The SPL Commission re the Rangers FC – Is It Truly Independent?

Mr McCoist, as long as he reads the papers, looks at the news, or surfs the internet, will not have to issue a demand for names to be named of the SPL Independent Commission looking into alleged wrongdoing by Rangers FC.

The SPL yesterday issued the following statement:-

The Scottish Premier League today announced that the independent Commission to inquire into alleged EBT payments and arrangements made by Rangers in relation to players during the period from 2000 until 2011 will be chaired by Lord Nimmo Smith.

The other members of the independent Commission are Mr Charles Flint QC and Mr Nicholas Stewart QC.

The Commission will determine whether during that period in relation to alleged EBT payments and arrangements for players, Rangers was in breach of the relevant SPL Rules. In the event that the independent Commission decides that such breach or breaches occurred the independent Commission will have powers to determine what sanctions, if any, are appropriate.

The SPL has decided that what it needed were real “heavy weights” when it came time for this Commission. It has them.

Charles Flint QC

Charles Flint QC is described on his chambers’ website as:-

“A commercial barrister, arbitrator and mediator specialising in banking and financial services. He is rated by the independent legal directory Chambers UK 2012 as a leading QC in Financial Services.  In the Banking & Finance area in Legal 500 2011 he “is the pre eminent QC in this area”.

Charles has wide experience in general commercial law having practised in all divisions of the High Court. He now specialises in financial services regulation and acts as an arbitrator and mediator in banking and financial services disputes.  He is recognised by Chambers UK 2012 as a leading mediator in financial services.

Charles is ranked in Dispute Resolution in Chambers Global 2012.”

Charles Flint QC

He has also had enormous experience in sports law. He has advised and acted both for players and sports organisations, including Rugby Unions, Grand Prix teams, the International Tennis Federation, the British Athletics Federation and the Football League. He has appeared before a variety of sporting tribunals including the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), the FIA and many national disciplinary bodies.

He now acts mainly as an arbitrator in sports disputes and is the Vice-President of the National Anti-Doping Panel.

He was chairman of the disciplinary panel appointed by UK Athletics in the case of Dwain Chambers in February 2004, and in the case of Christine Ohuruogu in September 2006. He has acted as chairman of tribunals appointed by the International Tennis Federation.

He is a co-author of “The Regulation of Drug Use in Sport” in “Sport: Law and Practice” (Butterworths – 2008). He appeared in the BBC Radio 4 series “Unreliable Evidence” speaking on sports law. He was a member of the Ethics Advisory Group established as part of the London 2012 bid. He is Chairman of the Sports Broadcast Monitoring Committee established by CCPR to monitor compliance with the code relating to broadcasting rights granted by the major sports. He was a member of the Anti-Doping Review established by the British Olympic Association in preparation for the Olympic Games 2012.

He is a man of the utmost experience and expertise, and also a man of unimpeachable reputation…

Well, to neutral observers he is a man of unimpeachable reputation…

However, on 6th July 2012 Mr Flint was appointed to the UEFA Club Financial Control Body Adjudicatory Chamber. The tasks of the CFCB are to oversee the application of the UEFA Club Licensing System and Financial Fair Play Regulations. The CFCB can take disciplinary measures and its final decisions may be appealed directly to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.  Importantly the CFCB is competent to impose disciplinary measures in case of non-fulfilment of the requirements and decide on cases relating to club eligibility for UEFA club competitions.

Why is this of concern?

The “detectives” on a number of websites for fans of the Rangers FC have been hard at work tracking down any suggestion of bias. They think they have struck gold with Mr Flint. One of the newly appointed members of the UEFA Club Financial Control Body Investigatory Chamber (not the Adjudicatory Chamber) is Brian Quinn.

As one of the Rangers contributors put it, expressing his concern about the fairness of the SPL process:–

“Another stitch up with a Celtic man’s sticky fingers in the pie. We can forget going down the CAS route as Charles Flint QC sits on the arbritation (sic) panels too.”

Brian Quinn was Chairman of Celtic until he stepped down in 2007. He is also a distinguished economist, having reached the position of Deputy Governor of the Bank of England. Clearly the fact that he sits on one part of a UEFA body, whilst Mr Flint sits on a different one, compromises Mr Flint’s integrity and independence. (In case anyone mistakes that for a serious comment, it is not.)

Brian Quinn

In addition, what about Mr Flint and his role on the Court of Arbitration for Sport? Could that in some way compromise him? Well, no.  Whilst he has appeared before CAS, he is not a member of it.

His involvement too in the National Anti-Doping Panel seems to compromise him in some eyes. The link discloses that Mr Flint has a role on the same Panel as is served upon by Rod Mckenzie, Senior Partner of Harper MacLeod. That firm of course is the one which despite the wishful erroneous thinking of many, does not have a conflict of interest in connection with its inquiries for the SPL into the issue to be determined by this Commission.

That as a ground of compromise is equally spurious, but probably enough to get him on one of the hugely tentacled charts showing the “web of Celtic-engineered corruption in Scotland”. © FollowFollow.com

However, why let the facts get in the way of a persecution complex?

Nicholas Stewart QC

Maybe the SPL will have better luck with Mr Stewart, and have him invulnerable to even the wholly misconceived written attacks from some fans of the Rangers FC?

Mr Stewart too is a QC of great experience.

He has been a Deputy High Court Judge in England for 21 years. He has acted as arbitrator in contractual disputes (including agents’ commissions), disputes on dissolution of business and international sporting issues.  He has chaired Football Association disciplinary tribunals and Appeal Boards, British Olympic Association tribunals on eligibility for Olympic Games.  He is a member of the Licensing Appeal Panel of UEFA and the Panel of Arbitrators (Chairperson List), Sport Resolutions (UK).

Nicholas Stewart QC

He was described in the Chambers Directory of Sports Law in 2009 as follows:-

“…. he is also skilled when it comes to sports such as athletics and rugby.”

“A charming man and a safe pair of hands,” he has “a reassuring manner and a great ability to put everyone at their ease.”

However, he is known to be an Arsenal fan, and this caused him to be castigated by Sir Alex Ferguson when the disciplinary body chaired by Mr Stewart suspended Patrice Evra for four games for an altercation with a member of Chelsea’s ground staff.

In addition, the alleged involvement of Arsenal FC with EBTs seems to have persuaded some that he too has a conflict of interest because, as a fan of Arsenal, he would clearly have known all the intricacies of the Arsenal salary arrangements.

I think that the references by Rangers fans to his RC name “Nicholas” and to the Stewart Dynasty being Catholics (even though the line of James and Charles is spelled Stuart) are ironic, I hope.

That however appears to be the extent by which he is “compromised” apart form the fact that, having been appointed by the SPL, it is argued, he cannot therefore be impartial!

Lord William Nimmo Smith

Lord Nimmo Smith served as a judge in the Court of Session and High Court for around thirteen years. Latterly he was a member of the Inner House, hearing appeals in both civil and criminal cases. He has a long and distinguished career in service of the Crown and the country.

Since his retirement from the Bench, he has continued to play a part in public life and part of this has involved his role in Scottish football.

Lord Nimmo Smith

He was commissioned earlier this year to chair a commission of the SFA investigating alleged rule-breaking by Rangers FC and Craig Whyte. His report was prepared quickly and submitted to the SFA where it formed the basis for the disciplinary proceedings against Rangers but was not itself produced to the Panel hearing the case.

I wrote about the issue of the Nimmo Smith Report here.

His Lordship has now been asked to take up the cudgels again, this time by chairing the SPL Independent Commission.

Needless to say, his appointment has been met with almost universal mistrust by Rangers FC fans.

This comes from a number of different standpoints.

Some suggest that “Nimmo” is a silly name; others that he is a Celtic season ticket holder and shareholder; he is accused of being “vindictive” because he imposed the Rangers signing embargo overturned by Lord Glennie (he did not – and he was not part of either Panel which imposed and re-considered that sanction); reference is made to his involvement conducting inquiries long ago, one of which, into accusations of religious bias within Monklands District Council, is held up as proof of his anti-Rangers bias, on the basis he did not find the allegations to be well founded.

Perhaps the only possibly valid criticism of his appointment is his role in the previous SFA investigation. However, that was an inquiry by a different body into different matters, his function in that was to chair a panel looking to recover and analyse evidence to see if a case should be brought, as turned out to be the case.

This Commission sees him performing a separate role. Now he is chairing a high-powered panel to determine the facts, law and if “convicted” penalties.

Does the fact that he previously found that there was a prima facie case against Rangers regarding other matters stop him dealing with this? Of course not.

Even if this was a criminal case in court (which of course it is not) he would not be disqualified from sitting as a judge merely because he was aware, from dealing with a previous case involving the same party, that there were previous convictions. As a professional judge, he is well aware of the need to consider only the evidence put before the court or commission, and to ignore extraneous and inadmissible material.

Day in and day out, especially in the Sheriff Courts in Scotland, particularly in smaller ones where there might only be one or two Sheriffs, people appear at court denying criminal offences where the presiding judge has convicted them in the past, and often many times in the past. However the Sheriff puts it out of his mind, and if he reaches a verdict or conducts the case in a way which suggests bias, then there is an appeal process available.

It, on the other hand, is not appropriate to do what one lay Justice of the Peace was heard to do in a District Court in Central Scotland. Seeing a youth standing in the dock pleading “not guilty” and as the trial was about to start, the JP addressed the accused directly.

“Look son, I’ve jailed your grandfaither. I’ve jailed your faither. I don’t want to have to jail you.” And turning to the procurator fiscal, he asked for the first witness to be called.

That is not justice being seen to be done!

Lord Nimmo Smith’s situation is entirely different. There is nothing publicly known, nor any suggestion of any valid private criticism, which would bar him from dealing with this matter. In any event, the solution for the Rangers FC is quite clear. If they had any problems with him, they could object to his appointment.

The fact of the announcement by the SPL suggests that the identities of the Commission have already been made known to Mr Green and no complaint has been made. It would be a very silly move to make the details of the Commission public prior to notifying Rangers, because then any objection to the Commission membership would be public, which would itself potentially compromise the fairness of the proceedings.

It is clear that fans of the Rangers FC, encouraged by comments from Mr Green, believe that the SPL and SFA are implacably opposed to them, and that anything connected to these bodies cannot be “independent”. However, calls for the Commission to come from outside the UK seem over the score – where next – Mars or Venus?

The Charges

What is the Commission deciding on?

It will determine whether during the period from 2000 until 2011 in relation to alleged EBT payments and arrangements for players, Rangers was in breach of the relevant SPL Rules.

This statement attempts to make clear that the issue is not the simple use of EBTs per se. Instead it is how these admitted arrangements were carried out within, or without, the framework of the SPL rules relevant at the particular times for registration and payment of players.

Because the issues are not the same as those within the First Tier Tax Tribunal, there is no need for the Commission to await a decision from that body.

The Commission will be deciding what the payments represented – were they payments for footballing activities. Is it the case that there was additional documentation forming part of the players’ contracts of employment which were not disclosed?

For clarity payments to non-players is irrelevant to the SPL inquiry. It is only payments to players which fall under the SPL’s jurisdiction.

If Found Guilty, What Penalties Can be imposed?

As the statement makes clear, in the event of a “conviction” the Commission will decide on the penalty to be imposed.

As detailed in the SPL Rules, the available penalties are as follows:-

G6.1 Upon determining that a breach of or failure to fulfil the Rules has been established, the Board or, as the case may be, a Commission may:-

G6.1.1 give a warning as to future conduct;

G6.1.2 give a reprimand;

G6.1.3 impose a fine;

G6.1.4 annul the result of an Official Match;

G6.1.5 order that an Official Match be replayed;

G6.1.6 impose a deduction of points;

G6.1.7 award an Official Match (with such deemed score as it thinks appropriate) to a Club;

G6.1.8 order the playing of an Official Match or Matches behind closed doors;

G6.1.9 order the closure of all or part of a Stadium for such period and for such purposes as it thinks appropriate;

G6.1.10 order the playing of an Official Match or Matches at such Stadium as it thinks appropriate;

G6.1.11 subject to Rule G6.3, order that a Club be expelled from the League;

G6.1.12 withdraw or withhold the award of a title or award;

G6.1.13 order any Club, Club Official or Player to pay compensation to any Club, Player, person or party;

G6.1.14 order any Club, Club Official or Player to comply with any obligation or direction;

G6.1.15 cancel or refuse the Registration of any Player Registered or attempted to be Registered;

G6.1.16 order that a Club concerned be debarred from Registering Players for such period as it thinks appropriate;

G6.1.17 order that any person, persons or group of persons be prohibited from attending at such Official Match or Matches and for such period as it thinks appropriate;

G6.1.18 make such other direction, sanction or disposal, not expressly provided for in these Rules, as it shall think appropriate; and/or

G6.1.19 make such order as to expenses, including the expenses of the Board and/or, as the case may be, Commission and/or other party, as it thinks appropriate.

Rule G6.2 allows the Commission to “apply such number and combination of the directions, sanctions and/or disposals provide for in Rule G.1 as it thinks appropriate”.

As the SPL does not lay down specific penalties for each offence, as long as the Commission imposes a penalty within the 19 categories above, the last being the catch-all clause, then it would not be ultra vires.

 What About An Appeal?

G8 Any Club or person who or which is the subject of an adverse determination by the Board or a Commission may, unless the Rules expressly state otherwise and provided the SFA Articles provide for a right of appeal to the SFA, appeal against such determination in accordance with the SFA Articles.

G9 The procedures for lodging an appeal with the SFA and the powers of the SFA in relation to such appeals shall be as set out in the SFA Articles.

G10 Where a right of appeal is validly exercised to the SFA the Board or, as the case may be, a Commission, shall provide the appellant and the SFA with written reasons for the decision appealed against.

The rules seems to suggest that, whilst Rangers could appeal against a conviction, the SPL could not appeal an acquittal.

When Will This Take Place?

It is being suggested that these proceedings might not commence until October. There will be discussions ongoing just now between the SPL ad Rangers FC’s lawyers about the procedures to be followed. Will the case require evidence from witnesses, either in person or by way of statements?

Will the case be determined by legal submissions about the nature of payments and documents, or are there factual matters to determine?

Do Rangers FC admit that oldco made all of the alleged payments to players, whilst denting that they were payment for football activities?

Will the trustees of the various trusts and sub-trusts attend to explain how the operation of the EBTs was all above board?

Will Sir David Murray appear in an effort to clear hi name, or will his Press Association statement, as I commented on here be his contribution?

These, and many more questions, remain to be answered!

Posted by Paul McConville

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25 Comments

Filed under Charles Green, Football, Football Governance, Rangers, SFA, SPL, Uncategorized

25 responses to “The SPL Commission re the Rangers FC – Is It Truly Independent?

  1. Outstanding clarity and quality of writing. Thank you

  2. Joseph

    Wow! I’m gobsmacked. You just can’t get any clearer that this. Well done Paul. Has Mr Murdoch not been in contact to sign you up as one of his top writers?

    • mick

      @joseph they dont have to give him a contract they just log on and copy his articles pauls blog is a terms of referance for msm they nick storys from here all the time lol

      • Joseph

        Nice one Mick. But that would be plagiarism, and, come to think of it, the NUJ would fine the culprits! If they were members, that nicked the story!

  3. mick

    fantastic morning read Paul ,the panel look well able for the task in hand and seem to me to have lots of sport law experiance ,It would not matter who the panel were the deluded would always point to timmery anything that goes wrong is timmy trying to get at them ,when some1 is deluded parinoia seeps in and leads to schizophrenia a blame msm for not telling it like it is .Also it will be good to get it over and done with and move on to other topics in life the whole country is gripped by it all but on some fanzine sites fans are beginning to get fed up with it and are saying they should be expelled and thats that a feel this to .When the case starts and if people have to face the panel its going to be a circus with the msm ,jim traynor (jabba) from the daily sevcord will be breaking storys (nimmos a jesuit ) .The report am wanting the most out is scotlands real bhoys in blue the police so we can see if there is charges for the bigwigs that created this mess murray and whyte and the pen pushers behind the sceans,And last but not least ogilvie is well out the door now when the panel conclude there findings .

  4. Faultless piece Paul, also heading them all off at the pass, so to speak. Thanks, yet again.

    As with Mick, I’m very interested to know how the polis investigation is coming along. But as for Mr Ogilvie, I still do not understand, with all the investigations and inquiries, and just plain arguments, going on, why he hasn’t just stepped down out of principle? Haven’t seen his name mentioned in any conflict of interest arguments from certain SevGers fans. Funny that.

  5. Jacko

    I read somewhere that everyone is only seven levels removed from every other person on the planet. Meaning I know Bob and Bob knows Tam. So I am one step removed from Bob and two from Tam assuming I don’t directly know Tam. I am then three steps removed from Tam’s aquaintances some of whom may very well come from wide and varied locations in the world. So I could then be three steps removed from someone anywhere in the world etc etc. And seemingly if we proceed 7 times mathematically this can be shown to encompass the world’s population. I stand to be corrected on the exact detail of this but the fact stands that you don’t need to go too far from someone you know to find someone who knows someone who knows the whoever. Which can make it less remarkable when you bump into someone in say, the Aussie Outback, that knows someone who knows someone who knows your next door neighbour. It’s all in the statistics.

    Where is this going I hear you say.

    Well imagine the difficulty for the SPL in appointing someone who cannot then be found to have some vague association with someone somewhere in the world that can be shown to have a dodgy name, has sat beside someone that doesn’t like rangers or, heaven forbid, is actually a ,shhhhh, Catholic.

    These conspiracies of connections deem it IMPOSSIBLE to appoint anyone that cannot be found to have a vague connection to someone. No matter who is appointed some budding Columbo or Sherlock in FF or RM will dredge up some vague connection that makes them unsuitable for fear of having some possible semblance of anti-rangers leanings.

    In fact had they appointed Watty Smith, Super Sally and chaired the panel with Donald Findlay I could, I’m sure, come up with an unsuitable connection. In fact Watty would be unsuitable because I once met him in a restaurant and I once had a word with Super Sally in a pub ( and he fell for the comments hook, line and sinker but that’s another story).

    I would love to have a poll on these websites to find out thier list, in order of preference, of people who should sit on this panel. That would provide an interesting read.

    Jacko.

    • Jacko, by the looks of the impressive CVs of those on the panel, I don’t think anyone anywhere in the world could come up with a better qualified trio. Any objections after this would surely take us into the realms of moral philosophy and the basis of the rule of law in a civilised society. (go on guys, I’d love to read you try it…)

  6. Richboy

    Paul, another great read. I am not holding out any hope that justice will be done as we seen how The Rangers tried to wriggle out of their last “punishment”.

    I suppose it is naive of me to have expected some murmurings from BDO, they seem to be operating totally under the radar. In your opinion is this a good or a bad thing. I think their findings will be a lot more damaging to The Rangers than those of the latest Tribunal.

  7. Peter

    Excellent piece Paul – it really is that simple isn’t it – so why October ?

    Sounds like we could have this wrapped up by teatime. These are the registered contracts, these are the side letters, these are the rules, these are the affected players, these are the affected games. Now, which punishment is appropriate and palatable? Oh hang-on – that last bit could get tricky.

    If CW’s non-payment of tax over a few months was akin to match fixing then this is akin to Ponsi, Madoff and Stanford rolled into one.

    Logic would suggest ruling all affected games null-and-void and re-calculating the leagues accordingly. Likewise, affected cup wins would be awarded to beaten finalists.

    But that would label a decade of Scottish football as utterly corrupt and unspeakably foolish.

    It would seem that the task of the great and the good is not to simply decide the legal facts but to contrive a proportionate punishment that does not cause a global media storm that leaves Scotland’s reputation somewhere below Nigeria in the third division of the world integrity league.

    Good luck gentlemen !

  8. Pensionerbhoy

    Paul, I have to congratulate you for producing unequivocal clarity on every aspect in your article. In the big wide public media world, we are continuously expected to wallow in the murky waters of media commentaries and presentations stirred to the consistency of planned agendas. Anyone not now understanding the whos, the whys and the wherefores of the commission, must be a member of the MSM. We ordinary lay folk can see it as clearly as the pure waters of the Western Highland coasts on a brilliant sunny day. Thank you.

  9. charliedon

    Paul, Mr Flint’s involvement in the Anti-Doping Panel has given some Rangers fans cause for concern. Maybe they mis-read it as “Anti-Dope Panel”. Now that should concern them.

    • Glazert Tim

      I think he may be deemed ineligible by the loony fringe.

      He once looked at buying a house from someone whos brother once walked his neighbours dog past a house where a wee boy accidentally creased the foil Rangers Crest sticker in his Panini album.

      Cut and dried case of a hidden agenda …….no?

      If, and I say if, (to avoid any accusation of pre judgement) they are found ‘guilty’ there should be no argument on the judgements worth.

      If they are found ‘innocent’, as unlikely as that might seem, what will we all have to write about?

      Paul, should this sorry debacle come to its final conclusion, irrespective of outcome, you may consider setting up a councelling line as they did when Robbie Williams left Take That.

      Keep up the good work. The simplicity of explanation here is superb. Perhaps you might consider rewriting the SPL and SFA guidance too. Clearly the way it is written now is far too open to interpretation. The rule says something but in reality it means something else. It must be this, surely it wouldn’t be subject to jiggery pokery??

  10. Keith mca

    Stewart, a relation of rod, a well known Celtic fan , no way will it be a fair hearing

  11. mick

    ebts receviers can sing this to murry and the panel lol

  12. David C MacKenzie

    Would the fact that Nicholas Stewart QC did two series of “No Further Questions” on the BBC in the 1990s mean that he is tainted by association?

    http://epguides.com/NoFurtherQuestions/

    For Paul, one of which he discusses, here.
    http://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/on-a-irwaves-039no-further-questions039-author039s-current-radio-series-which-assesses-some-fam

    How old was Mark Daly at that time? ;-)

  13. Martin

    Great post Paul.

    the commission will decide if Rangers breached SPL rules, that is the limit.

    They can’t determine what is fair.

    In football money wins, money buys the strongest team and with a few notable upsets conceded, gets the silverware and the glory.

    How many gifted young players have been lured away to bigger teams with the promise of riches? Is this fair? is it sporting?

    The logic would seem to be that if a club has the money then that’s fine, they somehow deserve the glory, and who could question the right of a young man taking advantage of his skills in an open market to better himself. Not me.

    Sport and money don’t mix easily. Do Chelsea fans really stop to think where all that money comes from? Manchester United spent many years at the top of English football during a period when they could spend more money than any of their rivals, but their fans still regard their team as sporting champions.

    Manchester City have raised the money bar even further. Is this sport?

    The commission will determine if undisclosed contracts were used in breach of SPL rules.

    The wider issue of of buying football success with ‘good money’ will remain unresolved.

  14. Hammersmith

    You state that only players fall under the SPL’s jurisdiction. But what about potential corruption and bribery? One of the unusual EBT cases was Souness receiving money long after he left the club, coincidentally around the time the clubs he was managing paid significant transfer fees to Rangers.

    Or does that fall under the SFA’s (or even the FA’s) jurisdiction?

  15. richard2212

    Methinks Paul protests too much. It is perfectly clear to me that the whole EBT business is a conspiracy by Celtic, aided and abetted by Scotland’s powerful Papish mafia, to steal 5 of Rangers honestly-won league titles so that they will have 48 titles to their 49, It will be 49 each by the end of this season and 50 – 49 in favour of Celtic by the time that the Commonwealth Games comes around. That will then allow Celtic to claim that the opening ceremony is taking place at the home of Scotland’s most successful football team. Mark my words. That is what it is all about.

  16. Night Terror

    Hi Paul.
    Chris Graham on The Rangers Standard was kind enough to bring your post on this subject to my attention and I have found it very perceptive reading as far as it goes.

    However, I fear you have failed to see the full implications of the perception of bias that Rangers fans are experiencing when they consider the commission members.

    I must confess I have had a very stimulating and, I hope, constructive debate on the Rangers Standard with some very articulate and intelligent Rangers fans, Mr Graham most recently amongst them.

    Anyway, in the hope that it pleases you and adds something to your analysis, I present my latest efforts which The Rangers Standard have so generously allowed to be posted:

    Thanks for your reply Chris – on further reflection I see you have raised some very significant points.

    Chris Graham wrote:

    Do you not find it somewhat unfortunate that within 10 minutes of the SPL announcing the tribunal there were clear links from Nimmo Smith to previous, possibly prejudicial court cases involving Rangers

    I’m not aware of such a court case – could you direct me to it and the nature of Nimmo Smith’s involvement in the case? I’m sure you can’t be referring to the sanction Lord Carloway et al produced on behalf of the SFA which was successfully appealed before Lord Glennie by whoever was in charge of Rangers at the time.

    Chris Graham wrote:

    I also note that one of the QCs – Charles Flint – sits on a UEFA panel with Brain Quinn of Celtic.

    Again, could you please direct me to the panel on which Flint and Quinn both sit? I could not find evidence of one.

    Quinn & Flint are both involved with the UEFA Club Financial Control Body but are on quite separate chambers within that body, with Quinn in the Investigatory and Flint in the Adjudicatory chamber. Indeed, it would seem that the investigative and adjudicatory chambers are quite intentionally separated so that the latter (including Flint) can adjudicate on the work of the former (including Quinn) without prejudice or undue influence between the two. In that case, for any anti-Rangers bias to be transmitted from Quinn to Flint through anti-Rangers ear-bending they would have to do this in their spare time or perhaps when separate meetings coincide that both men are in the same building at the same time. If this is the source of the perception of bias, I would be less concerned about Flint as every other person who has ever shared a building or a company with Brian Quinn. I know little of Quinn’s employment history, but do hope for Rangers’ sake that he has spent most of his working life employed by Celtic and has not had a variety of interesting and influential jobs elsewhere, potentially spreading anti-Rangers bias to everyone he meets.

    Now, let me address your other concerns regarding any perception of conflict arising from Flint & Rod McKenzie of Harper MacLeod (the law firm tasked with gathering evidence of Rangers’ dual contract & EBT arrangements for the SFA) both sitting on the same panel.

    Rod McKenzie does indeed sit on the same Legal National Anti Doping Panel body and if, as you say, the presence of McKenzie on such a panel compromises Flint’s impartiality, this is a much more serious problem than the SFA might face in reselecting an alternative for Flint. McKenzie’s presence on that NADP panel effectively compromises the entire panel and should Rangers ever have the misfortune of finding themselves involved with the NADP they would be unable to find anyone on the legal panel that does not suffer from a perception of bias against Rangers. This could be a very serious problem indeed, effectively preventing Rangers from getting a fair hearing in matters of doping and I am sure nobody wants that.

    The obvious solution is that Rod McKenzie must resign from the NADP Legal panel, as must every other NADP legal panel member who has come into contact with him, as they are already perceptibly infected by anti-Rangers bias. I forget why exactly Rod McKenzie is so infectiously anti-Rangers that any contact with him renders his victims unable to be perceived as being able to come to a fair opinion on Rangers, but I take your word for it that this is so.

    Indeed, the same logic would apply to any panel or chamber Brian Quinn sits on – every member would have to resign in case any future appearance by Rangers revealed a perception of bias amongst all members due to their sharing a table with Brian Quinn. This would be most unfortunate as the UEFA Club Financial Control Body deals with financial fair play and club licensing issues, and Rangers have had their problems in this area and may at some point in the future need to deal with this very body.

    Chris Graham wrote:

    I have no idea if they will conduct the hearing properly but I hope you are not trying to tell me that QCs are infallible? That would clearly be absurd. They are no more above reproach than anyone when it comes to the potential for certain pre conceived notions or outright bias. Rod McKenzie has made his feelings on the subject of Rangers quite clear in meetings with the club. If you are telling me that it is not personal for him I’d call you mistaken because I know better. So, if he has been sitting bending Charles Flint’s ear about Rangers then I don’t think Flint should be involved. Likewise if Quinn has done the same (and we know Celtic are not shy about using their political power however they can) then I don’t think Flint should be involved. There is no way, given the association, that anyone can say there is not a chance that has happened. Assuming the SPL properly vetted their appointments and didn’t just act on a recommendation from their lawyer (McKenzie) then why did they not identify the links and pick someone else?

    I’ll say it again. Not only should they have no bias, they should be seen to have no bias. That is clearly not the case. Why not pick three people with no links to Rangers or Celtic? It’s not that hard.

    Why stop at links to Celtic or Rangers? I think you have unearthed a fundamental problem that would prevent almost any club from receiving a fair hearing at either of the two bodies you have highlighted Charles Flint QC sitting on. If any of the people on those bodies have had any association with any club who have any rivals, a complete perception of bias would prevent fans of any of those clubs from accepting any ruling they may arrive at.

    This is very serious and I hope you forward your concerns to UEFA and Sport Resolutions so that they remove all affected post holders and take much greater care in their appointments in future.

    I dearly hope I have not made a mess of the blockquotes in republishing it here.

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  18. Jaima

    Celtic FC set up an EBT scheme in April 2005 for Juninho Paulista worth £ 700,000 and the the club did “NOT” declare the EBT to the. SPL or SFA,
    It matters not how many EBT`s but the fact that EBT`S were used by both clubs but Celtic were cleared and have no case to answer on their use of EBT(s) by the SPL and Rangers do have a case to answer?
    Rangers accounts were provided/declared each year to the SPL and SFA yet they are still being hounded for their use of them, now some may say they did not pay tax on the EBT`s but that is a case for (or not) HMRC and has absolutely nothing to do with the SFA, SPL or any panel whatsoever.
    Another point to be noted is the SPL legal representative Harper McLoed also represent Celtic FC and individually Celtic chief exec Lawell is that not a case of conflict of interest?
    point two, Are the players of that era for Ranger FC cheats? did they cheat on the pitch? was there any match fixing? NO, NO and NO!
    Which football club stand to gain the most from ALL the title loses if found guilty? answer Celtic FC

  19. witch-hunter

    Re
    “If they are found ‘innocent’, as unlikely as that might seem”
    Where is the bias here, none here, wtf are talking about, we`re celtic fans and impartial, what a load of crap! Rangers were found not guilty over the use of EBT`s, Harper Mcleod represent celtic, Peter liewell and spl are known to be die hard celts (facts) stated Rangers have a case to answer but celtic dont have to answer over thier use of EBT, it matters not if it is 1 EBT or 100 EBT`s.
    Double standards and two faced sanctimonious Rangers haters, bigotry lives on here!

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