• 6 June 2017 Craig Whyte trial ends but during its course it was revealed that the £2.8m liability relating to the wee tax case had been accepted by Rangers and as the CAS ruling on Giannina shows this means an overdue payable existed at 31st March 2011 which conflicts with the main justification given by SFA for granting a licence.
• 25th July to 4th September 2017. Celtic and SFA exchange correspondence in respect of a review of events following the Supreme Court decision on the unlawful use of EBTs by Rangers. Celtic and SFA_Correspondence.pdf
• 7 Sept 2017. It is reported in the Times that Celtic first raised the same issues relating to EBTs and player registration in May 2012. (if you are not a Times subscriber the letter can be read from the Sun link that follows).
• This was copied to UEFA according to The Sun ( but for those who prefer not to visit that site a clear copy can be read here ) which begs the question what was UEFA’s response/position? Did it influence Celtic’s subsequent response to Resolution 12?
• 9 September 2017. BBC report that SFA are rejecting request for a wide ranging enquiry but said this on the UEFA licence issue:
“ “Upon considering the action taken in the past six years by all football bodies, and mindful of the ongoing nature of [the Compliance Officer looking at the granting of the UEFA licence in April 2011], the Board of the Scottish FA agreed at its meeting on 10 August 2017 that a further independent review will serve no meaningful purpose and, indeed, could negatively impact upon the ongoing investigations [by the Compliance Officer].” see this BBC Report
• 15 May 2018. After eight and a half months of investigation the BBC report that the SFA have charged Rangers on two counts of non compliance of their Articles in respect of the granting of a UEFA Licence in 2011. Rangers are reported as responding that the SFA accepted they complied with UEFA FFP in respect of the granting at end of March 2011, that accusations made against the club were groundless and consequently the charges relating to the granting period were dropped and Rangers would fiercely resist the reconstructed notice of complaint relating to the monitoring period.
In view of the timeline information provided earlier here relating to the end of March 2011, this response is surprising and extremely troubling. The reasons the SFA were given for so doing have to be explained by the SFA to Celtic and their shareholders in view of the assertions by The Rangers FC that accusations made against the club were groundless.
Who made those accusations? Certainly not Celtic nor their shareholders under Resolution 12 that only asked that the circumstances under which the licence was processed in 2011 be investigated by UEFA CFCB.*
• 25 June 2018 As consequence of the statement by TRFC that end of March activity by Rangers FC had been excluded from JPDT scrutiny in the Daily Record of 15th May 2018, the Res12 lawyer wrote to SFA Compliance Officer on 25th June 2018 stating reasons why this exclusion was questionable and possibly serious. The seriousness depends on what was said by TRFC to the Compliance Officer during his investigation to require the issue of a new Notice of Complaint where, according to media reports, only the monitoring period was to be subject of JPDT scrutiny as the information provided in the Res12 lawyer letter shows a payable existed at 31st March 2011 which WAS overdue as UEFA define it. What were the reasons TRFC gave the SFA to issue a new Notice and did they align with the HMRC minutes of 21st March 2011 which were provided to SFA under the Res12 letter of 25th June 2018. ?
• 29 June 2018: Copies sent to Celtic after close of play having first drawn their attention to the exclusion issue on 22 May 2018.
• 10 August 2018. Celtic meet representatives from Res12, the Celtic Supporters Association and a representative of bloggers from social media to discuss content of letter of 25th June and lack of SFA response. Celtic left with a document suggesting UEFA Licence should not have been granted on grounds of breaches of two UEFA rules both of which involved dishonesty/fraud breach of good faith. Celtic left to consider the document (see here ) and contemplate next steps if the narrative contained was accurate. A further meeting to be arranged early September to hear response.
• 15 November 2018. New SFA Compliance officer was seen in mid October by Celtic : she had not had time to come to grips with issue and could not access previous Compliance Officers In Box. A Copy of 25th Letter was supplied but no word on SFA position at 15th November 2018. Signatories whose e mail address held sent an update by e mail prior to Celtic AGM on 21st November suggesting UEFA involvement was a way forward based on recent UEFA statements.
• 16 November 2018. A number of reservations and questions ( See ) were made from the floor about the SFA position as reported at the AGM where the only assurance was that something was going to CAS but why and when was not known by Celtic.
• 4 Jan 2019. Following a meeting with Celtic it was agreed shareholders lawyer should provide a note of assistance to the Compliance Officer, who in September 2018 replaced the previous Compliance Officer responsible for the non compliance charges of 15 May 2018 relating to June and September 2011 only and which excluded the licence granting period of end of March/mid April 2011 from Judicial Panel Disciplinary Tribunal (JPDT) scrutiny, with no justifying reasoning for the exclusion that aligns with the information in the HMRC Minutes of 21st March 2011 drawn to her predecessor’s attention on 25th June by the Resolution 12 lawyer.
29 March 2019. Delivery of letter delayed whilst advice sought from an experienced criminal lawyer in relation to March 2011 that has required a change in approach in letter to SFA now under draft.
29 May 2019. After extensive discussion this letter was delivered to the SFA by post seeking answers to questions posed in June 2018 still unanswered , asking for confirmation that the basis on which the JPDT decided the matter had to be referred to the Court of Arbitration on Sport (CAS) was contained in the 5 Way Agreement, asking if any progress had been made since October 2018 with the CAS referral and pointing to a precedent case that CAS had to be made aware of in any referral that challenged the SFA decision in March 2018 to drop the end of March 2011 licensing period from JPDT scrutiny.
20 June 2019. Reminder letter sent to SFA
28 June 2019. SFA reply saying matter is receiving attention and Compliance Officer is awaiting internal instructions and will revert in due course.
27 November 2019. Shareholders in Celtic have a new resolution tabled for the AGM that proposes taking investigation of UEFA licensing events in 2011 away from the SFA and asks that UEFA complete said investigation or Celtic take the matter to the police as evidence points to UEFA licence in March/April 2011 being granted under false pretence. (see earlier timeline dates of May and June 2018).
The new shareholder resolution, again Resolution 12, and Celtic’s response at the end of the Recital justifying the resolution can be read HERE. The case for taking the issue from the SFA made from the floor can be read here .
Celtic’s response saying it was not in the Company’s interest to involve UEFA, without explaining why, was not accepted by a group of shareholders who in January wrote to Celtic individually on these lines attaching a report provided by a professional accountant of 19 pages with a supporting Appendix that in the author’s professional opinion demonstrated not only that the licence had been granted by deception but that the supporting accounts provided to the SFA failed to meet UEFA FFP “fair presentation” requirements and on both grounds the licence should not have been granted.
Celtic responded to the individual share holders without addressing the points raised by them but did send the professional report to the SFA whilst still refusing to press SFA for answers whilst the SFA dithered on whether the matter should be put to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) because of a clause in the secret 5 Way Agreement of July 2012 that required any disputes concerning Rangers FC and The Rangers FC (Sevco in the 5 Way Agreement ) and the three other parties to it (SPL/SFL/SFA) to be adjudicated by CAS.
Finally on the 19th May 2020 two years plus to the day limited charges were first made the SFA Board decided
“A Judicial Panel convened to consider a notice of complaint raised against Rangers FC in 2018 – in relation to alleged new evidence regarding representations received prior to the awarding of a European licence for season 2011/12 – determined at a preliminary hearing that it did not have jurisdiction to determine the matter.
“Instead, it concluded that jurisdiction lay with the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
“Following consideration of the implications of such a referral, including legal opinion, it was the board’s unanimous position that this matter should not be referred to CAS.
“The Scottish FA now considers the matter to be closed.”
The implications for the fair and honest governance of Scottish Football are staggering in that in a case where all the evidence points to fraud, the national association who may have been complicit in granting the licence in 2011 under the Licence Committee Chairmanship of Rod Petrie can, under the same person as a President of and member of the SFA Board, close down an investigation into his part in what evidence suggests is fraud. Indeed all actions by SFA since first contacted by Celtic shareholders in 2014 have been that of an organisation trying to cover up what on the evidence provided is fraud, itself wrongful if not criminal behaviour. This included setting terms of reference for the SFA Judicial Panel Disciplinary Tribunal (JPDT) that omitted the grant period from scrutiny whilst at the same time knowing, as Celtic did since 2012 [link] yet insisted the matter be dealt with by the SFA, that the SFA had no power to adjudicate because of the CAS Referral clause in the 5 Way Agreement sent to Celtic CEO Peter Lawwell and Director Eric Riley as an attachment to an e mail from Neil Doncaster SPFL CEO seeking acceptance of the agreement, which was taken as default if no response by the following day.
Celtic’s response to the SFA decision to close down investigation is awaited but they will have to give an account to shareholders of their part in what looks like a cover up of a fraud that cost Celtic UEFA Championship geld in 2011.
To be continued……
(* The CFCB was the body that Resolution 12 signatories asked Celtic to engage with on their behalf in 2013 because the CFCB has powers to request documentation that would either demonstrate Celtic shareholders’ fears of incorrect application of the rules by the SFA in 2011 were unfounded or inform UEFA that their rules were not robust enough to meet UEFA’s intent and needed strengthening. Any attempt by the SFA to ring fence the investigation and charges should be resisted and UEFA/CAS involved if that happens if not the police regarding possible fraud.)