25 Sep 2012

The rulebook’s there – apply it to Rangers

It’s come to something when a Scottish law lord has to convene a press conference to reassert his own independence.

What kind of country is it where this should ever be contemplated?

What kind of legal system?

What kind of city where this passes almost with so little comment?

The answers, of course, are Glasgow, Glasgow football law, and Glasgow media – where else could such things occur?

Last week former supreme court judge Lord Nimmo Smith put out a statement to assert the case for his own independence. It is taken as read in the UK that the judiciary is independent, it is the bedrock, the fundamental of our legal process across these islands.

Not in Glasgow football land.

Charged with ruling whether or not Rangers failed to declare player payments across the first decade or so, of this century, the judge said:

“It is well understood that a judge, or anyone performing a quasi-judicial function, must be free not only of actual bias, but also of apparent bias.

“Our commission has given careful consideration to this question and has concluded that the fair-minded observer would not conclude there would be any possibility that the chairman was biased.”

What?

Since when did a very senior judge and two QCs feel the necessity to come before the media in Scotland and tell people this?

Of course, it excited much comment about how the judge was putting Rangers owner Charles Green back in his box.. .or that he was minded to treat the new Rangers as liable for the possible failings of the old company under Sir David Murray.

But relatively few people seemed to realise how astonishing it is – and worrying – that such a senior legal figure feels the need to buttress his own and his colleagues’ independence of mind.

The episode tells us much about how toxic things have become in the investigatory world surrounding Rangers, that any of this should be felt necessary at all.

Meanwhile all of this happens as news leaked out last week of the Scottish Premier League offering Rangers a deal to lose some trophies, even in advance of Lord Nimmo Smith’s independent commission doing its work. By dint of this deal, it could all be somehow made to go away, no?

Well, no.

Many a Rangers fan called it a witch-hunt, stitch-up and worse. And I sympathise because it absolutely implies – or states outright – a guilty verdict without any such verdict being sought through due process and the diligence of the Nimmo Smith commission.

In that sense the Ibrox faithful are utterly entitled to feel aggrieved, Scottish Football League voices and many others, equally right in saying this goes against the fundamental of justice that you are innocent until proven otherwise.

Then again, such is the almost genuis quality of this, that Celtic and other fans are also worth listening to when they say it’s yet another attempt to cut Rangers a favourable deal and ignore the rule-book. Once again the SPL team have managed to unite the irreconcilable, for different reasons.

That can’t be helped, says the SPL. Nothing on the record but they say it was Rangers who wanted a solution.

The SPL basically told Rangers there’s a take-it-or-leave-it deal where you admit your guilt and lose some trophies – or you leave it and end up with Lord Nimmo Smith.

Of course, Rangers might be innocent and the gamble works. Or they might end up getting whacked with a major double-whammy: guilty as charged by Nimmo Smith with the added “contempt” of refusing to co-operate with the judge, which is Rangers current position.

We know there’s “a stack of evidence” and we know “there’s a case to answer”. Would you bet the farm on this as Rangers owner Charles Green seems hell-bent on doing?

Equally, many are saying again – what is it with the Scottish Premier League?

Why, at every opportunity, does this body seek to ignore the due process of investigation and try for a deal which ends up alienating all sides?

The absurd failed attempt to parachute Rangers into some bonkers two-tier newfangled achieved the historic miracle of uniting Rangers fans with Celtic and all others in disgust (yes I know, everyone had various reasons that time too…), and it also brought the SPL into deep disrepute and rightly so.

Now, a few short weeks later, they are at it again. Setting Lord Nimmo Smith to work in November on the one hand, whilst clearly attempting a plea bargain on the quiet.

Not for the first time, fans of all colours  question  whether such a body is fit to do the job it is charged with.

Nimmo Smith and the QCs is not the name of an up and coming band, it is the outfit charged with finally ending the long and messy investigation into whether or not Rangers FC cheated for over a decade on player payments. The lord and his band should be allowed to do their work swiftly and effectively in peace, and the SPL must implement their verdict with equal, unflinching efficiency, innocent or guilty.

Anybody wanting short-cut deals, five-way negotiations and two-tier parachutes should be offered medication by Hampden Park then shown the door in future.

The rulebook’s there – simply apply it without fear or favour.

You can follow Alex on Twitter @alextomo

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86 reader comments

  1. Philip Edwards says:

    Alex,

    What is interesting about this is what it implies at a deeper level.

    Like most democrats I am perfectly willing to let objective justice take its course – assuming of course it IS objective. I don’t think any reasonable or fair minded citizen would think otherwise.

    But what is intriguing is, why is all this is happening AROUND A GAME OF FOOTBALL?

    Such is the obfuscation and outright corruption I am beginning to think there might be something much worse………………….

  2. joe macdougall says:

    very well said, the incompetence and sheer stupidity of the SPL beggars belief. Throughout this
    shambolic saga they have totally failed to show any clearness of thought or leadership.

  3. KG says:

    In all of this Rangers affair, the SFA and SPL have acted in a manner that is beyond belief.

    This is then interpreted into different agendas, depending on whether you’re allegience lies Celtic or Rangers.

    Despite the failings of the governing bodies, the situation remains that there is a case to answer and Nimmo Smith and his colleagues must be allowed to do their job and investigate the case.

    Only then, and through the result of the FTT shall we know the truth.

  4. iain says:

    This blog might ake some sense if Nimmo Smith had actually convened a press conference.
    He did not.

    Such a basic error is really unforgivable “Thommo”

    1. Marty says:

      Yep, poor Thommo gets all worked up (or pretends to get all worked up) about a press conference that didn’t even happen. And Rangers had every right to put forward the case they did.

      1. Prince Charles says:

        Marty,
        Jimmy Dee is right when he types that Charles Green,the sophist,should be on at the Glasgow Pavillion.Performing a King Lear type soliloquy for the gullible,or,for 99.9% of the rest of the world,an extremely funny Dave Allen type tribute act of comedy story telling magnitude the likes of which nobody in this universe,or any other universe for that matter,thought was remotely possible.
        P.S.he should consider legally changing that name,I mean,come on a Mr Green owner of Ibrox stadium!
        Studies carried out by Strathclyde University show that 9 out of 10 people are in danger of laughing themselves to death,unless Mr Green changes his name! The Prime Minister has asked to be kept informed of developments on this matter of no importance.

      2. Prince Charles says:

        Marty,
        the The Rangers should focus on putting a team forward never mind “a case”.
        Stirling,the best result since Bannock Burn!!
        Ally must stay!

      3. Prince Charles says:

        Marty,
        remember you were informed several months ago that the 3rd division beckoned?
        If Mr Green is unable to get his boat to float the next step will be to stand outside Ibrox and shake a can.And if that fails he will be looking to offload ra beerz.Chin chin.

  5. alan ryan says:

    God, when put like that, it really is………..well, that simple !

  6. It'sTheTruth says:

    An excellent analysis. I bet the SPL/SFA wish they hadn’t attempted a shoddy backroom deal with their chums at Ibrox now that it’s being flung back in their faces!
    That said, the persecution complex which has infected the Berrz is absolutely side-splittingly hilarious.

    1. Marty says:

      A paranoid accusing other people of paranoia. Delicious.

      1. Thistle man Clyde says:

        Marty,
        on the subject of paranoia,did you know that a musical version of these events,with the title of “The Rangers story” is being penned down in London.
        The main theme is based on the “Wizard of oz”.MSM in Scotland are symbolized by the powerless and cowardly,teeny weeny Munchkins.Who could they be thinking of?
        Rangers Supporters take on the role of lion,tin man and strawman.Ally is taking on the part of Dorothy,Toto,by one of the Queens Corgis.The wicked witches represent the anti Rangers element of the Scottish public,Dorothy,sorry Ally wakens up at the end and realizes it was all just a paranoid dream.
        Mixed in with that we have,for comic effect,Craig White modeled on Harpo Marx,something to do with his eyes.C.Green will be modeled on Boycie,from Only Fools and Horses,for obvious reasons.
        Apparently they could not come up with anyone for Sir David Murray,so he gets to play himself.
        Near the end the hapless trio accompany Ally,and his pet,to discover who is behind the screen pulling the levers and scaring everybody.(They are keeping that bit a big secret!!)
        There is already even talk of a film version!

  7. James Barr says:

    Alex,
    I truly admire your efforts to bring logic and clarity to ” The Rangers Story” but until you understand what First Minister Salmond meant when he referred to Rangers as being part of the fabric of Scottish Society, you will struggle to understand how backward Scotland is in matters concerning Rangers (Newco or Oldco).
    Nevertheless, it is appreciated by many that you keep trying.
    J A Barr

  8. Auldheid says:

    Perhaps if the SFA had had a stated purpose which the 5 way deal clearly contravened, perhaps had they had no option but to apply the rules because there was complete transparency about them AND accountability for not applying them, we would not be where we are.
    Only a full review of the failed processes with recommendations to replace them with a culture changing process can restore any semblance of trust in those governing our game.

  9. mr.bojangles says:

    The governing bodies up here in scotland are not fit for purpose. It’s a massive cover-up, a scandal. The s.f.a. & s.p.l. are just as guilty. They knew only too well what was going on over at ibroke. A disgrace, and so is the fact the presiding judge has to come out and state his case that fairness will be applied. This whole sorry saga is not only a stain on scottish football, but scotland as a whole. A backward, bigotted wee nation. I’m glad that proper journalists like yourself mr.thomson took on the mantle to tell it how it is. The football authorities, sevco ( or whatever they are called) and most of the country and media..are rotten to the core !!

  10. Pabloh says:

    Excellent piece Alex. You make it sound so simple! If only…

  11. Mea Culpa says:

    Alex, despite the RFCia fans statements about conspiracies & witch-hunts etc.., that is all the football fans of Scotland seek, application of the rules without fear or favour.
    Scottish football has never had an administration which has done this.

    Maybe this fiasco will lead to a brave new world.

  12. Jim MacDonald says:

    I think you’ll find Alex that its not just this issue where goalposts have been moved. The football powers that be and media in scotland have shown inherent bias towards newco and old I since I can remember. Even the Scottish government try to sweep sectarianism under the floor whilst trying to lump us on with both the old and newco. How I wish you would do an independent assessment on that too. You have done invaluable work on the current issue and even the most ardent newspaper man could not call you ‘an Internet bampot’.

  13. IniquitousIV says:

    Alex:
    Good article again. Statements by ex-Rangers personnel now smack of desperation. There has been zero pursuit by the media as to why Lord Hodge has not yet permitted administration to end and BDO to commence the liquidation process.
    The wheels of justice grind slowly, but there seems to be a plethora of foot dragging in this entire fiasco.
    Keep up the good work!
    Iniquitous

  14. The Octagon says:

    “how toxic things have become” – no Alex things have been toxic for years where RFC are concerned. That’s why the EBT scandal was allowed to take place. That’s why successive spokesmen for the club including the current manager & CEO feel they can say what they want in public. Lord Nimmo Smith’s remarks were made in direct response to a statement from the CEO.

    It is a damning comment on our society in Scotland, especially the west, that His Lordship felt the need to say what he did. Replying to more toxicity from the same, usual source.

  15. mick says:

    well in alex no club should ever be bigger than the law rfc are dead and gone and the cloned tribute by green is as dodgey as oldco its a disaster waiting to happen they should have been auctioned of to tesco to give glasgow a break from there hatred and vile chants

  16. Daviec says:

    What Rulebook are you referring to?

    Is this the same Rulebook which has been tampered with, and added to, in order to administer some form of retrospective judgement and punishment on Rangers for perceived and unsubstantiated accusations of player registration .irregularities?

    Lets be clear about what this about.

    It must be stated taht the tribunal and its collective honesty cannot be in any question, but what can and must be questioned is its remit and scope , which has already been given down by the already discredited and corrupt SPL/SFA cabal.

    By their actions they have shown themselves to be acting in manner which is dispeputable and certainly biased, with an agenda already in place based on a preconceived notion of guilt.

    The expected judgement and punishment were set out in the days prior to Rangers first match against Brechin , and for them to now present this tribunal as fair and untainted is an insult to the intelligence of anyone who who values the system of Scottish Justice.

    The scope of this tribunal has already been determined by Regan , Doncaster and whoever operates them.
    All that remains is the question of whether Rangers will allow themselves to be treated in this abusive manner or will in fact react ,as I would hope they do, by taking this to the Court of Session for a judgement based on the Laws of Scotland instead of the wishes of the Rangers-Hating mob which is Scottish Football, and its governing bodies.

    1. Bruce says:

      A simple question lies at the heart of this.

      If its demonstrated that Rangers (1872-2012) operated a dual contract system (concealing payments from the SFA and HMRC, thus signing a higher calibre of player than they otherwise could have afforded), should they be allowed to keep any honours won where they used players on these dual contracts?

      Care to answer that?

    2. dan the jaggyman says:

      From what I’ve heard (and it’s among other rumours)it was Mr Green who first raised the prospect of a deal along the reported lines only for Mr McCoist to storm out of the meeting.

  17. peter.smith says:

    rangers trying every way to discredit this commision, typical of them

  18. Senior says:

    Alex,
    Once again thank you for laying out the facts in a straight forward, and to the point manner.
    There are a handful of honourable reporters keeping the game of football in Scotland from sinking without trace. This takes courage and resolve and I for one consider you and a few other reporters the only hope of the game ever regaining some form of credibility – of course I must also mention ‘bampottery’ This phenomenon is worth a book on it’s own. The vast majority of the MSM are complicit in the destruction of the game in Scotland and I hope in the fullness of time that they get their comeuppance.

  19. waco says:

    thats the problem in scotland, if the SFA/SPL/SFL applied the rules there would be no sevco/RFC in any league, the rules have been thrown in the bin to let a brand newclub into scottish football without passing all the entry requirements,
    oldclub RFC did not publish accounts so should have lost their licence to play in scotland yet the SFA/SPL turned a blind eye to this small matter ,apply the rules as they are followed by all other clubs ,is it a case of rules for all but 1 club

  20. geegsy67 says:

    alex u are spot on . thier is to much influence going on in scottish sociaty as a whole ;one rule and one rule only for the WATP mentality of this scottish rite stronghold..ie part of the fabric nonsense it is so deep and currupt you have no idea. thier greed for power holds no bounds its thier way ‘ thier country. thier rules and no one SHALL interfere; or face the wrath of the inhouse so called crazies i just hope an outside stronger and honest influence comes in and stop this bullying and thier ways of made up rules as they go allong..but hey santas my uncle.

  21. williebhoy says:

    I believe there will be a few vacancies on the SPL / SFA executive tables soon enough – would you be interested as you clearly speak more sense than our current incumbents.

    Justice must not only be done – it must be SEEN to be done not negotiated away and brushed under the carpet

  22. Philip says:

    100% agree – imagine if this farce was going on in England – there would have been an immediate inquiry into the FA – an inquiry into the SFA is long overdue but by whom ?

  23. martin c says:

    The Glasgow press are not interested in printing objective balanced perspectives on this whole affair, it is what will sell more chip wrappers?

    Nimmo Smiths’ statement cut through also some of the obfuscatory comments from some camps.

    When you need clarity. . .?

  24. Paul N says:

    Thank you Alex!
    I thought the Scottish Mainstream Media would have learned their lesson from the showing up given to them at the outset of this scandal.
    How wrong was I, they have absolutely no shame and a main part of the reason Nimmo Smith has to “clear the air” is down to the sycophantic ramblings of newspaper hacks and radio pundits , who could not spell impartial let alone pretend to be it.
    Every day we have Charles Green, Ally McCoist and today Alistair Johnstone being allowed to spout outright lies , or distortions of the truth totally unchallenged .
    Frustration is an understatement.

  25. Burnsy says:

    Alex,

    For how long have we been trying to tell you what Rangers FC(IA) actually stood for? It wasn’t simply a Football Club, but instead an institution. An institution which believed itself impervious to natural order and the justice meted out to everyone else for any wrong doing.

    With far reaching hands and connections and relationships forged in Masonic Halls and other less scrupulous locations. Deals were reached, agreements made to always make sure that Rangers FC(IA) and all they represented would go untouched in whatever they said or did, despite the outcry, on many occasions, from the rest of society. They believed in their own perceived importance, their own sense of entitlement and cared not a jot for anyone below them, clubs, individuals and associations alike.

    Now they are being called to task, being made to answer for deeds they could no longer hide, thanks to the ‘Internet Bampots’ who subverted the MSM and got the message out there without any of the pandering and censorship spun, under orders, day after day.

    Finally the truth is out and the Institution and the MSM are screaming and shouting and frothing at the mouth that anyone DARE to question ‘ra peepul’.

    What you’re witnessing now is a co-ordinated attack by SevCo/Charles Green, and the old SDM lackeys to spin as much as they can in order to try and taint the standing of the independent panel.

    They’re in trouble and they know it.

    The important thing to remember though is that should any guilt be determined then the ‘stripping’ of any titles or trophies is not in any way a punishment for the financial doping that gave Rangers FC(IA) such a massive advantage over the years, it’s simply setting the record straight. Take for example a burglar looting someone’s house… If caught would they simply be sent on their way having had any ‘loot’ returned to the owners? I think not… The Independent Panel have around 18 sanctions or punishments to choose from, they’re clear for all to see.

    Of course, any SevCo fan would have you believe their club had been punished and hunted down relentlessly, which is simply not true at all. The only punishment meted out to OldCo was a 10pt deduction (which any club would have gotten) and a fine for bringing the game into disrepute (which they never paid because they claimed they were SevCo, and not OldCo). Any other punishments a SevCo fan would have you believe they’ve received have simply been a consequence of their club heading towards liquidation and starting again.

    The Institution and the MSM would not let you believe that however.

    If the rules had been applied as set out, SevCo would currently be plying their trade in the West of Scotland League, building up 4 years of audited accounts before being able to apply for SFL membership.

    The SFA/SPL’s role in all of this has been nothing short of disgusting. They can’t have a vote of confidence from anyone associated with the game. Their conduct has of course been in part, or I believe it has, down to the influence still exerted by those in the top tiers of the Media and those far reaching connections mentioned earlier, who will stop at nothing to save their Institution and all the arrogance it actually stands for.

    The sooner we rid our society of these influences, the sooner decent people can get on about their daily lives, without having to listen to Law Lords and QC’s justify themselves simply because an Institution and a dysfunctional MSM think it’s in the best interests of society to ‘rouse the rabble’ and throw muck where it’s not required…

  26. Simon says:

    An interesting claim from you “the Investigatory world around Rangers has become toxic” is this reference to your own poor journalism and passing on of information from ‘comrades’ tarred with the sectarian brush.
    At no time has the independence of the Lord Nimmo Smith and the two appointed QC’s been called into question but there are some fundamental deficiencies within this process that require some transparency.
    Why is Harper Macleod (HM) still involved in this process? What role are they playing in this process? This is a conflict of interest no matter how you dress it up as confluence. Remember Mr Lawell personally promotes there services or did until HM decided to remove from their website within the last few months.
    Was it Rod McKenzie(HM) that drew up the plans to strip Rangers of titles as part of the 5 way agreement.?
    Was he instructed to do so and if so by whom?
    Who was again involved in redrafting these rules in late 2011, again the name Rod McKenzie (HM) may appear again?
    Again who instructed these amendments to the rule book?

    If these charges relate to a period prior to this have the Kangaroo Court got the power to charge Rangers with the new rules applied late 2011?

    SFA/SPL has already stated that Rangers are guilty by presenting the 5 party agreement with 5 league titles and 4 Scottish Cup titles removed. Why did the league Cup titles not get stripped? Maybe that is another question for you but we are well aware that you have no interest in this story.
    If this legal team find Rangers guilty of failing to disclose these payments in accordance to rules adapted late 2011 who would hear Rangers appeal? Oh yes that would be passed to the SFA to rule and again of the 18 possible sanctions we have only heard of one that they have already used in draft documents.
    As an investigative journalist why don’t you go out and ask a few questions of substance get some answers and try writing some words associated to Rangers in an impartial basis. I believe I know the answer to that question all ready; impartiality isn’t one of your strong points and many out there are starting to realise this.

  27. Raymac says:

    The past chairman of that club put Airdrieonions to the wall for £30,000 quid—that’s right, £30,000 sponduliks. Not much mercy shown there, or to Spartans for a wrong date or somesuch. The Scottish game is littered with clubs being scalped for a wrong comma or being an hour late with an application or some other trivial offence. Yet when “Rangers” ride roughshod over rules on numerous occasions it’s an oversight. Just apply the law.

  28. Charles Young says:

    For the sake of my country I wish that had been written by a member of the Scottish press pack.

  29. jason says:

    The last sentence sums the whole rfc farce up.
    Disgraceful from the sfa/spl and totally ridiculous reporting from our beloved media.

  30. jim horne says:

    why has this all came out now it only came out because peter lawell came it to
    the sfa and spl this man if you can call him that has got an agenda against rangers he s trying to worm his way out of the mess he started but he cant so beware lawell you lying rodent the truth will prevail

    jim hamilton

  31. HJC says:

    Well said my man, well said.

  32. itim says:

    Spot on Alex you really couldn’t make this stuff up,Scottish football has been corrupt for decades. Time for Fifa or eufa to get involved in the game up here and thePCC to investigate our so called journalists. Oh and by the way did you here another one of your profession have just been threatened for speaking out against Sevco supporters,nuff said!

  33. david hill says:

    Double wammy? Why would we accept this punishment when we had not even been charged with anything never mind being found guilty!

    The SFA blackmailed Charles Green into accepting an illegal transfer ban for membership to compete in SFL 3 , this lot and the SPL ,( who have held back Rangers winnings from last year that should have gone to the creditors) bleat on about integrity when there is none to be found within these organisations

    1. Bruce says:

      Typically emotive language from a Sevcovian. The lawyers have said there’s a case to answer. Plea bargaining is a common occurence and rarely, if ever, comes back to bite either side. Of course, if Green turned down a compromise (and why are they asking him as this is about what the dead club did) then logically any punishment must exceed what is on offer, if the commission finds that the dead Rangers did operate a dual contract system.

  34. Althetim says:

    “The rulebook’s there – simply apply it without fear or favour.”

    That’s all we’ve ever asked from the beginning of this pantomime.

  35. Joey Manic says:

    Its an almighty mess, this. Also makes me wonder how many football clubs, including those south of the border, might have been run in the same way. Could Rangers be the first of many?

  36. Thistle man Clyde says:

    On the subject of rules,what would be the punishment for a team ALREADY in the Scottish 3rd division,IF the aforementioned went through the liquidizing process?
    Would that be them OUT of the league? Or do they start again-in the same league?
    And what if a club have already been liquiified? How many times are they allowed to do it?
    The the The Rangers are spending over £1.2 million a month on wages,that is enough to supply Larkhall with Buckfast for a month!( other fine tonic wines available ).
    The way the the the The Rangers results have been going lately would suggest they are paying a heck of a lot of money,just to win the 3rd division,or do they have a plan?
    The the The Rangers should beat Motherwell,but will they? Take yer wellies,it could be raining.
    The judge only spelled it out to Chick,Jim and Murdo cause they need things S-P-E-L-L-E-D out.

  37. Neil says:

    Alex
    You absolutely nailed that one, more power to your pen sir!
    Neil

  38. kells says:

    Without fear or favour , that is all that was asked yet it was ignored by both the SFA/SPL the created the fear( were all doomed) to show favour to dead club at every turn only it Scotland coukld this be accepted as the norm ask outside of glasgow just how much the stench has started to stick in fair minded supporters

  39. JW Hardin says:

    Excellent post, Alex. All that remains to be seen now is whether-or-not certain political influence has been brought to bear on the outcome of this investigation.

    After the Lockerbie fandango your:

    “Not for the first time, fans of all colours question whether such a body is fit to do the job it is charged with.”

    would be a third.

  40. Lisa Calton says:

    “or that he was minded to treat the new Rangers as liable for the possible failings of the old company under Sir David Murray.”

    Alex what “new” Rangers? I presume then you never read Lord Nimmo Smith’s statement the other day that the reason Green’s company can still be held liable is because Rangers Football Club still exists,the same club who won those honours under investigation,whichever company happens to own the club or run it is irrelevant..to quote Lord Smith:
    “That power must continue to apply even if the owner and operator at the time of breach of the Rules has ceased to be a member of the SPL and its undertaking has been transferred to another owner and operator. While there can be no question of subjecting the new owner and operator to sanctions, there are sanctions which could be imposed in terms of the Rules which are capable of affecting the Club as a continuing entity (even though not an entity with legal personality), and which thus might affect the interest of the new owner and operator in it.”
    “We shall also consider the position of a Club in terms of the Articles and Rules of the SPL and explain why in our opinion Rangers FC remains liable … even though it is now owned and operated by Newco. It is for this reason that Newco has, in our opinion, a direct interest in these proceedings.”
    ““It is the Club, not its owner and operator, which plays in the League. Under Rule A7.1.1 the Club is bound to comply with all relevant rules. The Rules clearly contemplate the imposition of sanctions upon a Club, in distinction to a sanction imposed upon the owner or operator.”
    However the judge was at pains to point out that Rangers have been found guilty of nothing so far. The document said: “We stress that the Commission has not yet come to the stage of deciding whether there have been any breaches of the Rules at all by Oldco or Rangers FC.

    The irony of this definition can’t be lost on fans. It is, at least, a confirmation of what they’ve always held true – that the club “Rangers” still exists, therefore their history and titles presumably do too.

    So there is no “new” Rangers Alex merely a new company (newco)running it.

  41. andy says:

    I absolutely agree that the rules should have been applied from the outset without any of the attempts to circumvent them. The leading figures at the top of the Scottish football establishment were, from the outset, more concerned with protecting their own reputations and keeping Rangers somewhere near the top of the tree. Thye now find that the individual they were seeking to reach an accommodation with is using their joint manouverings to beat them about the ears with. The summers rebellion by the supporters scuppered their rotten plans then and I hope will do so again. Going down with them of course is the Glasgow media who, with a few honourable exceptions, have lost the last vestiges of their credibility. Someone recently described them as presstitutes but I feel that is a dreadful slur on a comparitively honest profession.

    I have however to take issue with you on your assertion that the offer to Rangers in the summer carries the implications stated. It is common for a prosecuting body, in possesion of evidence of guilt, to offer a deal in order to secure a speedy resolution. Indeed I recently accepted a £60 fine and 3 points on my driving licence to avoid going to court and perhaps suffering a greater penalty. I am however in no doubt that had I chosen to go to court I would have had a fair hearing. Equally an accused who rejects a plea bargain has a right to expect the same. Why should Charles Green feel free to start spouting about kangaroo courts and predetermined outcomes. I know why be does it. It is part of his marketing strategy to bring and keep the Ibrox mob onside. I expect that from him but am puzzled by the stance you are taking.

  42. Big Mike says:

    Excellent article and that is all anybody can hope for not guilty/guilty so be it. If not guilty let that be the end of it. If guilty then they should take the punishement as accorded.

  43. Rab Docherty says:

    It is absolutely shameful that in this case, one of Scotland’s best legal minds, Lord Nimmo Smith feels it necessary to declare his independence, or in football terms, impartiality.

    Following well publicised, and more alarmingly, unpublicised appalling incidences of threats and intimidation by management and staff from RFC plc and TRFC levied at officials, journalists and almost everyone else in the Scottish game, the man clearly needs to have the janglers attributed to Mr Turnbull Hutton of Raith Rovers. Mr Hutton as you may well know, defiantly stood up and was counted, despite threats by anonymous followers of TRFC, to have his stadium burnt to the ground.

    Where do the “Rules” apply here Alex?

    If the judiciary feel intimidated, what chance do the innocents have?

  44. Who can we trust? says:

    Alex, I don’t know how the scottish media is not being scrutinised by a higher authority for its utterly absurd propaganda campaign. We know for a fact that people involved with oldco rangers had also been running the Scottish game during the years of david murray allegedly not declaring dual contracts and therefore not paying full UK taxes. And there remains strong suspicions as to why these people are still involved in the game and having influences even during a legal investigation.
    With so much alleged chicanery, cheating, cover ups, self preservation and bending of rules, I think it’s a reasonable question to ask: who can the scottish football fan and the taxpayer trust to enforce the rules equally for everyone?

  45. Joe Murray says:

    This is all becoming very, very embarrassing. Every managing director of every Scottish Premier League team has a say in all of this; every managing director of every Scottish Football League team has a say in all of this. All are saying nothing to the SPL, SFA and SFL, and are, therefore, complicit in this debacle. When a so called sport begins to affect the foundations of a society it is time for sensible folk to go off and do something else (which I believe is becoming more and more the case). How stupid are these people?

  46. William MacRitchie says:

    The problem is that the sanctions they’re talking about are not in the rule book. And the only precedent for such cases lies outside Scotland. In ROI, Derry City were demoted one division for not having declared all income.

    The difference is – in ROI – there is a wage cap; in Scotland there is not.

    So you’re effectively talking about an administrative irregularity which (despite the absolute openness with which Rangers dealt with EBTs) it took the SPL ten years to identify?

    Only in Scotland and the poisonous hatred that exists towards its most successful club could such sanctions even be considered.

  47. Roddy MacKay says:

    But Alex, didn’t you know? Rules don’t apply to rangers, just everyone else.

  48. rip football says:

    I think you have been following the story for that long you’re getting sucked into the Glasgow MSM mentality Alex =( . This isn’t GLASGOW football law…..it’s “Rangers” football law , other than that i gree with everything you say =) .

  49. zicoinexile says:

    Spot on once again, Tommo.

  50. The Simple Sword Of Truth says:

    A simple question for all the “Sporting Integrity” brigade-if Mr Regan states that there are 100 candidates for the “independent” committees/tribunals how come Lord Nimmo has been selected TWICE in a row concerning Rangers? Last time he imposed an unlawful sanction outwith his powers,( as per The Court Of Session). An astonishing statistic on purely random selection-that’s 3% x 3% =0.09% chance!!!? Winning the lottery twice in a row -what are the odds on this compared to being called upon to pronounce “the verdict” on Rangers on non-contractual payments not declared? Is it merely coincidental that he was chosen? Who wrote the rules as regards non-contractual payments? Where has the evidence come from? These are all pertinent questions for a properly structured process. Illegally obtained documents and leaked from Government agencies via websites selective documents CANNOT be admisible. Have we not learned the lessons from the Hillsborough process that people with self-interest and a worldview CANNOT be trusted to be impartial (the lawyers involved??). Natural justice from a jurisprudential point of view would REQUIRE declarations by certain parties if they are to benefit from a certain verdict- how can these processes be deemed prudent and “independent”” ( no shouting or sweating at your proponents now at meetings -that is a sign of bias!!!)Will these rules be properly adhered to by investigating all other clubs “side” contract payments ?(Larssom & Nakamura image rights come to mind-were they declared?), health benefits, or car dealership agreements or simply the fact that their club bought them a fish supper on the way home from games-non-contractual-like!? All are non-disclosed payments relating to being a player. THE RULES MUST BE APPLIED without favour. Of course the argument will be that Rangers are the wrong-doers and must be punished according to “the rules”. If it smells like a bad smell it IS a bad smell. The SPL is very smelly indeed!!!

  51. William MacRitchie says:
  52. Simon Bolivar 1967 says:

    Mr Thomson, if I ever meet you in the street, I will ask if you wouldn’t mind shaking my hand. The light that you continue to shine on this sorry and squalid debacle, and the culture/society/’journalism’ that has allowed it to evolve, is appreciated by those of us, in all walks of life in Scotland, who have been dismissed out of hand as ‘paranoid’ the moment issues such as those you discuss here are raised. Please keep up the great work.

  53. Pablo says:

    Remind me again Alex how Cambell ogilvie STILL manages to remain in the presidents chair in the upper realms of Scottish fitba?
    UNBELIEVABLE

  54. gerry m says:

    scotland 2012 how sad this all is, it’s not sport, hasn’t been for as long as i can remember, it will only return to a sport when the rangers are properly and justly punished

  55. Mac says:

    “The rulebook’s there – simply apply it without fear or favour.” Would that apply to other SPL clubs that used EBT’s as well but happened to be managed well enough not to go into administration then?

    1. Bruce says:

      The issue here is not whether they or any club operated EBT’s. Its whether they operated them illegally by the law of the land and the rules of the league. If you’re too dumb to get that distinction by now then I’d suggest you should do some basic research before you post.

      Unless, of course, your comment is simple whatabootery.

  56. Paul Mitchell says:

    Where in that rulebook does it give the SPL the power to impose a transfer embargo? Where in that rulebook does it say that “If a key member club is Liquidated then you should consider league reconstruction or any other means which preserve the finances of the other member clubs”?

    What is widely omitted by journalists is that English clubs such as Arsenel and Chelsea have made extensive use of EBT’s. I don’t hear any calls for those clubs to be stripped of trophies.

    EBT’s are commonly misused with side letters. Did Celtic use EBT’s in an appropriate way as has been suggested or is it a failure of the Scottish Football authorities to uncover the real evidence.

    When Portsmouth went into Administration for the third time after being found liable by HMRC in misusing EBT’s did the English League pile penalties on to them? No. The League paid the parachute payment to them early in an effort to save the club.

  57. Paul Mitchell says:

    Witch-hunt is exactly what it is.

    Journalists do not have the understanding of the subject or perhaps the courage to express an honest opinion. It is popular to have a kick at Rangers.

    But let’s make a comparison ……. the treatment of Rangers compared to English clubs. Different leagues but you may expect they would or should have a similar approach to this…..

  58. Cain says:

    As I said before this goes beyound a football team and straight to the heart of the scottish society.
    If Rangers are the same team let them pay what they owe. on behalf of our doctors,nurses,policemen, armed forces and the tax paying people of this nation thank you Alex and keep digging truth will always win.

  59. tom ringland says:

    Thanks Alex, clear and concise as usual! Perhaps thats what they dont understand.

  60. john.mckenzie says:

    For some eight months now the saga of Rangers and their apparent shady dealings have monopolised the back and front pages of the written media in Scotland, whilst also dominating all other media formats. The voice of the blue side of Glasgow announcing it’s incredulity at what has been unveiled as having been done in the name of Rangers football Club, from the infamous words of sir david murray “for every five pounds they spend we will spend ten” to craig white’s affirmation that he had done no wrong under his administration. Meanwhile the green side of Glasgow and almost every other town and club in Scotland voted to banish the offending club to the nether regions of footballing echelons. Voted down due to blatant disregard for the tax laws of this country. Imagine if joe public omitted, for whatever reason, to pay their tax for a month or two – just how quickly would the brown envelopes be in dropping through his particular letter box, yet Rangers, “the institution” apparently managed to avoid paying PAYE – after having gone to the trouble of collecting it from its players and staff, for a full year – choosing to use this money as working capital. This club wants to retain the history it amassed during its existence, through its admittedly predudicial history, yet the Newco rangers at the same time also wants to be absolved of its apparent crimes against the other law abiding participants of the SPL and SFL and the SFA. A feat of magical trickery equal to any David Copperfield grandios Las Vegas style illusion. There has to be justice, someone has to be accountable. In this instance it appears it’s not going to be easy -the vast support the club formerly known as rangers can call upon represent the biggest pressure group scottish politics has ever known . Yet the integrity of the governing bodies of Scottish football is under the severest scrutiny. The laws of the land and those of football governance must be applied regrdless of the upset it may cause to certain elements of Scottish society. The judicial system of this land has been regarded as one of the most efficient and prudent in the world. It is not to be undermined by some indescriminate mud-slinging by some unscrupulous teflon coated self- serving persons.

    The Scottish footballing authorities must act now with unwavering clarity and edfficncy. To do so will surely re-invigorate football in this country and at tyhe same time re-instate faith and belief in the administrators ability to push Scottish football onwards and upwards

  61. Manandboy says:

    Well done Alex – another great read.

    As I’ve posted elsewhere, tho’ some time ago, there are actually 2 SFA rule books -the second one has ‘RANGERS ONLY’ stamped on the front, and inside, all the pages are blank.

  62. DYLANSFEAST says:

    Why has it taken them TEN years to apply their rule book?

    And why were they trading off ‘stripped tiles and trophies’ for league status before any commission was ever conceived or any charges brought?

    Whatever credibility the SFA or SPL ever had is now completely gone and the outcome of said Commission will matter not a jot. Except perhaps to a few bampots in green n grey.

    1. Bruce says:

      It hasn’t taken them ten years to apply the rulebook.

  63. Colin S says:

    Another fine piece by a straight talking journalist,you are in the Champions league when it comes to journalism whilst the MSM in Scotland are in Division3.

  64. Proud Scot says:
  65. Scott says:

    Rule book? If it really were that simple then the SPL/SFA would have dealt with it in much better manner than they have done. Charles Green’s latest statement, reported in the much derided MSM, has shown the SFA/SPL up for their shenanigans in this mess. You might not agree with everything Green says, depending on which team you support, but he is on the money in this statement http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/19722487
    I particularly like this statement:
    “Maybe they should both appoint Lord Nimmo Smith to form a commission to investigate and tell them who their member is.”
    Best put down yet.

  66. Jimmy Dee says:

    @Scott –
    “… but he is on the money in this statement …”

    Not really apparently – Wrong in 17 out of 18!!!
    http://scotslawthoughts.wordpress.com/2012/09/25/charles-greens-latest-rangers-statement-18-paragraphs-wrong-in-17/

    I think the one you liked was the 1 in 18!

    “Brilliant! Next stop the headline spot on the bill at the Pavilion for Mr Green!”

  67. Frank McGaaaarvey says:

    The actions of the SFA/SPL have been baffling to say the least. An ex-MSP of the Labour Party, Henry McLeish, was recently assigned to compile a complete review of Scottish football practises and procedures from roots level up. Among his findings was the conclusions that SFA procedural legislation was ‘fuzzy’ to say the least. The report was produced around 2 years ago and it appears to have been an utter waste of time as nothing has changed whatsoever.

    There has been no clarity in any sense on the matter of what to do with Rangers/Sevco. The lack of leadership is simply astounding, and the SFA/SPL play pass the parcel with the matter like a hot potato wishing to give others responsibility for what they should have been dealing with themselves all along. Why was there even a vote on whether Rangers/Sevco were to be allowed to retain/gain SPL membership when the rules clearly state that ALL clubs going into liquidation lose their license? And why was it undecided until about a week before the start of the season where Rangers/Sevco were going to be plying their trade at all.

    A complete and utter shambles from day one. At a time when clear and concise leadership, without fear nor favour, was needed within Scottich football the waters were more muddied than ever.

    Is there one fan out there, from any team, who can honestly say hand on heart that they have complete faith and trust in the governing authorities supposedly running Scottish football?

  68. The Simple Sword Of Truth says:

    This whole saga is a travesty of justice. Justice not only has to be done but be seen to be done For instance what rules are being applied here? How are they being interpreted? As in all legal cases the INTERPRETATION is the key to understanding judicial decisions. How can Rangers fans have confidence in a system when, according to Mr Regan, there are 100 candidates on a list to be selected from for these “panels”. So what is the statistical likelihood of the same guy getting chosen twice? Especially when last time the sanction was not one available to said panel and was held to be illegal…How can you have trust and faith in that? This has very strong parallels with how all the Hillsborough “inquiries” were conducted. Very smelly!

    1. Bruce says:

      After what’s happened, the issue is not whether Rangers fans can have confidence in the system producing a fair and just outcome, its whether the rest of us can have confidence.

    2. pudd99 says:

      I recall reading some time ago that participation in judicial panels is voluntary. Therefore any of the hundred available candidates has the right to refuse participation. Given all the furore surrounding this mess(from all sides) would you choose to participate? Knowing that whatever verdict you return will be derided by someone, with possible harassment, threats and media character assassination to follow…

      Perhaps instead of crying foul,you might consider commending LNS on his massive balls of steel!

  69. rigger says:

    Alex, I really must take issue with your comment about there being no need to state impartiality because it is a given, sorry but after all the whitewashes of the Blair regime most people with any sense of justice, simply do not believe that.

  70. Brimac says:

    Oh, it’s so refreshing to see a journalist with no religious or football connections having the courage to honestly report on the disgraceful goings on in Scotland regarding Rangers Football Club and it’s sympathisers, together with the biased institution which governs Scottish football.

    “Lang may your lum reek” Alex Thomson.

  71. J K says:

    The bumbling of the SFA/SPL and for that matter HMRC in this fiasco has bread a contempt with long lasting effect. I fear the fall out of this for Scottish society in the long term.

    We have all be let down, regardless of loyalties or creed.

  72. del says:

    Alex the Scottish gov had a one Scotland many cultures campaign, that was unless you are a Roman Catholic or daring to be Irish or of Irish descent.Living here is like living in the American deep south.Substitute the orange order for the kkk or the white supremist for the we ara peeple ie rangers fans .the Scottish football associations and goverment allowed this now defunct club to have anti Catholic signing policy for over 100 years, says all you need to know about this best wee country in the world.

    1. jaima says:

      You are a bigot, a trouble maker and anti British!
      If you feel that way then why live here?
      probably scrounging benefits from the “British” tax payers!

      Jaima.

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