Sweet Little Lies

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149362

Tell me all your sweet, sweet little lies
All about the dark places you hide
Tell me all your problems, make them mine
Tell me all your sweet, sweet little lies

The stridency of Scottish journalist/pundits, particularly coming from those on the BBC Sportsound platform from where they cry out for an investigation into what took place behind the scenes before and after the SPFL put forward a resolution to SPFL clubs, subsequently accepted by the majority, that allowed SPFL to pay out needed prize money to sides below the Premier level is, to quote an old saying, “the talk of the steamie”.

Whilst those cries are ostensibly in support of a demand led by The Rangers FC for a need to change the governance at the SPFL, it is not clear if they mean the way the SPFL conduct business or the way individuals inside the SPFL go about the conduct of that business.

During on-air interviews, questions are being put to clubs about the degree of confidence they have in individuals rather than the processes, systems and structures. This suggests it is individuals who are being placed under scrutiny, and not the dysfunctional processes and structures themselves. A pity, since there is little doubt the governance is dysfunctional.

SFM has long been asking questions about the system and processes of governance and in fact tried to elicit the help of a number of journalists (in 2014) after information which had not been made available to the then SPFL lawyers Harper MacLeod during or after the LNS inquiry had surfaced.

Information that had it been made available would have changed the charges of Old Rangers’ mis-registration of players contracts, and to the more recent and unresolved matter of their failing to act in good faith to fellow club members (which the SFA Compliance Officer made in June 2018 in respect of non-compliance with UEFA FFP regulations relating to tax overdue in 2011).

Following the last Celtic AGM a detailed independent investigation by an accountant was provided to Celtic who passed it to the SFA where the matter has been overtaken by world events but not forgotten. That report can be read here.
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1NeNzADsUAXkcFQ6QtehK5QqNsFa6he8V

It only adds to the mountain of evidence on https://www.res12.uk that suggests the need for reform of both governance bodies, their structures, systems and process.

Instead the media have given us a narrow head hunt to remove individuals for reasons that can only be guessed. This from individuals in the media whose motivations are as questionable now as they were in 2014, when they and their organisations ignored stronger evidence of greater wrong doing than has so far been presented by those currently advocating change.

The current media clamour for heads on a plate carries with it more than a whiff of hypocrisy.

During week commencing 22 September 2014, some volunteer SFM readers posted a bundle of documents that had surfaced to a number of journalists. SFM had previously sent these documents to Harper MacLeod, the then SPL lawyers. These were important documents pertinent to Lord Nimmo Smith’s inquiry into Rangers use of EBTs, documents which had not been made available to Harper MacLeod by Rangers Administrators Duff and Phelps despite being requested in March 2012 as part of the commissioning of LNS.

Earlier SFM blogs provide the details of communications with Harper MacLeod and can be read from the same link(s) provided to 12 Scottish media journalists in the draft below.

Some of the addresses may have received more than one copy but apart from one for whom only an e mail address was known, they should have received at least one hard copy of what Harper MacLeod/SPFL had been provided with which the latter passed to the SFA Compliance Officer in September 2014 according to their last reply to SFM. It is unlikely none were received by the organisations they were addressed to.

The draft to the journalist which the volunteers were at liberty to amend said:

I am a reader of The Scottish Football Monitor web site and attach for your information a set of documents that Duff and Phelps, acting as Rangers Administrators in April 2012, failed to provide to the then Scottish Premier League solicitors Harper MacLeod, who were charged with gathering evidence to investigate the matter of incorrect player registrations from July 1998 involving concealed side letters and employee benefit trusts by Rangers FC as defined in the eventual Lord Nimmo Smith Commission.

The failure to supply the requested information in the form of the attached documents as clearly instructed resulted in incorrect terms of reference being drawn up by Harper Macleod and a consequent serious error of judgement by Lords Nimmo Smith in his Decision as regards sporting advantage.

The information in the attached was provided to Harper MacLeod and the SPL Board in Feb 2014 and it was pointed out in subsequent correspondence that SFA President Campbell Ogilvie had failed to make a distinction in his testimony to Lord Nimmo Smith between the already confirmed as irregular Discount Option Scheme EBTs paid to Craig Moore, Tor Andre Flo and Ronald De Boer from 1999 to 2002/03 under Rangers Employee Benefit Trust (REBT) and the later loan EBTsfrom 2002/03 onwards under the Murray Group Management Remuneration Trust (MGMRT), having initiated the first DOS EBT to Craig Moore (as shown in the attached) and being a beneficiary of a MGMRT EBT as widely reported in national press in March 2012 at the time investigations commenced.
The complete narrative was set out in a series of blogs on The Scottish Football Monitor Web Site that are accessible from

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B6uWzxhblAt9dnVHSl9OU3RoWm8/view?usp=sharing
(Edit: The links to the original SFM blogs were listed but some have been lost but original sources have been uploaded to Google Drive accessible from the above link)

However in spite of the correspondence sent to Harper MacLeod, there has been no response from them or the SPFL, save their answer to the original letter. (Edit: There was subsequent correspondence with Harper Macleod after the package and this letter was sent to the journalists which can be read from the above index to the original blogs.)

These points suggests that the SPFL, Harper MacLeod and Lord Nimmo Smith were misled by Duff and Phelps failure to supply the attached documents as instructed as well as Campbell Ogilvie’s failure to correct Lord Nimmo Smiths decision to treat all EBTs as “regular” when the DOS EBTs are not, as the attached evidence clearly demonstrates.

You are one of a number of journalists to whom this letter and attachments is addressed either electronically or hard copy. We are hoping that some journalists will prove themselves worthy of the challenge and investigate the story, even if only to refute it and stop suspicion of a cover up.

A copy of this letter and responses from addressees (or failures) will be published on The Scottish Football Monitor web site for the Scottish football supporting public to note. The e mail address for your reply is press@sfm.scot and we hope that you will investigate what appears to have been the corruption of the very process set up to establish the truth or you will explain why you cannot.
Yours in Sport

Note: The letter above was drafted and distributed with the documentation before a reply from Harper MacLeod was received, but as the reply did not address the issue of the nature of the irregular DOS EBTs, the request to journalists to investigate was even more valid.
The following were the journalists to whom documentation was posted/delivered.

Mr Richard Gordon
Mr Richard Wilson
Mr Tom English all at the BBC.

Mr Grant Russell
Mr Peter A Smith. At STV

Mr Andrew Rennie Daily Record Sports Editor

Mr Paul Hutcheon
Mr Graham Speirs
Mr Gerry Braiden at The Herald

Mr Mathew Lindsay Evening Times (belatedly)

Mr Gerry McCulloch Radio Clyde

Ms Jane Hamilton Freelance ex-Sun Sunday Mail (by e mail)

Only three individuals showed an interest but it is inconceivable to think that the media outlets they worked for were ignorant of the information provided or that the Scottish media sports departments are unaware of the narrative and its implications which were subsequently picked up by The Offshore Game but drew no refuting comments with the exception of Tom English.

He opined that the TOG report was ‘flawed’ although he did not specify how he came to that conclusion.

Darren Cooney of the Daily Record did take an interest in November 2015 when he met an SFM representative, who explained the case then sent him a summary to give to his editor but The Daily Record did not publish the story nor give any reason why they didn’t.

Grant Russell was with STV at the time and a meeting with him was arranged with a fellow SFM contributor but he failed to show up.
He subsequently did show an interest when The Court of Session ruled the Big Tax Case unlawful in July 2017, when he was provided with the a note of the consequences for the LNS Commission. However Grant moved jobs to join Motherwell in late October 2017.

Why bring all this his up now?
Because currently, the existence of texts and e-mails and unsubstantiated claims of skullduggery appear to have energised a media (and BBC Sports Department in particular) that had ‘no appetite’ to investigate actual evidence presented to them in 2014. There seems to be little doubt that an agenda is being followed, but as the preceeding paragraphs demonstrate, it casts doubt that their motivation is reform of the governance of Scottish football, and raises a suspicion that replacement of individuals (whose steerage of the good ship Scottish Football into the RFC iceberg was deemed adequate a decade ago) is what is important. A meaningless powerplay. No more no less.

One may jump to the conclusion that the foregoing is a defence of the individuals at the centre of this controversy, and that it defends the SPFL position in respect of the requisitioners review of governance. That would be the wrong conclusion. The point is that a wide-ranging review of the SFA/SPFL governance is way overdue.

The time window covered by any review should the very least cover the tenure of those accused of malfeasance and mis-governance. The media, and the requisitioners are cherry-picking their poor governance. That is poor governance in itself.

1118 COMMENTS

  1. wottpi@11:20

    Not sure that your judgement on the hit that Hearts will take is all that severe. I am not in any way experienced in finances but to my uneducated mind to compare the 2015 and 2016 seasons accounts when Hearts were in firstly the championship and later the top league would perhaps be indicative of what to expect.

    The year in the championship showed a turnover of about £7M and the following year in the top league a turnover was around £9M. The latter figure included about £1.5M in income from transfers that was not equaled the previous year. It was also a season when they finished third in the league and so give a higher income.

    No doubt my presumptions will be torn apart by those more experienced but it is a starting point.

    Now your finances will be negatively affected by the way your wage bill has soared by an increase in your playing squad to point that is so out of kilter with the club's earning potential. Your point that Budge was pilloried by the press for looking for cuts in players wages is also misleading. I think it's fair to say that our respect for any action by  the media has long since departed and their attacks are of no consequence. We must though look at the reasons that Budge did this so early. In her own words this was made essential because when she first took the reins she changed the wage structure from being mostly win bonuses to a much higher basic wage. Combine this with the huge hike in playing squad size meant that the club were vulnerable when income ceased. The win bonus based wage structure is recognised as the more appropriate means of paying wages in football so has a bad decision been made as far as the business side of Hearts is concerned. You must also ask if this maybe contributed to the performances you saw from your team. That is for Hearts supporters to decide of course but I can't accept that the other teams are wrong for having left the decisions on wage cuts till later. More time has been taken by them to assess what an uncertain future holds for their clubs. There has also been no wholesale use of threats of contract cancellation of the type that Budge opted for. There was of course a more pressing need for her in that the higher base wage incurred a bigger drain on the finances  so "being ahead of the curve" is not necessarily a compliment that she deserves. These are all results created internally by  the club and not the fault of other teams.

    The rest of your post has been already been answered by my belief that uncertainty will continue well into the future as the world is flying by the seat of its pants through this new world catastrophe.

    If you want to get into detail on planning perhaps work with what is most likely thing to happen in the near future, the restarting of the top league in August. With the start probably meaning games for some will more than one a week what happens if a referee shows symptoms after officiating two games in one week? Isolation for 14 days for the six teams involved would mean the cancellation of up to 24 games. Is this really workable?

  2. I can't help feeling that I am falling in line with those that believe I am posting too frequently.

    My reason is that my whole intention at the beginning was to point out that to claim that other clubs acting out of self interest was somehow an attack on Hearts while their statement of intent was so full of acting through self interest on their own behalf. This would only result in any clubs open to discussion being forced to look to themselves.

    I think that I have made my point as clearly as I can so I will try to reduce my output. I can't promise though as having to self shield leaves you sometimes fighting boredom.

     

  3. No idea what the current position to the end of the 2020 financial year but Hearts accounts to end of June 2019 show

    Turnover  – £15, 067m

    Wages  – £8,220m or 54.5% of turnover

    Hibs accounts to same period of the end of June 2019 show

    Turnover £10,800m

    Wages £6.350m or 58.8% of turnover.

    Hearts list the following

    Players and Staff – 122 (up 6 from 2018)

    Commercial & Admin – 71 (up 21 from 2018)

    Part time hospitality – 146

    Hibs only list 

    Players and Staff – 75 (up 11 from 2018)

    Commercial and admin – 35 (static)

    (No mention of part time hospitality staff,  so have to presume it is outsourced)

    Therefore even if you totally discount the part-time hospitality staff  at Tynecastle and divide the total wage bill of £8,220m by the 193 main staff members it works out at an average £42.6k per employee

    Down at Easter Road they are dividing £6,350m between only 110 employees resulting in an average salary of £57.7k per employee.

    So, to the end of 2019, even with a larger number of players and staff, lower costs per employee and lower percentage of wages to turnover  at Tynecastle than at Easter Road, but at the end of 2019 neither club outrageous in terms of wages to turnover ratio (as it should be).

    Maybe there has been a change at Tynecastle this past season, as clearly a handful of new and bigger money signings can alter things,  but I'd guess a wage structure is in place and would be surprised if there was an almighty spike in the ratio.

    Frankly I'm not overly concerned with the financial predicament Hibs find themselves in having to pay off academy staff and close the operation down. Its up to their players if they want to follow the path of outrage as trodden by Tam McManus or get real.

    Going forward each club will have their own issues to worry about rather than mulling over those of another club.

    Apart form T'Rangers of course, they always need to be kept under full financial scrutiny blush

  4. Mickey Edwards 23rd June 2020 at 18:11

    Mickey, I know the feeling but maybe don't stop posting, just broaden things out a bit.

    If the court case gets going that will really give us something to get our teeth into.

    Plenty other things to be discussed other than Hearts and Ann Budge.

    For instance we are nowhere near knowing whats going to be happening re grassroots footballs restarting.

    One issue is that is on my mind was asked of the SYFA recently regards not being able to get first aid courses updated.

    Their response was as follows:- 

    First Aid is one of the areas which we're still looking at, both from an SYFA perspective and also within the wider context of the Grassroots sub-group.

    Providing qualified first aid provision is an essential component of team football activities and matches and therefore should we make any alterations to this requirement, the safety of children and young people participating under our jurisdiction cannot and will not be compromised.

    We are working closely with the Hampden Sports Clinic, who administer and deliver the National Sports First Aid course, to find a suitable solution, at which point we will immediately advise our members.

    So I have a previous certificate that expired during lockdown and my fellow coach has a first aid qualification via his work, but, if nothing gets sorted soon, neither of us will have the required up to date SYFA specific course.

    The worry is, if grass roots football does restart our kids might not be able to play due to the red tape.

    Whats is better? Festering in front of an X-box/Playstation or kids getting back to training and games with the minimal risk of needing first aid, especially when I view myself and my fellow coach as being more than competent to deal with injuries.

  5. Big Pink 23rd June 2020 at 17:42

    StevieBC
    Since found out that it was The Guardian that was serving the file.
    Curiously, the link is now met with a permissions error.
    I suspect that the correct security was not put in place to protect the file until it was spotted.
    That would mean that they are trying to get us to pay for their mistake.

     

    Thats what i posted in my reply further back, even Phil Mac's  site contains a no copy protection when attempting to cut and paste his images. So basically when sites do not carry a hands off warning then they are fair game as a user will not without warning.notification be able to determine if the image in use is royalty free or is exempt if used for educational or iforming purposes. 

    Do not even reply to them let it be and use freee image search software to verifym, as long as you are taking action to protect copyright, you are doing all that is required.

    Free software that can be used to search and to reverse search. Two below of many free to use.

    https://www.pixsy.com/

    https://tineye.com/

     

  6. Wottpi@19:00

    I'm afraid you miss the point. Your comment that Budge was "ahead of the curve" suggested that other clubs weren't acting in their own best interests. My point about the reason for it being earlier than others was taken directly from a Budge radio interview.

    While my comment regarding the accounts was done without a background in accounting the general drift was suppose to be that the difference the last time a two league comparison could be made showed that there was not a huge. If I had wanted to take that further I could argue that comparing income from closed door games in two leagues will be even less.

    You are right that the club accounts are a concern for the individual club and their fans alone. As I have repeatedly said though our conversation stems from your accusations that for clubs OTHER than Hearts to act through self interest is bad and Hearts self interest is good.

    Still, it has been an interesting conversation.

  7. wottpi@20:11

    I totally agree and it is why I raised the point of next season stopping and starting.

    The point I made about 24 games being cancelled because of one positive test did not include others that may by affected by track and trace from footballers having contact with the outside world. A fag  packet calculation leaves me believing that 3 or 4 positive tests would make it impossible to conclude next season as well.

    Are we to have a repeat of this year's aggravation next year? We could see those who are seeking to get promotion/relegation put on hold going through the courts next year with a petition that is completely the opposite.

    Too much uncertainty.

  8. Mickey Edwards 24th June 2020 at 09:42

    The issue if what happens if games have to be postponed next season due to a Covid outbreak is interesting. Especially if the season cannot be completed again or one or more teams cannot, due to time constraints,  complete their allocated number of games.

    However, depending on how the petition goes, the SPFL could have locked themselves into a situation where their take it or leave it, Points Per Game formula is used again to determine league positions.

    In the event of a general second wave or a football related outbreak we could again find a situation of teams being declared champions or being relegated by a lottery.

    Given the majority vote for such measures this past season I trust very few clubs will complain if they find themselves down the bottom of the table.

     

  9. Mickey Edwards 24th June 2020 at 09:42

    PS I believe, in legal terms, the ongoing petition is specific to the resolution, the manner in which it was handled and the resulting outcome for season 2020/21. It is not asking for anything to be written into stone for future seasons.

    If the petition fails and the same thing was to happen next season I suspect that Hearts/Thistle and perhaps others may simply suggest the best solution is for a  ‘temporary adjustment’ to league structures that does the least harm to all members in these uncertain times. Therefore Hearts/Thistle would be wholly consistent in their stance as that was their position this past season.

    If the petition fails and the same thing was to happen next season and the SPFL  come up with a different solution, then surely questions will be asked again as to why that wasn’t available this season. (The reason most likely the conditions of the Sky deal).

    If the petition succeeds and the same thing was to happen next season then the SPFL will no doubt have to review all matters again and try and come up with what they believe is the best solution for that point in time.

    Given their conviction this years solution was the best then I wouldn’t be surprised if they pursued the same approach, thus being ‘locked in’ by a blinkered approach.

  10. wottpi 23rd June 2020 at 20:11

    Mickey Edwards 23rd June 2020 at 18:11

    Mickey, I know the feeling but maybe don’t stop posting, just broaden things out a bit.
    ……………..
    On the broaden things.
    Been asking about what a few have been doing since there is no football. Although all have said they miss the football i have been given mixed reviews about watching the games with no fans, ie. “It is on but i’m not bothered”. Rubbish.etc.
    Many have took the time to learn something New. Play the piano, learn the guitar, took up fitness and gave up the drink, started painting etc.
    How many fans will be lost to the game now that many have taken to fill up their free time with other things and the routine of football being broken?
    Clubs may have to do more now to keep the average fan on board, if a cycle can be broken these last few months have taken a sledgehammer to it.
    Many, many fans have already been lost to the game due to the corruption of the governing bodies of the game, how many will feel it is just not worth it anymore and will just become one of those fans that just enjoy the odd day out for a cup final.

  11. Cluster One 24th June 2020 at 13:01

    Yes indeed and I posted a while back re my concerns about what this means for the future of the game.

    In terms of fans we will just have to see. Some may drop away but others may realise how much they miss the game and actually attend more when crowds are allowed back in.

    However, my main fear is that this will all set our clubs and national team back regards developing the next generation of home grown players.

    John Collins was very passionate on the radio on Saturday re how best to develop the players of tomorrow. He was very critical of potentially closing down academy programmes and was supportive of the Colts idea.

    The logic being we need our developing players to be playing in a 'real' environment and not always in age groups. Paraphrasing – he intimated that what you might be able to get away with in terms of skills in an age group game might be a lot harder versus an experienced semi-pro on a £50 win bonus. 

    None of the boys in the team I coach are at a level where they will play pro (I'm no Alex Ferguson!!) but the situation is still the same. While all my team have said they want to return for next season, how many decent young players will end up drifting away from the game over this period come the time they might restart.

    In my experience kids who are decent at one sport are often blessed with the physicality and skills that result in them being fairly decent rugby players, golfers, tennis players etc. The lack of football may see them take up opportunities elsewhere in other sports that, through accident or design, are harnessing their resources and planning for the future.

    If Scottish Football doesn't grasp this part of the problem we could just end up dropping further down the rankings and relying on imports.

    I may be wrong but I have not seen anything re forward or contingency planning in these areas.

     

     

  12. It's the steady breaking of the cycle that has been the problem for a while now. No set day/time for kick off means no definite time where the diary can be block booked. The invite to go to the in-laws placed three weeks in advance can't be rejected with "Naw, that's when I meet the mates for a pint before going to the match".

    I don't like the swing towards season tickets either. I think it makes the clubs lazy and leaves the fans without any power other than at renewal time. It may allow the clubs to plan more easily but it takes away the need to improve mid season if they know the money is already in the bank. I've not attended regularly for a long time now but when I did consider returning on a regular basis it was the whole season book idea that put me off. It doesn't make me any less of a fan though. I'm not a TV football supporter and I normally prefer listening to the games.

  13. Interesting development regards what Mickey and I were discussing earlier.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/53167718?intlink_from_url=&link_location=live-reporting-story

    So now the SPFL board are seeking control over Covid 19 related decisions for next season.

    Will be interesting to see where folks stand on that, given nearly a third of members clearly wanted a review of the decisions and handling of the Covid 19 related resolution from this past season.

    Just the other week the SPFL appeared to be promoting and basking in the glory of a huge democratic majority passing their resolution but now they don't seem to trust the self same system to deal with future issues.

  14. wottpi,

    I suppose it means that all the clubs would be united with only one target to blame and everybody won't be at each other's throats.

    I doubt that's their thinking though. They're sleekit and not to be trusted. It's more likely that they don't want others to interfere with their dealings with the broadcasters.

  15. wottpi 24th June 2020 at 15:06

    “…So now the SPFL board are seeking control over Covid 19 related decisions for next season”

    “”””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””

    Without seeing the full text of the Resolution it’s difficult  to decide whether or not it is an indication that the Board now realise that they might have got things very badly wrong and that this resolution is one that should have been discussed and voted upon before any decision about calling the league, or relegation (and the basis of it ) was ever discussed!

    If they have indeed recognised the (no doubt well-intentioned  but driven by panic ) mistakes both of substance and form that they made, perhaps the SPFL will hold out an olive branch to the Petitioners by offering to negotiate ,without precondition on the part of either party, a way of arriving  at a temporary solution that will avoid relegations now, if the Petitioners agree to withdraw their legal action and participate in urgent discussions now, before the ‘resolution’ of today goes for discussion.

    Clearly, if the SPFL are now seeking powers to deal with the effects of covid -19, then by inference they must think that what they have already done was done without the necessary powers and is therefore questionable.

    If they have been so advised, I for one will be glad. 

    Much, much better if a sports governance body does not take upon itself  powers that it does not have!

    [ If, when RFC plc was put into Liquidation, the SFA, SPL and SFL had   simply and openly acknowledged the truth that it was Liquidation and that RFC of1872 had ceased to exist as a participant in Scottish Professional Football in the same way that Gretna, Third Lanark etc had done, and that they had no powers to allow  the newly admitted CG club even to claim to be RFC of 1872 never mind to market itself commercially as such, how much more credibility would our governance bodies have!

    But for all we know, today’s ‘resolution’ might be another sneaky, fundamentally dishonest attempt to acquire powers that may be used with less than acceptable levels of accountability( the wee story about the fox and the scorpion is based on a wealth of human experience)]

     

  16. John Clark 24th June 2020 at 22:09

    According to the BBC article the letter sent to clubs said.

    "apparent earlier this year, SPFL rules do not adequately cover the situation where a season has to be curtailed, with a number of games remaining to be played".

    Therefore, as per T'Rangers admission into the league, the board made some up some new ones (of their choosing) and put it to members.

    In an emergency such as this, I can see the logic of the executive perhaps being given powers to allow quick decisions to be made and remove all these lengthy meetings, sub-groups etc.

    However as we have seen in this current debacle the SPFL Board included three members whose clubs could be said to have benefited from the resolution being proposed.

    Motherwell secured third place along with the associated prize money and a Euro spot.

    Hamilton avoided the potential of being in a fight to avoid relegation

    Brechin avoided the potential of a fight for SPFL survival.

    In a members organisation where clubs put forward representatives to be voted onto the board, it is difficult, in certain circumstances, to see how an executive could avoid charges of 'self interest' amongst board members depending on who was on the board at the time of the emergency and the nature of the 'emergency'.

    Yes,  allow the executive to take control in an emergency but transparency should always be the main aim.

    We have no idea if Burrows, Gray and Ferguson championed the resolution with full gusto or took a back seat knowing the potential for a yes vote clearly protected their clubs interests.

    As discussed earlier it is hard to see the required numbers of the membership supporting the current board given around a third of them wanted an independent inquiry on the handing of the Good Friday resolution.

  17. BrianMclauchlinSport@BBCBMcLauchlin

    Hearts and Partick Thistle case against SPFL and others to have initial hearing on Tuesday 30th June at 10.00am at court of Session. Hearing will take place via teleconference. This stage will determine further procedure.

  18. The SPFL board are seeking control over Covid 19 related decisions for next season

    %%%%%%%%%%%%%

    Wouldn't it have been much better to have just had a comprehensive Independent Inquiry into the SPFL executive. It would, one way or tuther, have made this proposal a less contentious question.

    Is it a good idea to give more power to arrogant incompetence and untrustworthy schemers ?

    Very obvious answer.

     

  19. easyJambo 25th June 2020 at 13:23

    '…Hearing will take place via teleconference. .

    """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""

    Good spot, eJ. 

    Incidentally, have you noticed on the Rolls page the distinction made between public and media when it comes to Outer House as opposed to Inner House business- see the italics I've added :

    "The Courts are committed to promoting access to virtual hearings when possible and appropriate in the current challenging circumstances. Currently the media and public may be able to access substantive Inner House hearings and the media may be able to access certain Outer House procedural hearings. Please contact Judicial Communications for further details."

    I tried to contact 'Judicial Communications'  using the Courts' email page to ask whether that was a policy matter or just a mistaken omission of a second reference to 'the public', but the page wouldn't open!

     

     

     

  20. BrianMclauchlinSport@BBCBMcLauchlin

    It will be Lord Clark who will be presiding over the Hearts/Partick Thistle case v SPFL and others next week at Court of Session. #bbcsportscot

  21. John Clark 25th June 2020 at 14:17

    “The Courts are committed to promoting access to virtual hearings when possible and appropriate in the current challenging circumstances. Currently the media and public may be able to access substantive Inner House hearings and the media may be able to access certain Outer House procedural hearings. Please contact Judicial Communications for further details.”

    As I understand it, access by the public to Outer House business is limited to substantive hearings only. If, as Brian McLaughlin suggests, it is only a procedural hearing, then I would not expect public access on Tuesday.

    Assuming that is only a “Procedural Hearing”, then no evidence will be heard.  Its purpose is to set out and agree on how the case will proceed, with dates set for disclosure of documents, submission of new or amended arguments, future hearings and their expected duration. If witnesses are to be called, or witness statements are to be provided then each party will be asked to submit details. 

    Given the time frame, then it is possible Hearts/Partick could ask the court for restrictions to be placed on the SPFL by means of interim interdict, e.g. to prevent the issuance of the Premiership fixture list. I think the odds are against that though.

    I haven’t seen the SPFL’s answers to the petition, as yet, but the only snippet I have heard is that the SPFL has asked that the issue be referred to the SFA as the recognised football appeal body.

    I would expect that Hearts/Partick would argue against that on the basis of a conflict of interest with ND one of the Professional Game Board representatives on the main SFA Board. Most of the arguments involve the application and interpretation of Company Law in any event.

  22. Looks like Tuesday will be a busy one for the cases we have been following

    LORD TYRE – T Sadler/C Stark, Clerk

    Tuesday 30th June By Orders

    CA86/19 David Grier v Philip Gormley &c  Kennedys Scotland  Ledingham Chalmers LLP

    CA9/20 David Whitehouse v Philip Gormley &c  A & W M Urquhart  SGLD  Kennedys Scotland  Ledingham Chalmers LLP

    CA10/20 Paul Clark v Iain Livingston &c  Kennedys Scotland  SGLD  A & W M Urquhart   Ledingham Chalmers LLP

     

    LORD CLARK – L Cranston, Clerk

    Tuesday 30th June  

    By Order

    P499/20 Pet: Hearts of Midlothian FC &c for section 994 & 996 of the Companies Act – Gilson Gray LLP  – Shepherd & Wedderburn – Lindsays

    I note that it is not a “Procedural Hearing” as such, but “By Order”

    From the CoS glossary:
    By order A hearing of a case put out for the hearing at the instance of the court and not on the motion of a party.

  23. John Clark 25th June 2020 at 15:55

    easyJambo 25th June 2020 at 15:00

    '..As I understand it, access by the public to Outer House business is limited to substantive hearings only'

    """""""""""""""""""""""""

    Thanks, eJ.

  24. easyJambo 25th June 2020 at 16:25

    '..I note that it is not a “Procedural Hearing” as such, but “By Order”

    """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""

    Can we take it from that ,eJ, that if the SPFL did indeed ask for the matter to be referred to the SFA, it would seem that Lord Clark is in no doubt that the matter is one for the Courts, right from the off?

    I would imagine that there wouldn't be any 'reporting restrictions', but with private companies and commercial matters being discussed, who knows?

    It would be instructive and probably quite entertaining (depending on who leads for the parties) to be present in person to hear the arguments.

     

     

     

  25. Congratulations to the Scotland Captain, Andy Robertson, on his English Premiership winners medal, to go with the amazing European Champions League ribbon. His rise in the game has IMO, been the best and most uplifting footballing story to come out of Scotland in the last decade.

    A league medal won on the pitch, not awarded in an office, on the back of a railroaded and dubious vote process.

    Many on SFM have repeatedly commented on how they feel that the official line of there being no sporting advantage gained through the use of EBTs, is simply not logical and are angry at how the MSM aided the narrative to go relatively unchallenged.

    Regards current events, I would say that trying to twist the title award for the 2019/20 SPFL season into being completely normal and not giving an asterisk it’s rightful place is a blatant case of trying to twist the truth into something false.

    The extraordinary circumstances that led to an uncompleted league needs to be shown as having happened. In Scotland there was a media push to close down conversation on this. I’m reminded of a Harold Pintor quote on receiving his Nobel prize “…Nothing ever happened. Even while it was happening it wasn’t happening…”.

    At the end of the month, the Court of Session will provide a reminder that it did happen.

    A few days ago the Liverpool manager, Jurgen Klopp said “We don’t expect to get it as a present, we didn’t want to have it on a points per game thing. So we were really happy when it was decided we can play again,”

     

  26. 'John Clark 25th June 2020 at 21:36

    Can we take it from that ,eJ, that if the SPFL did indeed ask for the matter to be referred to the SFA, it would seem that Lord Clark is in no doubt that the matter is one for the Courts, right from the off?…'

    ####################

    …or that the matter isn't one for the Courts until all existing SPFL & SFA procedures have been exhausted (which is probably the SPFL's position as regards the action). Then remember that the SFA's JPP decisions seem to be binding on members & do not allow for external legal appeals, so the CoS may have no place in the dispute. 

     

  27. reasonablechap 26th June 2020 at 07:46
    A league medal won on the pitch, not awarded in an office, on the back of a railroaded and dubious vote process
    …………………..
    I believe Celtic being top of the league when the league was called to a hault won the league on the pitch. No other team was ahead of Celtic.
    Only downside was that during this pandemic the fans never got to see the team being awarded their Medals on the winners podium,But i can say for sure that all the players never turned up at an office to get their Medals, not when everyone was advised by the Goverment to stay at home.

  28. reasonablechap 26th June 2020 at 07:46

    '.I would say that trying to twist the title award for the 2019/20 SPFL season into being completely normal and not giving an asterisk it’s rightful place is a blatant case of trying to twist the truth into something false.'

    """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""

    That is possibly the most ridiculous observation ever made on this blog!

    There is absolutely no equivalence between the consciously cheating and lying behaviour of the Football Authorities in creating and sustaining the Big Lie (that TRFC is RFC)  and the decision, in the face of Covid-19, to call the League, and relate to the actual sporting position at the time. 

    It is an absolute truth that RFC of 1872 was liquidated and ceased to participate in football.

    It is an absolute truth that TRFC was newly created and admitted into football in 2012.

    It is an absolute truth that TRFC is not RFC of 1872.

    It is also an absolute truth that when the League was called, Celtic were clearly in pole position.

    The calling of the league was not the consequence of  sustained cheating and lies.

    The Big Lie was the result of a decade of sports cheating by SDM, which you and the fawning lickspittles of the SMSM have for 8 years tried to ignore and deny.

     

     

     

     

  29. I think someone has started his normal (for him) practice of moving from presenting as, and this time around even naming himself as, reasonable to his default setting, i.e. hellbent on another award of the Order Of The Boot.

    Some common or garden trolling includes a bit of Zen enlightenment; "I'm reminded of a …quote". Not very accurately reminded it would seem; the man quoted is named Pinter not Pintor. The quote itself refers to truth.

    You know the shark has been well and truly jumped when Spoutpish is lecturing us on truth.

    In other news Quasimodo tells us to sit up straight.

    • Ryan McDonald
    • 16 Mar 2020, 13:36

     

    "Steven Gerrard doesn't want any fixtures to be played behind closed doors

    SPFL and SFA chiefs announced last week that the campaign would be suspended until further notice.

    At least one top-flight club is ready to demand league chief Neil Doncaster scraps the season if it cannot be completed.

    But SunSport understands that is a non-starter for bosses at Hampden, who are prepared to declare Celtic champions and relegate Hearts.

    Whatever happens, Rangers boss Gerrard says the remaining fixtures cannot be played out in empty stadiums, insisting fans are the life blood of the game."

    https://www.thescottishsun.co.uk/sport/football/5389394/rangers-steven-gerrard-fans-coronavirus/

     

    https://rangers.co.uk/news/club/rangers-position-impact-of-coronavirus-on-scottish-football/

    …."Furthermore, we are strongly opposed to playing games behind closed doors. Rangers fans have stuck by our club in the darkest of times. Their loyalty will not be forgotten and they will not be left behind."

     

    Away back to your bed multinames.

     

  30. Cluster

    The salient fact is that the league season was called at a point when curtailed and two teams were still competing for the title, beyond that is opinion.

    Up until that point, Celtic had accrued a significant points advantage, on the pitch.

    What came after was not on the pitch.

    A title award that the records should list accordingly *


    ps. being called a troll for pointing out facts is ironic but not surprising.
    Lugosi, thanks for the correction on the Pinter spelling but I note you can’t point to errors regarding the main substantsive point of the post.

       

  31. I am by now convinced that RC does suffer from argumentative personality disorder (which however, in most cases, is not terminal). The best way to treat this condition is to ignore what said cantankerous person is arguing about and concentrate on their agitated motivation for doing so – if you must!.

    This requires a very high level of self-discipline, as the natural inclination is to engage (especially if p*** is being spouted) – thereby exposing oneself to the condition.

    If this doesn’t work – show some humanity and leave the poor soul alane!!

     

  32. Bect67

    Ignoring the facts here is covenient.

    Why would a title awarded in an curtailed season not have an asterisk ? I invite someone to actually tell me why instead of getting personal.

    You say “…to ignore what said cantankerous person is arguing about …”. Another point of view would identify that person as being someone else, JC (not Jesus).

    ps. Lugosi, *substantive

     

  33. reasonablechap 26th June 2020 at 11:19

    Cluster.
    The salient fact is that the league season was called as there was a pandemic. The goverment and the governing bodies agreed no more games could be played, all clubs agreed celtic were champions.
    Are you saying that your opinion on these facts are different and you have a solution against these facts? If you do i would like to hear it.

  34. Cluster One26th June 2020 at 12:56

    reasonablechap 26th June 2020 at 11:19

    with due respect Cluster One, I would not like to hear it. 

    Do not feed. 

  35. Paddy

    The new pitch has been ready to go since around the 9th of June.

    This predates most leagues returning to the 19/20 season (eg. EPL return being the 17th of June).

     

    Cluster

    Thanks for actually playing the ball, not the man.

    The main salient point is not about why it was called or the decisions, votes, etc ensued. What you talk about is of course part of the overall discussion. 

    The very simple fact of there being an curtailed season, with the title still undecided is why an asterisk or suitable footnote needs to be attached to the 2019/20 Scottish League season.

    Thereafter you, me, the club boardrooms, league executives or various QC’s can discuss or argue about what happened next. Whatever opinion that is formed by whoever, doesn’t change the base fact of it being an curtailed season with an undecided title, when called.

    Celtic are awarded the title and get access to CL qualifiers but records should not ignore the fact they didn’t win the title over 38 games played on the grass or plastic. The same goes for all of the leagues, not just the Premiership.

    This is obviously an important issue given that prior to this season Celtic had won 8IAR and are looking to break the record of 9.

      

  36. Cluster One 26th June 2020 at 13:30

    First question for Mr Blair should the Hearts /Thistle petition go further in court.

    Petitioners QC – Well Mr Blair, if four games can be played in eight days how long would it have taken, say starting from 22 June 2020 as allowed by the Scottish Government,  to play the 8 remaining regular season Premiership games of 2019/20?

  37. I really do wish that the season had been completed! Aberdeen could have ended with 69 points and overtaken Rangers who could have lost all their remaining games, but much more realistically could have overtaken Motherwell and finished 3rd with the financial benefit that would have resulted.

    But the season wasn’t completed and the league was “called”. Presumably history will reflect this unusual (unprecedented) situation in the records? But Celtic still won the league.

    Also presumably those who do not accept the title being awarded because the playing season was incomplete would be taking the same view even if it was mathematically impossible that Celtic could have been caught? On the other hand I have often wondered if the SPFL would have had the balls to propose “calling” the league if the position at that time was that there were only say a couple of points in it between Celtic and Rangers*? Hypothetical I know but a thought.

  38. reasonablechap 26th June 2020 at 13:34

     

    The very simple fact of there being an curtailed season, with the title still undecided is why an asterisk or suitable footnote needs to be attached to the 2019/20 Scottish League season.

    ===========================================

    That's not a "fact" though. The rules don't say that a season consists of 38 games. They say this

    Season means the period of the year commencing on the date of the first League
    Match in a Season and ending on the date of the last League Match in the same
    Season or otherwise as determined by the Board and which excludes the Close
    Season

    So the season is complete.

    The title has also been decided.

    The Club occupying position one in the League at the end of a Season shall be
    declared the Champion Club of the League and shall hold the "The Scottish
    Professional Football League Championship Trophy" until the next Season's League
    Competition is concluded. 

    The league has been finalised, by the agreement of the member clubs and the champions have been decided. It doesn't matter if you don't like that, or don't like the rules, they exist.
     

  39. reasonablechap 26th June 2020 at 13:34

    Where did you see that , or whose word are you taking ? It was dug up when the league was still in progress . I dare say all pitches in Scotland will be rested enough to allow games to be played. Have you distilled your thoughts on your opinion on a fair end to the season ?

  40. bordersdon 26th June 2020 at 14:23

    On the other hand I have often wondered if the SPFL would have had the balls to propose “calling” the league if the position at that time was that there were only say a couple of points in it between Celtic and Rangers*? Hypothetical I know but a thought.

    The answer is there before your very eyes.

    PPG, as voted by the majority – rules is rules and all that, worked fine to allow Raith to be awarded their division and promotion on the basis of a one point lead, so why would that not be similarly applied to the scenario in the Premiership that you outline?

    Surely, you are not suggesting that the SPFL board might have had alternative solutions for different scenarios depending on which club was where?!!  Have you not heard this was the best and only solution and they might even have to try and prove it in court.

     

  41. reasonablechap 26th June 2020 at 13:34
    This is obviously an important issue given that prior to this season Celtic had won 8IAR and are looking to break the record of 9.
    ………….
    prior to this season Celtic had won 8IAR and were looking to equal the record of 9, which they did, And good for them as they deserved it, and every club in the SPFL agreed that they deserved it. On the 5th of April Celtic vere very vocal against Title declaration, but they followed the rules and were crowned champions and every club agreed that celtic be crowned champions.

  42. Hearts / Partick v SPFL now moved to Wednesday.

    BrianMclauchlinSport@BBCBMcLauchlin

    Initial hearing of Hearts/Partick Thistle v SPFL and others now moved to Wednesday 1st July at 11.00am. Lord Clark presiding at Court of Session. Expected to last 1-2 hours. #bbcsportscot

    =============================

    Also today, the FFF backed up the Ligue 1 decision to relegate Toulouse and Amiens, after being asked to reconsider the decision by a French court.  The decision was taken following a vote of 200 or so member clubs with over 80% of the clubs backing the league.

    It’s akin to the SFA backing a decision of the SPFL and demonstrates why Hearts and Partick are seeking to avoid referral to the SFA as an appellate body.

    It isn’t clear whether or not the two clubs will take it further.  The FFF immediately announced their fixtures following their meeting with clubs.

  43. easyJambo 26th June 2020 at 17:42

    Hopefully sounds the death knell for the joint challenge .

  44. Regardless of whether one agrees with Hearts & PT , their decision to avoid referral to the SFA as an appellate body is totally understandable.  They (SFA) couldn't run a menage in my humble opinion.

  45. jimbo 27th June 2020 at 10:12

    '.. their decision to avoid referral to the SFA as an appellate body is totally understandable. '

    """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""

    Decidedly so, jimbo!

    Who in his right mind would expect any measure of judicial objectivity and integrity from a governance body which which went into a sordid, secret agreement to permit a new club that they themselves had newly admitted into Scottish Football to masquerade as and cheatingly market itself as being 140 years old+  and laden with honours ?

    The SFA is about as honest as a Wild West sheriff addressing a lynch mob " Fellers, let's give the guy a fair trial and then we'll hang him"

     

  46. Yes John and look at their impartiality, integrity and ingenuity with Nimmo Smith.  World class!

    A World Class Joke.  

     

    The sad thing is everyone involved in it don’t give a toss.  They will lose no sleep over it.  I could offer suggestions why but I will not.

  47. ‘jimbo 27th June 2020 at 10:12

    Regardless of whether one agrees with Hearts & PT , their decision to avoid referral to the SFA as an appellate body is totally understandable.  They (SFA) couldn’t run a menage in my humble opinion.’

    ##############################

    They haven’t, at this moment in time, avoided referral. They’re attempting to avoid going down the SFA route, but it’s been widely-reported that that body’s Compliance Officer has already written to HoMFC & PTFC re their legal action. 

    As I wrote yesterday, I suspect that next week’s CoS activity may well revolve around whether the clubs have the right to court action before all SPFL & SFA internal procedures are complete (including the JPP appellate process, which appears to be absolutely binding & excludes further external legal action).

    On Wednesday, Lord Clark may decide he wants nothing to do with it & that the SPFL & the SFA’s procedures are competent to deal with the matter. Then again, he may decide that the clubs have a case & that the SPFL’s actions are worthy of scrutiny. We’ll have to wait & see.

  48. Jingso.Jimsie 27th June 2020 at 12:07

    ‘jimbo 27th June 2020 at 10:12

    Regardless of whether one agrees with Hearts & PT , their decision to avoid referral to the SFA as an appellate body is totally understandable. They (SFA) couldn’t run a menage in my humble opinion.’

    ##############################

    They haven’t, at this moment in time, avoided referral…

    =============

    That does highlight another aspect of this fallout.

    The CoS action could be taken as a very public 'vote of no confidence' in the SPFL,

    and likewise, to try and avoid an SFA referral could also be viewed as a 'vote of no confidence' in the SFA itself?

    Either way, I can't remember any club(s) being so openly defiant towards Hampden – although these are indeed unusual times.

    To see the governance bodies challenged externally – for whatever reason – is actually encouraging, IMHO.

  49. Jingso.Jimsie 27th June 2020 at 12:07

    '..I suspect that next week’s CoS activity may well revolve around whether the clubs have the right to court action before all SPFL & SFA internal procedures are complete ..'

    """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""

    You may very well be right, Jingso.

    In so far, though, as this action includes the assertion that the SPFL is in breach of the Companies Act 2006 which ,of course, is far more binding as statute law than any piddly little rule book of a football association, I rather think that is a matter for the Courts than for the SFA.

    I hope so anyway, although surely the SFA cannot be as collectively stupid as it is wicked?

    TRFC went to Court over the transfer embargo. I can't remember them being done for that?

     

  50. New development.

    Hearts & Thistle have issued a joint statement today as follows :-

    Along with the other 40 SPFL clubs, Hearts and Partick Thistle have received a letter, signed by Neil Doncaster, that relates to the forthcoming Court case.

    It is wrong and much of its content is misleading and the timing itself questionable, we are currently awaiting legal advice on what needs to happen next.

  51. John Clark 27th June 2020 at 13:04
    TRFC went to Court over the transfer embargo. I can’t remember them being done for that?
    ……………………
    Rangers administrator Paul Clark said: “We welcome the decision by Judge Lord Glennie today that vindicates the club’s position that the original SFA judicial panel tribunal and the appellate tribunal acted beyond their powers in imposing a transfer embargo on the club.

    “The costs for this legal action have been awarded against the SFA and it is our position it is very regrettable that court action was required.

    “Both we, and the SFA, will have to study the full ramifications of the judgment when it is published and either side has 21 days in which to decide the next course of action or whether they wish to appeal.”
    29 May 2012
    ………….
    The ibrox club were hit with a 12 month signing embargo and a £160,000 fine. As they later agreed to the signing embargo i take it they agreed to the fine also.Ally was charged with “not acting in the best interests of Association Football” by calling for the panel members to be named in public.
    Rangers successfully challenged the ban on signing players in the Court of Session but have since accepted the transfer embargo after gaining SFA membership last month.
    Rangers and McCoist have until Aug 17 to respond, with a principal hearing date of Aug 30 set for both cases to be heard.

  52. To late to Edit.
    Ally was found guilty on Aug 30, 2012 for bringing the game into disrepute and given a 3 match touchline ban suspended for 12 months, i don’t believe the club was ever charged for going to court, with all the sanctions that could bring, i don’t remember them getting anything for going to court.
    The club accepted the transfer ban as a condition for being granted SFA membership.

  53. Again to late to edit
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-18261343
    “If the Scottish Football Association decide not to take action against Rangers in relation to Rangers submitting the application to the Court of Session then Fifa can penalise both the Scottish association and the individual clubs and the national team of Scotland and impose an international ban on all of them.

  54. John Clark 27th June 2020 at 13:04

    In so far, though, as this action includes the assertion that the SPFL is in breach of the Companies Act 2006 …

    ===================================

    Forgive me, I haven't seen the details, which particular past of the Act are the SPFL board supposed to have breached.

  55. Homunculus 27th June 2020 at 16:18

    '..Forgive me, I haven't seen the details,..'

    """"""""""""""""""""""""""""

    My apologies, Homunculus, for omitting the words 'possibly/probably ' between 'action' and 'includes'.

    My amateurish reading of the Companies Act and how the law tries to protect minority shareholders led me to read about Board meetings and the powers of the board and how voting etc is to be conducted. 

    The procedural omnishambles that was the 'vote' in question seems to me quite possibly to have  fallen  foul of section 994 in being unfair to some members in the processes and the desperate rush to get votes in and all that nonsense. 

    Unfairness is the cry from HoM and PT and it would make sense for them to try to use the Act to declare the actions null and void and unenforceable? 

    I cannot see an appeal to the SFA being in any way useful or even relevant? And certainly to have the Court rule that the SPFL made an absolutely disastrous Bols-up of the legalities would warm the cockles of my heart, no matter who was suing them!

  56. John Clark 27th June 2020 at 16:50

    ================================

    Thanks for that.

    It is probably worth pointing out that if relegation and promotion are cancelled three members would suffer. Those three clubs have apparently said they would be making their own representations.

    Reconstruction was the only sensible solution, particularly  as it was worth considering even before these events 

  57. Homunculus 27th June 2020 at 18:00

    '..Thanks for that….

    """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""

    You might be interested in this, Homunculus if you have not already seen it. I was further pursuing  my amateurish researches by googling 'heart of midlothian' and 'petition' and companies act etc, and literally 10  minutes ago came across this, which I honestly had not seen before my earlier post:

    'Top sports lawyer shares fascinating insight into Hearts and Partick Thistle legal petition'

    https://www.edinburghlive.co.uk/sport/football/fascinating-insight-contents-hearts-partick-18458804

    According to that piece, unfair prejudice under the Companies Act is being alleged. 

    That strengthens my opinion that the SFA could not be relevant, because (I think!) a football governance body is not competent to determine whether a separate limited Company's Board breached the Act. 

     

  58. The alleged letter from ND to the clubs has been published on twitter. (not sure about its provenance).

    https://twitter.com/joe_black1509/status/1276973816934268928

    SPFL Letter from Neil Doncaster, 27th June 2020

    Dear all

    A number of clubs have asked whether we can provide them with copies of the petition lodged by Heart of Midlothian PLC and Partick Thistle Limited naming The SPFL Limited and the companies owning the three promoted clubs (Dundee United, Raith Rovers and Cove Rangers) plus Stranraer FC Limited, as respondents in the action. Several clubs have also asked us to provide the answers (to the petition) that we lodged in court yesterday.

    There is one set of answers for the SPFL and another joint set for the three promoted clubs. We and the three promoted clubs have been advised that there are sufficiently different interests between our respective positions that to lodge consolidated answers is not possible.

    Unfortunately, we have also been advised that it would not be appropriate, and arguably unlawful, to make available to non-parties the litigation copies of the pleadings lodged in court. This includes the petition, the two sets of answers and the documents (ie productions), lodged in court by the parties.

    We have been advised that such items, when lodged, become the property (or at least under the control) of the court and that parties to a litigation are not permitted, subject to potentially severe sanctions, to circulate copies of such material to non-parties.

    If SPFL Member Clubs wish to receive copies of the documents lodged, then it would be necessary for each of them to apply to the court to become a respondent in the action and to lodge its own individual (or potentially joint) answers, or at least to formally associate itself with the existing answers of the three promoted clubs. If any Member is considering doing so, then it should contact Rod McKenzie and he will be pleased to advise on the required procedure and the options available.

    It is appropriate to observe that copies of the petition are circulating (although not through any act or omission of the SPFL) reasonably openly on the internet.

    There will be a first hearing in the Court of Session, provisionally scheduled for Wednesday 1 July at 11.00am. The principle issue for discussion at that hearing is likely to be whether the petition procedure in court should be sisted (suspended) whilst the issues in dispute are determined by the Scottish FA arbitration.

    It appears to encourage clubs with an interest to join the respondents action, but also intimates that, at Wednesday’s hearing, the SPFL will be seeking to have the court action “sisted”, while the SFA looks to arbitrate the dispute.

    I suspect that Hearts & PT were unhappy with the suggestion that the publication of the petition on the internet (not by the SPFL) was in some way wrong or even unlawful. The petition actually requested that it be intimated on the “walls in common form”, which, to my limited knowledge, makes the document available to the public.

  59. Cluster One 27th June 2020 at 14:47, 14.32, and 14.17

    '..Again to late to edit'

    """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""

    What a dab hand you are at finding source material, Cluster One! Thanks for that.

    I'm not aware of any sanction having been applied by the SFA to any Scottish club for going to Court, or to the SFA for not taking action in any such case.

    Another avenue of exploration during 'lockdown', which even I, a natural home-bird with a range of interests that I enjoy and that don't require that I 'go out' , am beginning to feel. 

  60. I am really struggling with the concept of prejudicing a members rights.

    Every member has the same holding, 1 of 42 shares. So it's not like a major shareholder is seeking to disadvantage minor shareholders.

    The board didn't make a decision, it put it to the members, who voted on it. A substantial majority agreed to end the season and by doing so finalise the league positions. So what happened is the will of the majority of the members.

    If the decision is reversed 3 members will be disadvantaged, not 2. Had the SPFL members not made that decision more members would have been prejudiced, not less. 

    If they are including this in their petition, and using it as their reason to appeal to a Court, rather than the SFA, it makes no sense to me. 

  61. easyJambo 27th June 2020 at 21.56

    '..The petition actually requested that it be intimated on the “walls in common form”, which, to my limited knowledge, makes the document available to the public.'

    """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""

    I'm with you on that, eJ.

    Unless the world of plumbing is an exception!broken heart

    "P225/20 Pet: Plumbing Pensions (U.K.) Limited For Directions Re Sec6

    Pinsent Masons LLP Author: lmclachlan3 Page 1 of 2 IH Basic Interlocutor Edinburgh 18 March 2020

    The Lords, appoint the petition to be intimated on the Walls in common form and to be advertised on the “Plumbing Pensions” website https://www.plumbingpensions.co.uk , grant warrant to serve a copy of the petition by publication of an advertisement in form 16.5 of the appendix to the Rules of Court once in the Times newspaper appoint any person having an interest, if so advised, to lodge answers within 21 days of such intimation, advertisement and publication; appoint the solicitor for the petitioners to lodge the documents prescribed by Rule 16.5 (6) into process."

    https://www.plumbingpensions.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/20200318-CE6A-First-court-order.pdf

     

  62. Homunculus 27th June 2020 at 23:37

    '…The board didn't make a decision, it put it to the members, '

    """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""

    As I read things, Homunculus, the petitioners must have had some difficulty over the speed and urgency and the whole rationale and basis of the vote. 

    Normally, as I understand things, a 'resolution'  put to members of a company has to be fully and truthfully explained  in neutral language by the Board (which can then , obviously ,indicate that it   supports the resolution!),  and then has to allow 28 (or whatever) number of days for the vote.

    I conclude therefore that the petitioners must feel that the Board must have failed to conduct itself in accordance with its statutory duties in one way or another.

    To be fair, the Board did not try to impose a deadline earlier than the statutory deadline, but requested  votes be cast within a couple of days! And then published 'results' afore the statutory deadline. 

    A serious mistake to make while there was any doubt about a crucial vote!

    The SPFL board made an absolute Bols of it, whatever their intentions.

     

  63. ‘John Clark 27th June 2020 at 22:13

    What a dab hand you are at finding source material, Cluster One! Thanks for that.

    I’m not aware of any sanction having been applied by the SFA to any Scottish club for going to Court, or to the SFA for not taking action in any such case…’

    #############################

    There have been several references to RFC’s (now RFC2012) court action against the SFA in 2012.

    This was a Judicial Review of the process and reach of the SFA in giving RFC a transfer ban & fine. It was not an appeal against the result of the process, but a legal examination of the method used to decide the extent of the punishment, given the SFA’s published protocols.

    Over to Lord Glennie:

    https://www.scotcourts.gov.uk/search-judgments/judgment?id=168f86a6-8980-69d2-b500-ff0000d74aa7

    Para. 8 applies:

    ‘This matter is, in any event, to my mind, made clear by Rule 15.8.3.6 of the Judicial Panel Protocol to which I have referred, which provides that the Appellate Tribunal’s determination “shall be final and binding on the parties and there shall be no further right of appeal.” That excludes any appeal, including an appeal to the CAS. I note, as was submitted by the Dean of Faculty, that the present application to the court, by contrast, is not an appeal but an application to the court in its supervisory jurisdiction to correct what is alleged to be an excess of jurisdiction by the Tribunals.’

    Lord Glennie found with RFC. The SFA had given RFC punishments which were beyond the scope/scale of those included in their current (at 2012) JPP. The SFA were to reconsider said punishments. Did they? I’m not sure (from memory) that they did. 

  64. Homunculus 27th June 2020 at 23:37

    While Hearts and Thistle are the 2 petitioners it is still  3 v 3 in terms of those affected by the SPFL board's resolution. That's why Stranraer are named in the petition along with Dundee Utd, Raith & Cove.

    The court has been asked to weigh up the level of prejudice by electing to relegate 3 clubs without a whole season being played. The simple corollary of that position is that promotion for 3 other clubs can't happen either. (Without as you say- some other solution such as reconstruction)

    For the petitioners the test of unfairness, as viewed by a reasonable person, has been aided by the public utterances of SPFL board member Les Gray.

    While the vote to alter articles/rules is legitimate it may be considered unfair and prejudicial if key information has been withheld or underhand tactics were used. That's the thrust of the petition.

    Football done away with games of chance (tossing of a coin) long ago in favour of deciding matters on the pitch. Eg The unfinished Euro ties will go to a single leg but it is still on the pitch.

    That being said the PPG approach could be seen by the court as being reasonable.  It is interesting the petitioners avoid making a play on that and focus on a cackhanded process for the resolution

    I think the petitioners can prove unfairness but, like you I think the prejudice issue is a bit harder.

    You could even see Lord Clark giving the SPFL a slap across their wrists for their handling of the resolution but still say the result would probably have been the same regardless.

    In the petitionrs favour is that, given the EU wide principles in the Companies Act,  even without a Doncaster in charge, other countries have seen courts side with relegated clubs. Compensation has been paid or court action is likely to be ongoing even if the footballing authorities have pushed ahead.

    Not counting any chickens though as the law can be a funny old thing in Scotland!!

  65. We all like a bit of irony on here.

    How many times have you heard Doncaster say "The SPFL are the club's and if they want something we in the board will do it"

    Now clubs want to see the papers but Doncaster says he must fall in line with the law ( or his and Mackenzie's interpretation).

    That is because the SPFL is not a members organisation. It is a company with shareholders – the clubs.

  66. Jingso.Jimsie 28th June 2020 at 10:03
    Lord Glennie found with RFC. The SFA had given RFC punishments which were beyond the scope/scale of those included in their current (at 2012) JPP. The SFA were to reconsider said punishments. Did they? I’m not sure (from memory) that they did.
    …………………
    The judge accepted the club’s case that only the specific punishments laid down under the related rule should be imposed on the club for bringing the game into disrepute.

    The explicit punishments stated in the SFA’s rule 66 are a maximum £100,000 fine, suspension or expulsion from participation in the game, ejection from the Scottish Cup or termination of membership.

    The independent three-man SFA disciplinary panel had considered ending Rangers’ membership, saying they viewed the offence second only to match-fixing in terms of seriousness,
    Any one of these punishments that were in the rules would have killed the new club.
    The SFA appeal tribunal, decision that a transfer ban was appropriate punishment for a failure to pay more than £13million in tax , was the softest of punishments that they could give the ibrox club, and they still never agreed to it, only when they had no other choice to agree to a transfer ban or face the choice of the punishments that were in the rules that would have killed them did they comply.
    The choice was. Agree to the softest of punishments of a transfer ban that never kicked in until later in the year and you could still play trialists, and you get your membership.
    And if you don’t agree we have no other choice than to give you the punishments that are in the rules, that will kill you.
    You can see why they agreed to a lesser punishment of a transfer ban in the end after all their sabre rattling.

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