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“Res 12”, as it became known, was taken from the resolution presented by a group of shareholders to the Celtic Board in Resolution 12 at the Celtic AGM held on 15 November 2013.

The resolution read as follows:

“This AGM requests the Board exercise the provision contained in the Procedural Rules Governing the UEFA Club Financial Control Body Article 10 with jurisdiction and investigation responsibilities identified in articles 3 & 11 (Note 1), by referring/bringing to the attention of the UEFA Club Financial Control Body (CFCB), the licensing administration practices of the Scottish Football Association (SFA), requesting the CFCB undertake a review and investigate the SFA’s implementation of UEFA & SFA license compliance requirements, with regard to qualification, administration and granting of licenses to compete in football competitions under both SFA and UEFA jurisdiction, since the implementation of the Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play Regulations of 2010.”

In simple terms it requested that Celtic ask UEFA to review the SFA’s licensing processes to establish if they fully complied with the then current Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play regulations.

The resolution does not mention Rangers, but the sentiment behind it came from a belief that there were serious doubts about the Club’s submissions and the SFA’s actions during the 2011/12 licensing round. If Rangers was only granted a UEFA Licence to play in the Champions League through their deliberate submission of inaccurate information, then Celtic , having finished second in the league, had effectively been denied a place in UEFA’s premier competition and any rewards that might have  accrued from their participation.

In fact, those doubts had existed since August 2011, when Sheriff’s officers visited Ibrox seeking payment of an overdue tax liability. That event was first debated on blogs, message boards and other social media platforms, with the question

‘How could Rangers have complied with the UEFA regulations and monitoring requirements on Overdue Payables, if their financial position had deteriorated to the extent that necessitated a visit from Sheriff’s Officers?’

As we are all aware, Rangers well documented financial problems resulted in their entering administration on 14 February 2012 and then into liquidation on 31 October 2012. However, the original doubts about the licensing process were only confirmed when a number of leaked documents appeared in the public domain in the summer of 2013.  The provenance of these documents may well be questioned, but their veracity and authenticity has not been and when presented to Celtic in that summer of 2013  the documents should have provided cause to refer the matter to UEFA, who had the authority to ask for the originals under CFCB rules. Why that never happened is a bit of a mystery to this day.

Exchanges between some  Celtic small shareholders resulted in a decision to formally ask Celtic to intervene, by way of a resolution to the club’s AGM in November 2013, which was an approach that could not be ignored. It is necessary for such a resolution to have the support of 5% of the shares in issue. That threshold was reached by a mixture of e mails and hard ground work in time for what became Resolution 12 to be included on the Notice of Annual General Meeting sent out to all shareholders.

Based on the leaked documents and the understanding of Tax rules and UEFA FFP at the time it was initially believed that Rangers had probably lied in their submissions at the UEFA monitoring points at 30 June and 30 September 2011. However, documents that have subsequently been lawfully obtained suggest that such deceit extended to the original application for a licence pre 31 March 2011.

 

Conclusions

In the absence of concrete evidence to the contrary It can only be concluded that:

  1. Whilst the SFA acted in good faith when granting the licence in 2011, that Rangers FC did not in both the documentation they did provide to the SFA and then what they failed to provide, in order to obtain and retain a UEFA licence that amounted to what is known in legal terms as a False Pretence
  2. The SFA do however have questions to answer regarding:
    2.1. How they handled the matter after 10 August 2011 when Sherriff Officers called at Ibrox to collect a £2.8 million tax overdue payable to HMRC.
    2.2. The role the SFA played in the SPL investigation from March 2012 into the use by Rangers of Employee Benefit Trusts with side letters that led to the Lord Nimmo Smith Commission.
    2.3. How the SFA dealt with enquiries from Celtic made on the behalf of their shareholders beginning  in 2014 and subsequently from April 2015 to date in response to lawyers acting on behalf of the shareholders who raised Resolution 12, because of unsatisfactory responses to enquiries made on their behalf by Celtic in 2014.

 

The detail of events which support these views can be read in Two Timelines.

Timeline One  relates to Conclusion 1 and 2.1 to 2.2  above covering  the period 2010 to 2012 including the commissioning of Lord Nimmo Smith . It can be read consecutively beginning  here, or in its constituent parts viz:

Part 1: The Wee Tax Case Timeline: What Story Does It Tell?

Part 2: 5 May 2011 – 6 June 2011:- The takeover and HMRC enforcement

Part 3: 30 June 2011 – 30 September 2011:- UEFA monitoring and HMRC lose patience

Part 4: 1 October 2011 – April 2012 :- Defending the indefensible and heading for insolvency.

Part 5 – 15 March 2012 to February 2013 – The Lord Nimmo Smith Linkage

 

Timeline Two  relates to  Conclusion 2.3  above  which covers exchanges between Celtic/Celtic shareholders and the SFA including a reference to UEFA in 2016 that can be read  in its constituent parts viz:

Part One – December 2014 to April 2015 Shareholders Engagement with SFA via Celtic.

Part Two July 2015 – December 2016 Shareholders Independent Engagement with SFA/UEFA via a Law Firm.

Part Three June 2017 to AGM 2019.

Part Four December 2019 to AGM 2020.

Whilst what took place during  2011/12 was the catalyst for Resolution 12, it was not driven by any desire to harm a club  that was already undergoing  liquidation,  but by a desire to demonstrate that the Scottish Football Association was unprofessional in conducting its governing duties and that the lack of transparency and accountability enabled them to do so then and continues to this day uncorrected.

Resolution 12 wanted to send out a message that the SFA were accountable to clubs who were in turn accountable to shareholders where the club was a Public Limited Company (PLC) and that shareholders concerns simply could not be ignored when big decisions provided one club with money at the expense of other member clubs.

Resolution 12 in its dogged pursuit was an attempt at bringing transparency and accountability into future clubs’/SFA thinking to prevent a reoccurrence in Scottish football of events since 2000. The same kind of thinking by the member clubs of the SFA that will produce the same results in future if not heeded.

That attempt is being doggedly resisted and one device consistently being used by the SFA has been to present Resolution 12 as a Celtic fan  v Rangers fan issue  and so deflect from their own failings which can clearly be seen under Timeline Two and which the SFA has resisted any attempts at correcting on the excuse it would be raking over coals.

If there is one group of supporters in Scotland who would have benefitted from proper governance at the SFA since 1999 it is Glasgow Rangers and if they can but just lay their prejudices aside and look at the facts in both Timelines they can only reach the same conclusion, that they were ill served by an unaccountable and opaque SFA from 2000 to 2012 and continue to be so.

If, having read the narrative you wish to contact your club’s supporter Association or Trusts to establish their position on good honest football governance a list of contacts can be found  HERE .

Currently we intend to use this resource as a repository for information on Resolution 12 and related issues. If you wish to comment on the content of the blog or the direction of travel of our campaign, please direct your comments to The Scottish Football Monitor Forum. On SFM there is wide representation of fans of all Scottish clubs, and we do not believe that Celtic fans and shareholders have a monopoly on the desire for accountability and transparency at the SFA.

 

Next: The Wee Tax Case – What story does it tell?