Part One. 2014 to 2015 Shareholders Engagement with SFA via Celtic.
- 30 December 2013. Following the 2013 AGM shareholders met with Celtic to raise their concerns based primarily on an HMRC letter of 20th May 2011 which suggested Rangers had acted fraudulently or negligently in the matter of their use of DOS ebts from 2000 to 2003. Shareholders were shown replies from SFA to enquiries made by Celtic on which basis Celtic’s response to Resolution 12 was it was unnecessary (because Celtic had already asked questions to which answers had been given) However shareholders were encouraged to expand upon their concerns and to set out and detail some of the information that had come to their attention and which had not been put to, or addressed by, the SFA or any other concerned body.
- January/February 2014. The conclusion the Res 12 requistitioners representatives reached was that further correspondence with the SFA was necessary to satisfy the shareholders they represented that all questions in respect of the concerns that produced Resolution 12 were addressed.
- 27 February 2014. There was a helpful meeting to review the substantial progress made since the last meeting and the Res12 group were to provide further information that was discussed with reference to shareholders’ concerns regarding the 2011 process, so that Celtic could consider matters further.
- 30 April 2014. Celtic receive suggestions from shareholders for inclusion in letter to SFA and appreciate what is behind them and are nearly good to go.
- 11 May 2014. Celtic inform shareholders verbally that they have after 4 months from the initial meeting gone to SFA with shareholder information and concerns.
- 23 May 2014. This update posted on social media (CQN/Phil MacGiolla Bhain)
“There was a series of meetings between the Celtic Company Secretary and shareholder’s representatives to examine the detail of the full UEFA licensing process over the summer of 2011.Celtic agreed there are a number of questions to be answered by the SFA, which were formulated in discussions with the shareholders’ representatives. Based on these Celtic has written to the SFA for clarification of the process as conducted by the SFA and UEFA and is following up that correspondence with the SFA. It is not possible to predict at this point what the outcome will be but all the indications are that the issues raised by the shareholders are being pursued with the SFA.”
- 14 July 2014 . Scheduled meeting between Celtic and SFA postponed. SFA have had Celtic letter for 2 months with no response.
- 1 August 2014. Meeting with Celtic to prepare for a meeting with SFA re Celtic letter of circa 11th May 2014. This focused on HMRC letters of May 2011 resulting in provision of relevant documentation (HMRC letter of 20th May and attachments which were determinations [i.e. estimates] of tax due from 2001) for Celtic to take to SFA to support the point being pursued at that time in 2014 that by 30 June 2011(a key monitoring point an overdue payable existed) yet the monitoring submission was accepted by UEFA. The crucial question for the SFA was were they aware of the existence of the 20th May 2011 letter when passing on the Rangers submission in July 2011 and again later in September 2011 when UEFA verbally accepted the submission after discussions with the SFA?
- 4 August 2014. Celtic meet SFA to discuss letter of circa 11th May 2014.
- 22 August 2014. Shareholders meet Celtic to hear SFA response. The SFA were reported as saying they did not have the 20th May 2011 HMRC letter in their files and because of the questionable provenance of the letter Celtic were unwilling to press the matter if that question was subsequently asked. The SFA Procedures Compliance official Andrew McKinley was reported as saying that the SFA were willing to explore the matter further with shareholders representatives. There was a sense of disappointment at Celtic’s provenance reservations which could have been addressed by passing Resolution 12 and a sense that Resolution 12 had ran into a cul de sac (or more long grass). However, on considering the matter it was decided that hiring a law firm to present shareholders concerns to the SFA was a route to be explored using contacts in the legal world.
- 20 April; 2015. Whilst this extended exploration took place an anonymous attempt by Resolution 12 shareholder representatives at presenting the issues and questions direct to the SFA was made on 20th April 2015 but (not unexpectedly even allowing for encouragement by Celtic to do so) was resisted by the SFA, who only wished to deal with member clubs. This stance conveniently provided an excuse for SFA to avoid dealing with the issue in 2015 using the powers given to them under UEFA FFP. It subsequently cost Celtic shareholders over £10k and rising to pursue answers that would satisfy the justification for Resolution 12 (loss of share value) one way or another.
Note the above is drawn from e mail exchanges between shareholder representatives and Celtic relating to meetings, hence lack of references to documentation, something Part Two provides.