alex there is no conflict of interest with these people and many more other “influential” characters. They are/were only interested in one, now demised club, RFC1872. Their other interests are only side shows which come in handy when lending a helping hand to their “emotional” club like now when the proposed phoenix club need some “outside” persuasion or votes within the filth ridden structure. This has long been suspected and is not a complete surprise. The arrogance of these people depicted by sing along Findlays response gives you a small insight into the mechanics of life in Western Scotland, unfortunately not only in football circles. Some might reflect and compare it to the “Eton” brigades influence in politics and beyond.

  24. Dunderheid says:

    So many holier than thou comments. Its more complex and less “dark” than “corruption”. Many of those you name will have grown up and remained as Rangers supporters. is that to have excluded them thereafter from involvement in any other club? The sentimental ownership/retention of insignificant amounts of shares is hardly a crime. The conflict if interest you all are on your high horses about is no conflict at all in reality. These shareholdings by themselves provide(d) no ability to influence the governance of Rangers. And in an office capacity with another club, I am sure they would have loved their club (say Cowdenbeath or Airdrie)to have beaten Rangers in any game in which they may have been drawn together. Its surely not too dissimilar to professional players enjoying scoring against they team they supported as lads and maybe still support. Further, these uncorrupt and natural biases are held by all of us in some way or another. Integrity is about being willing and able to subordinate ones known and acknowledged biases in order to honestly and fairly carry out the responsibilities of the role one is in. But, all of us are, and are allowed to be supporters, surely.

  25. Estorilbhoy says:

    Alex, good investigative reporting, thanks.

    Now here’s a cry for help. This whole shambolic mess has to be taken out of Scotland, I.e. awareness of the shenanigans is broadcast and publicised for all to see in the wider national (uk ) and international community, anything less then all of this will be swept under the carpet as the wrongdoers are the ones in charge and who hold the power.

    Can I ask that, using your media influence, you champion the cause of bringing this to the forefront of the uk and international media in order for people to fully appreciate what is happening ( and has happened for years) to our beautiful game in Scotland.

    Many thanks.

  26. Paddy Quinn says:

    Start with a clear-out of SFA needed as it’s the most infected. Give the top job to Turnbull Hutton.

    Then sack Donkey-caster, make next season the last ever SPL season, then just unite the top tier back into the control of the SFL.

    We wanna see real football, ran by people who love the game. If this farce doesn’t end soon then I fully expect to see Vince McMahon of the WWE to be appointed to run Scottish Football. Maybe he will have more success in making sure the outcomes of competitions are decided before a ball is kicked.

  27. Simon says:

    “SFA handbook……..in the rules there is the rider that owning less than a 3 per cent total share value is OK.”

    Much ado about nothing or do the rules not matter ?

    Still it will serve to have your disciples running around shouting “OMG” !

    1. Paddy Quinn says:

      These same people refuse to enforce the rules in the same SFA handbook when it comes to Rangers.

      That’s what the “much ado” is about. If they terminated the membership of this corrupt, toxic, cheating club then justice would be done and Football could move on.

      1. Simon says:

        It´s so ironic that what I imagine is your club, CFC PLC would like to retain RFC in the SPL if there was a way because of “interests”.
        However they aren´t brave enough to come out and say it……..their silence is deafening !

        The sporting integrity bandwagon, started by the Celtic Politcal Arm has now picked up so many passangers that it is now hurtling along out of control.

      2. ofgtf says:

        The celtic silence is definitely deafening! It seems that the club have a different idea about how they would like things to turn out than the fans have… Why are they not saying a word on this? Why are they not demanding Ogilvies head on a plate?

  28. Philip Edwards says:

    Alex,

    I know I keep banging on about this. But once the Rangers saga has reached its logical conclusion (whatever it may be) can you PLEASE turn your attention to the English Premier League and the English Football League?

    In particular, can you please turn your attention to the connections in governance of the EPL and the EFA? Believe me, it makes the Scottish situation look like the difference between the Northern Rock saga and the LIBOR rigging scam- for one, check out the bankruptcy rate in the EFL.

    When you turn over stones don’t be surprised at what you find clinging to the undersides.

  29. Danny says:

    Maybe it’s a mark of my experience supporting Celtic but this is underwhelming and wholly expected. I’d be surprised if there are not many more directors/officials of other clubs who had similar shareholdings in the now defunct Rangers Football Club. In fact, I’d be more surprised if there are not Referees and other match officials who had held shareholdings in the x-football club.

    What you really need to look into is how a senior official of the SPL can call for chairmen of SFL clubs, not only to allow the new club (that will look like and smell like the now dead Rangers) direct access to SFL1, but quote that the also must be in the SPL for season 2013/2014. That is nothing short of requesting football chairmen accept the new entity into their league at the top level and then ask that they allow that entity to win that league guaranteeing promotion. If SFL chairmen sign up to this then this is match/league fixing never seen before in world football.

    After today SPL clubs should be calling for a vote of ‘No Confidence’ in Neil Doncaster and ultimately his resignation for bringing the game in this country into disrepute.

    1. Auldheid says:

      This is a very important point. The message being given out to Scottish football is keeping Rangers as a top club is more important than the game itself.

      If I were a supporter of an SFL1 club I’d be asking for a 40 point handicap to be given to counter the honest mistakes that will be required to propel Newco back to SPL1 because it is clear that is the only thing that matters.

      I cannot believe the ideas being put forward to justify this wrong and the lack of ethics and morality is astounding.

      1. Simon says:

        Well I take it with a 1st division compromise that´ll be you and many others “not going back”, will it ???

        Or were the threats, if not from yourself but from so many others empty ?

  30. jocky bhoy says:

    For many years the Scottish footballing establishment was protective of Rangers.

    Whether its the SFA and SPL seemingly acting in cahoots for their benefit, jobs for “peepel” such as Gordon Smith, ex-Rangers player, pundit and sometime football agent who was appointed Chief Executive at the SFA. Departing after a turbulent few years he subsequently joined Rangers as Director of Football. Campbell Ogilvy, who had nearly 30 years at Rangers, including a lengthy period when Rangers operated a “tradition… in not signing a Roman Catholic” according to then owner David Murray. Mr Ogilvy was also as being a beneficiary of Rangers dubious tax arrangements, but was, and is, thought suitable for role of President of the SFA.

    With friends in such high places, is it any wonder no-one bothered to scrutinise Rangers accounts? It seems to me these cosy relationships led to a lack of oversight with regard to Rangers that other teams would never have benefited from.

    Of course the issue of shareholding is moot now, as Rangers no longer existing made their shares worthless. HOWEVER now would seem a good time to clean house – both regarding rules on shares (whether Old or Newco ) as well as considering those responsible for this debacle are fit and proper to lead Scottish football into some respectability.

  31. Neil Pye says:

    Excellent blog again Alex’. I think you should now concentrate on the MSM individually and ask them to explain why they are so far behind you,be it cowardice’ or just being inept. Also FIFA and UEFA must get involved now. Have you kept them posted?

  32. Eastern Promise says:

    Great piece Alex – keep up the good work. You might also want to question the Celtic board why they have not come out and opposed Newco entry to the SPL – and why they are lobbying SFL chairmen on the qt about supporting Newco entry to Div 1. While the old Rangers have obviously corrupted the core of the Scottish football authorities, we should forget the role of Celtic in engineering the demise of the game north of the border with their part in the Old Firm cabal. A cabal designed to carve up the spoils between themselves and the cheats from Ibrox. Let’s not be fooled into thinking that Celtic have ever acted in anything but their own self-interest – it’s just that as far as we know, they haven’t done it illegally.

    I have a prediction, once the SPL is finally shot of RFC, the remaining chairmen will get together to change the voting structure from the ludicrous 11-1, to something more democratic. The chances of Celtic offering incentives to another SPL club (St.Mirren perhaps?), to vote with them against the change, must be high.

    1. Bruce says:

      Do you have the slightest evidence that Celtic have lobbied other teams in favour of sevco? Celtic have not made a statement for some simple reasons. The second they do it’ll be turned into a Celtic and Rangers (even though they don’t exist anymore) issue and any clubs who vote against sevco will be treated as though they sided with Celtic.

  33. jasbhoy says:

    This, Mr Thomson, is the reason the Celtic support have been accused of paranoia for 100+ years, it’s taken that long for a journalist to have the cajones to ask the real questions, hats off to you sir. There are no journalists in Scotland, you know, the succulent lamb sort, who would never broach such a subject, the rule makers have, for 100+ years, been pro Rankers and this will never change, the masonic brotherhood will see to that.
    Can you imagine if this was the English FA and the club in question was Man Utd? this would be front page news, be debated in parliament and a public police enquiry would be convened. But no, this is Scotland the most bigoted wee country in the world.
    For all your digging Alex, I’m afraid it has been to no avail, they (the powerbrokers) are just ignoring both you and the facts, whilst batoning down the hatches with their fingers crossed that it will all just go away.

    1. ofgtf says:

      Celtic and their fans ARE paranoid f.c

      You may be amazed by this piece of information my friend. there are more than two clubs in Scotland! Both the glasgow bigots have had it all there own way for decades.

      Scottish football would be a far cleaner, fairer and less hateful place without any of the two of you.

  34. Patrick says:

    These are yet further examples of the “Rangers man” syndrome which is endemic in all walks of life in this country.

    It has all got to do with the near fascist racist attitudes bred in to these people since birth which apparently confirms their superiority over all things Catholic or Irish.

    1. Angus says:

      Nonsense you people are so blinded by your own bigotry.

  35. David says:

    Please tell which part of “the sash” is sectarian, Alex?

    Last year’s legislation deemed it perfectly acceptable to sing at football grounds, and previous court cases have had it deemed legally as a folk song.

    Sure, add-ons make singing versions of it illegal, but that could be said about “Simply the Best” too.

    Is Tina Turner sectarian? Findlay didn’t sing add-ons. Neither did thunder-thighs.

    You fail to mention who is carrying out the investigation into Rangers’ dual contract allegations. Namely CELTIC’s lawyers. A club who could benefit directly from such an investigation.

    Please, elaborate why you lied about the sash, and why such a blatant form of conflict of interest was conveniently ignored?

    Pandering to the obsessive anti-Rangers bloggers yet again, I see.

    1. RodtheFierce says:

      Where did he mention The Sash? In another post was it?

      Also are you claiming Celtic should not have gotten involved in the investigation into Rangers breaking the rules? Do you not think it was in the interests of Scottish football to put an end to such practices? Do you think it’s ok that Rangers denied Celtic and other teams all those titles or denied European teams a UEFA cup final place?

      I’m not having a go, I’m just trying to make you understand why EVERYONE is finding it hard to support Rangers right now. Especially if they and the majority of their fans show the humility and maturity of a spoilt child.

    2. jocky bhoy says:

      From a newspaper report on the fining and official censure by his own professional body, the Faculty of Advocates: “During the evening Mr Findlay led the singing of sectarian songs”, which the faculty described as “of a nature offensive to the Roman Catholic Church and community in Scotland”.

      If an independent body of lawyers who have been admitted to practise as advocates before the courts of Scotland, especially the Court of Session and the High Court of Justiciary deems what Findlay sang as sectarian, I don’t give much for your chances of arguing otherwise.

  36. dangleberry says:

    Oh dear
    Another pop at an individual club. Do you deliberately play the part of the bias journalist in order to ingratiate yourself with Celtic fans.
    If this article was in any way balanced it would have shown the many footballing ” interests ” at Celtic. But of course that wouldnt suit your purpose would it Alex. It seems that by appealing to the paranoid hordes you have nailed your colours well and truly to the mast .You appear to be likeminded bedfellows.

    1. Vic says:

      Lol the dangleberry speaks .

    2. jas says:

      I imagine if it were Celtic that had been cheating and stealing the tax payers money for many years then AT would’ve been on their case.
      HMRC are looking for a foothold, and thank god they chose your corrupt club, it couldn’t happen to a more deserving, bigoted and sectarian club (Linfield maybe).
      So man up and take what’s coming, it’s been a helluva wait

  37. dangleberry says:

    Of course the paranoid hordes also seem to forget that Peter Lawwell holds a senior position at the SFA. Conflict of interests Alex ?? or are you just not interested.

    1. Aidan says:

      But then Peter Lawwell isn’t in charge of a tax dodging bunch of cheats who have brought Scottish Football to its knees

    2. Aidan says:

      But Celtic are not under investigation for any wrongdoing perceived or otherwise, so what conflict?

      1. shaunthebrummie says:

        but celtic will forever be remembered in england and known in england as the team who’s fans raised 1000’s of pounds,so bombs could be built and planted in england and no doubt killed innocent people…no matter what the left wing,anti english C4 may try and deflect…

      2. Patrick says:

        Go read the history of England’s occupation of Ireland and hang your head in shame!

  38. Auldheid says:

    Alex it is all very well to point out the vested interests and how those in power protect them, the question is how do we root then out? Who has the power to say enough. This is no longer acceptable.

    What we are witnessing is those in power exercising it and using the love every supporter has for their club against them because the corrupters are banking that we will keep on supporting.

    I think this is now a different horse race. I want these guys out, I want an independent enquiry which means no Scottish representative on Board. If Rangers were part of the social fabric of Scotland, they are now a bit part whose existence still has a corrosive influence as the current mess demonstrates.

    The Scottish Government must now express a view and set up an enquiry and if UEFA object, tell UEFA to do it or they will.

    1. Dougie says:

      I contacted both UEFA and FIFA after the farce last week when SPL started seriously bullying and threatening the SFL clubs.

      Due to their lack of even a courtesy acknowledgement I conclude that they condone what’s going on in Scottish football’s corridors of power.

  39. Phil says:

    “No doubt there are other examples.” give us a full list Alex. I’m sure there are probably some that may have shares in other clubs. Its surely just coincedence that you mention these two?

  40. morty says:

    Have been following this in print and first time I have posted. This situation ie rangers going out of existence is remarkable indeed. I find the journalistic bias in Scotland almost flabbergasting however unsurprised. Having followed Scottish football for 40 years often wondered how in free draws that that Celtic and rangers met in so many finals! Perhaps a good mathematician could explian. I and so many others could not apart from the fact that some balls were a different shape etc

  41. smartie1947 says:

    Thanks again Alex for an excellent piece, but can you not enlist a bit of help? When RTC, truly an inspiration in his efforts to expose the fiscal and moral corruption in Scottish football, can win an Orwell Prize for his efforts, why can’t a few heavyweight national sports writers show even a smidgeon of interest. Where are Syed,Samuels,Dickinson,McIlvanney et al, when we in Scotland are crying out for real journalists.Must our position as a regional backwater mean that we have to suffer the cronyism and bias for what passes as sports reporting up here for another 20 years.

  42. Stuart says:

    So now we know the significance of Article of Association 14.1 in Alex’s previous blog.

    There will always be directors and chairmen whose loyalty to the clubs they serve is more akin to the professional loyalty of the players to the club currently paying their wages than to the lifelong support of most fans. That doesn’t mean that many of them do not make a genuine contribution to their clubs and to football. Even Alex isn’t accusing any of them of breaking any rules. But times change, and the rules governing standards of professionally acceptable behaviour must change with them. Financial interest in more than one club must be banned.

    The only reason why there is no de facto conflict of interest in this case is because Rangers’ liquidation has rendered the value of their shares worthless. If the original Rangers had survived and these people were voting on a punishment, then there would have been a real conflict of interest as a very heavy punishment would have affected the value of the shares they own.

  43. seven says:

    Alex, Why not see If you guys who do the who’s connected diagrams could throw one together for us with rangers in the middle surrounded by those with links to club?

  44. Frank61 says:

    Spot on.

    There is so much more. Don’t leave us (the Scots) when this RFC is “finished” as a news story. The real story is what you are currently sifting through and what it says about Scotland as a country. We are deeply sectarian and so need the guiding influence of the English Liberal Classes. God save us from independence.

  45. David says:

    Interesting to note that the writer of the original article appears surprised by what he has “uncovered”, is he suggesting that it is possible to have any affinity with only one brand? I mean I love cars. I own a Ford but given the choice ,I’d rather have a Ferrari ,surely this is the same thing? But no, because where’s the conspiracy theory in that? So that can’t be true There must be something darker and more machiavellian to it than that musn’t there??
    I keep hearing this nonsense about “sporting integrity” don’t make me laugh. What’s going on right now is nothing to do with “sporting integrity” if it were about that then there would be no debate about where Newco Rangers should be playing next ,Div 3 having applied successfully to join the SFL , the very fact there is discussions about any other option ,proves that this is not about “sporting integrity” it’s about self-interest ,same as it’s always been.
    RFC did wrong and have been punished by being forced out of existence but just seeing a 140 year old institution going into liquidation is clearly not enough for some.They also want to punish it’s off-spring.They want revenge for the suffering they believe they have endured ,particularly over the last 25 or so years, they want revenge for being forced to watch Gazza , Laudrup, De boer and Van Bronkhurst and the like, along with a few Kontermans it must be said, humble their heroes . Yes there are those who believe that the demise of RFC is a good thing , personally I do not subscribe to this point of view. Do these people really believe that taking the revenue from over 1000000 paying supporters a season out of the game in Scotland is not in some way going to have an adverse affect on their club and the game in general, and that’s before we take into account the potential loss of TV cash. Apparently the old saying is wrong. Sometimes turkeys do vote for Christmas!!

    1. tommo says:

      thats the problem there is a debate fuelled by the rangers supporting msm and administrators ### you urny getting this ur ye

    2. Craig Whyte's Liquid Eyes says:

      Your analogy is so far off the mark it’s not even on the sane continent mate…owning a Ford and longing for a Ferrari is personal desire…running a football club whilst having a vested interest in another, AND being in a position to influence the game at the highest level is surely a conflict of interest?!?!

      And let’s clear up a couple of the other misconceptions of yours and the deluded masses…

      Sporting integrity being upheld properly means there would be NO place for new club in the professional setup as they do not meet even the most basic requirements, rules ARE being bent yet again for the benefit of zombie gers, yet the knuckle draggers see it only as ‘being kicked when we’re down’….

      RFC (IA) were NOT punished by being forced out of existence, liquidation came around due to the business being insolvent, and having been run so illegally for the best part of a year, and quite possibly more…RFC (IA) have in fact received NO footballing punishment of note…10 point deduction was for entering administration, again a consequence of maladministration bordering on the criminal, yet made no difference to the league placing. A £100k fine fine for bringing the game into disrepute which will remain unpaid along with the rest of the debts, sporting and civil. A transfer embargo stupidly appealed in a court of law, and yet now somehow hanging in limbo somewhere as our SFA, (remember conflicts of interest?!), potter around trying to save the dodo…

      RFC (IA) is guilty of cheating on an industrial scale, (without the BTC verdict the use of EBT’s was still illegal in either a civil sense, a sporting sense, (dual contracts), or both. As the club is now exhaling it’s last breath, then retrospective punishments must be applied to ensure that the history books are altered to rid Scottish football of this shameful period, (how old were you when the ‘cheats don’t win’ mantra was first drummed into you, and this is exactly what we have here.

      New club are being treated exactly the same as any other new application would by being asked to begin at the bottom, (better than most actually as requirements for 3 years of accounts are likely to be waived). Should they accept this and work their way up through their own achievements, then NO punishments will be applied, and rightly so. They do however seem determined to cling on to the tainted history of the dead club, and should they wish to do so, then they have to accept EVERY punishment still to be applied, (BTC, dual contracts, transfer embargo, payment of creditors).

      Let the history die with the rotting carcass and move on a free man…try to pick up the baton and run with it, then you carry the burden of the dead…it’s a straightforward choice if you ask me…

    3. John Bud says:

      David, your analogy of loving cars would be more apt if, say you owned ford (racing)and had a bit part ownership of ferrari (racing) and the two teams were competing in the the WRC! Would you really not see any conflict there?? If so please stop reading now, as the rest of this reply is going to fly way way over your head!!
      RFC have had every helping hand extended to them in the course of my life, from the officials in charge of the game to the officials in of ‘The Game’! As if anyone needed reminding, why was it jim farry had to resign?? If anyone actually thinks that Scottish football has ever been on a level playing field then I don’t want them building my next house!! Rfc have been given preferential treatment for far too long and now that they are taken to task on very obvious ‘issues’ they still expected the old boys game to ensure a slap on the wrists and sent on their way! Time to wipe clean the whole house of cards and start again with fair and honest people at the helm, otherwise we are dragging the knuckledraggers along with us!! Rant over and Alex, brilliant blog again! As has been mentioned, please keep digging into the sfa,spl,spl and the MSM as they are all as bad as each other

  46. John C says:

    The police in Scotland must be busy investigating all the death threats that must be flying around.
    Wonder what the figures are and the success rate is.
    Then again if sending letter bombs is only assault, whats the point in following up until someone is assaulted, not cost effective is it.
    Financial pressures and all that,

  47. CarloC says:

    These shares are now worthless, but that is not the point. The very fact that 3 individuals involved with 3 Scottish clubs, 2 of whom also in positions of power within the SFA and SFL, held shares in RFC is worrying but not surprising.

    A previous poster made the point that Celtic CE Peter Lawwell had a position at the SFA. So what?! To my knowledge he does not hold shares in any other club but his own!

    I would be very interested to study those lists of RFC shareholders for the years that you mention Alex. Quite sure there would be some very interesting names on them!

    Had to laugh at the comments of Jim Ballantyne: because you are not “in football”, how dare you ask questions about a conflict of interest! This from the man who was spotted a few months ago at the Linfield v Rangers(ia) benefit match at Windsor Park, ‘proudly’ wearing his Rangers Fighting Fund badge! The sad thing is that the Scottish msm has almost totally ignored this story; but this is what we have come to expect of them!!

    Interesting few weeks coming up!

    Keep up the good work and keep digging! They Sevco, will no doubt keep digging a hole for themselves!

    1. DasBunker CFC says:

      An interesting avenue,to confirm the cronyism of Scottish journalists, to look at is Hugh Keevin’s DR blog justifying Mr Ballentine’s love for Oldco.
      Basically sums up the need for a massive a clean up of our game and at the same time flush out these inept so called journalists.

  48. Albert says:

    In the interests of balanced reporting it’s surely incumbent on Mr Thomson to look at the shareholding of all major Scottish clubs.

    Cherry picking one club, the one club he always seems to cherry pick, leaves his regular blog readers the impression he has an axe to grind.

    How about it then Mr Thomson. Look into who in Scottish football owns what shares in Scotland’s top clubs and one final question for you.

    Do you own any shares in any club in Scotland? It would be interesting to know since you appear to be alleging the ownership of shares can amount to conflict of interest/bias.

    1. Bruce says:

      Are you Rip Van Winkle?

      1. Albert says:

        I see our intrepid news blogger has not come back with an answer. Perhaps he hasn’t looked.

  49. Paul says:

    Just look at the truly desperate efforts of the Scottish press, the BBC Scotland sport team and the football “authorities” to find a haven for the former Rangers. An unholy, squalid band united through their secret societies and sordid prejudices. They are determined to march boldly backwards into the 17th Century and cannot believe that the people are finally coming together to say “No more”!

    It is this arrogant and immoral collusion that has brought Scottish football to the point where we are now lower in the rankings than, for example, Mali. Many of us have seen the terminal decline over years, decades but no-one with the power in Scotland would act.

    Keep digging Alex – my country needs you!

  50. AMMCN says:

    Alex I’m a celtic fan and am furious that my team have not come out and said which way they intend to vote. They aren’t talking to us maybe they’ll talk to you.

  51. emaxwell says:

    Thanks for your comment. We don’t edit comments, so do send it again with any bits we can’t publish taken out.

  52. Dougie says:

    My third e-mail to the SFA –

    Having not received a reply from the SFA to my last two e-mails, may as well go for broke and send a third with the subject “Unfit for Purpose”

    “I sent two polite e-mails last week – neither received a reply – not even an acknowledgement.

    Following on, reports in the media indicate that the Newco situation continues to stagger from one crisis to another and as ever our national sport authorities are looking like they are incapable of reaching any resolution – let alone a timely one.

    Indeed the whole thing has been farcical from day one.

    You seem intent on disregarding not only your own rules, but those of UEFA and FIFA. The latter puts our honest clubs at risk in European competitions.

    There is no transparency and it it quite obvious from the statements (televised and web based) coming forth from the chairmen of our clubs that all is far from well. I don’t need to elaborate further I’m sure.

    Not only are your actions/inactions not resolving anything – indeed they are making matters worse – and the media reports are damning on your stewardship.

    This reflects on us – the fans.

    You are clearly ‘unfit for purpose’ on the evidence we have available and indeed are driving a knife through the heart of Scottish football.

    I hope you are proud of yourselves – as fans we are not.”

    A waste of my time and effort no doubt, but I do feel better.

  53. William T says:

    Alex, As a Hearts fan I have taken great interest in your blogs and the way you have taken on the crisis that has befallen Scottish football.

    Now that the other SPL clubs have voted not to include the Newco, maybe you could turn your attention to the SPL hierarchy … in particular Mr Doncaster. An answer from either SKY or the SPL for the following question may shine a light on the inactivity of senior SPL management.

    “Whilst in negotiations for the new TV deal, who proposed the update to the SKY/ESPN deal to include the clause that there must be 4 old firm games? Was it SKY or was it Neil Doncaster?”

  54. jas says:

    Why do ex Ragers fans think they will just saunter into Div3 should you fail Div1? Spartans and Cove Rangers have as much if not more of a case, after all they have 3 years of accounts, a stadium and an 18 man squad.
    With the new season ie Ramsdens “diddy” Cup due to kick off in 3 weeks, I reckon there could be a court case or two to come which may mean even more mess……a gift that keeps on giving.

  55. Rickytic says:

    Well done Alex
    why is it when someone tells the truth about teams in the Scottish League or any League they are Biased or is it only if you Mention Rangers
    is telling the truth only Biased when true
    Rangers have adopted the phrase we don’t do walking away and everybody is walking Whyte/Brown/Murray/Green he will walk
    McCoist will be next unless they buy Cowdenbeath for him
    again well done Alex keep digging

  56. Míchael Séamus MacCionnaith says:

    Great report Alex and great work digging into all aspects of that mob. You and Phil Mac Giolla Bhain have played a blinder behind the scenes. On the strength of this story I’ve started a petition for the resignations of Ogilvie, Ballantyne and to a lesser extent Neil Doncaster, purely because he is completely inept. The other two however are breaking their own rules within the SFA and surely that’s a sacking offence? As too, Donald Findlay Sideburns, who’s probably as good a chairman as he is a lawyer. Keep up the great work!

  57. Jim Davison says:

    why dont you ask ex celtic diector Michael Kelly if he owned Rangers shares!!

  58. Atticus Finch says:

    Can you tell us Alex, if any other members have any other shares in any other clubs? ie Celtic?
    You know, for balance and all that?

  59. W Coyle says:

    There are far to many handshakers involved in scottish football.time to weed them all out if at all posible, as they have been there since football began in our country. The Masons run our country never mind football.and nothing will ever change if we just sit back and alow it to happen.

  60. martinmcm1 says:

    The fact that the shares are worthless only makes the story more scandalous.The only reason these individuals can be holding the shares must be due to an emotional attachment to Rangers. This is the conflict of interest, people making decisions about a club which they clearly favour over all of the other clubs in the league (or do these people have shares in every Scottish club?)

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