The SFA Disciplinary Case Against Mr Green, Or Was it?

In which I offer a few thoughts on press coverage of the SFA disciplinary process involving Mr Green and Mr McCoist, some fine work of spinning by Rangers FC’s own media people regarding the same matter, and the possibility that Mr Green’s comments about the decision could themselves have been a breach of the rules!

Spot the common theme in the following extracts from reports about the SFA disciplinary hearing on Thursday:-

The Press Association

Chief executive Charles Green escaped with a censure for comments he made in the media claiming “bigotry” was one of the reasons his newco club were denied entry to the SPL.

From the BBC

Ibrox chief executive Charles Green was censured for claiming bigotry was among the motives for punishing the club.

From the Daily Record

Chief executive Charles Green escaped with a censure for comments he made in the media claiming “bigotry” was one of the reasons his newco club were denied entry to the SPL.

From STV

Rangers chief executive Charles Green escaped with a censure for comments he made in the media claiming “bigotry” was one of the reasons his newco club were denied entry to the SPL.

From the Daily Mail

Chief executive Charles Green escaped with a censure for comments he made in the media claiming ‘bigotry’ was one of the reasons his newco club were denied entry to the SPL.

From the Express

The Ibrox club were also censured by the judicial panel after chief executive Charles Green claimed bigotry was the driving force behind many of the decisions being taken by Scottish football’s powers-that-be on issues related to Rangers.

From the official Rangers website

RANGERS have today reacted to the SFA’s fast track tribunal decisions on manager Ally McCoist and Chief Executive Charles Green.

McCoist has been given a three-match touchline ban, suspended for one year, while Green has been censured for comments made to the media.


Apart from the fact that the Sportsmail Reporter who wrote the piece in the Mail seems to have used exactly the same words as the PA report (and of course that is what the Mail has reproduced) all the sources, apart from the Express, point out that Mr Green was censured.

Why, you might ask, did the Express get it wrong?

I must confess that in all the coverage of the matter up till now, I had not read what the SFA had to say, and the note on their website of the outcome. I too thought that the censure was of Mr Green.

The SFA decision can be seen here.

As far as Mr Green’s case goes, the relevant section of the judgement regarding his censure reads as follows:-

No. That is not a mistake. There is nothing about a case against Mr Green, because there was no case against him!

Instead there was a case against Rangers FC as detailed below.

A Fast Track Tribunal convened today in accordance with the Judicial Panel Protocol to consider the following cases:

Alleged Party in Breach: Rangers FC

Date: Sunday, 29th July 2012

Disciplinary Rule(s) allegedly breached:

Disciplinary Rule 2

(By failing to procure that one of Rangers FC’s officials, namely Charles Green, Chief Executive, acted in accordance with Disciplinary Rule 1 by (b) failing to comply with Articles 94.1 and 96.7 of the Scottish FA Articles of Association insofar as the said Charles Green brought the game into disrepute and did not act in the best interests of football and by (f) not behaving towards other members with the utmost good faith, all by making comments in a media interview which suggested that decisions taken concerning the future of Rangers FC were motivated, in part, by bigotry).

Outcome: The Judicial Panel found that the complaint against Rangers FC (in respect of Charles Green’s comments) was upheld and a censure was issued.

Rule 1: All member clubs shall:

(a)   observe the principles of loyalty, integrity and sportsmanship in accordance with the rules of fair play;

(b)   be subject to and comply with the Articles and any statutes, regulations, directives, codes, decisions and International Match Calendar promulgated by the Board, the Professional Game Board, the Non-Professional Game Board, the Judicial Panel Protocol, a Committee or sub-committee, FIFA, UEFA or the Court of Arbitration for Sport;

(c)    recognise and submit to the jurisdiction of the Court of Arbitration for Sport as specified in the relevant provisions of the FIFA Statutes and the UEFA Statutes;

(d)   respect of the Laws of the Game;

(e)    refrain from engaging in any activity, practice or conduct which would constitute an offence under sections 1, 2 or 6 of the Bribery Act 2010; and

(f)     behave towards the Scottish FA and other members with the utmost good faith.

Rule 2: Each member shall procure that its officials, its Team Officials and its players act in accordance with Rule 1.

So the censure was given to Rangers FC and not to Mr Green.

Why would everyone, except the Express, report the outcome wrongly, when it was there on the SFA website?

First of all, as PA said it was the decision, then papers would treat that as gospel, rather than check it themselves. As we see above, the Mail did not go to the bother of altering the PA text!

However, this is a fundamental mistake, and at best sloppy on the part of the papers concerned. I accept that fewer and fewer journalists are under pressure from their newspapers to fill more and more space, thus restricting the time available for checking and research, but the outcome was posted by the SFA and I assume would have been subject of a press release by them.

Now I do not suggest that this is an example of “succulent lamb” journalism, and some of the pieces do record later on in their text that it was Rangers FC which was censured, but why do they all, apart from the Express, make the mistake of saying that Mr Green was censured?

Secondly, why did the Rangers website get it wrong?

This is unlikely to have been an error of the same type as that of the newspapers. After all, Rangers FC knew what the case was. They had the papers and indeed were present and represented at the hearing.

Was this an attempt by Mr Green to stand side by side with Mr McCoist? An attempt to show that he too had been dragged to Hampden by the authorities to answer for exercising the right to free speech?

Did it make him appear in a better light to his team’s supporters to have him seen as the party censured rather than the club?

I may well be wrong, but that strikes me as the mist likely explanation, a deliberate exercise of spin on the part of Mr Green.

Sticking with him for now, you will note his reaction to the decision:-

Green commented: “The decision of the judicial panel was disappointing as they accepted there was no intention on my part to bring the game into disrepute and this is reflected in the sanction imposed.

“I explained to the SFA previously and have said publicly what I meant by my remarks and it is time to move on.”

Now the “charge” against Rangers FC in relation to his words expressly includes the element of bringing the game into disrepute. That charge was upheld.

Is Mr Green suggesting that in fact the Judicial Panel decided that he brought the game into disrepute by accident? His statement that the Panel “accepted there was no intention … to bring the game into disrepute” implies that this is the case.

In criminal law, and by analogy in relation to offences against the regulations of business and sport, there normally requires to be two elements present before guilt is found. The first is the actus reus, or guilty act and the second the mens rea, or guilty mind. Unless specified that there is strict liability, where the actus reus is enough to constitute guilt, there needs to be both elements present for a conviction.

If, as Mr Green suggests, the Panel found that there was no intention on his part to bring the game into disrepute, why did it find Rangers guilty of failing to prevent him doing so?

Maybe Mr Green himself misunderstood the outcome and nature of the proceedings. After all, one would not expect a party to a case to leave it and announce publicly a version of the decision which deliberately was different from what had in fact been decided. That would, one imagines, constitute a breach of the utmost good faith rule, and result in further proceedings!

Somehow though I suspect that the SFA Compliance Officer will be happy that the matter is at an end and that neither Rangers FC nor Mr McCoist appears ready to appeal. I do not expect the SFA to issue a further summons to Mr Green’s Rangers FC in connection with his post-hearing comments.

Posted by Paul McConville



Filed under Charles Green, Football, Football Governance, Press, Rangers, SFA

41 responses to “The SFA Disciplinary Case Against Mr Green, Or Was it?

  1. carl31

    Groan.has since implied that he was, along with McC occupied by this case at the SFA and that time consuming encounter played a part in the lack of signings at Ibrox.
    Did he even have to be there? Could another club official have attended?

    • Robert


      In answer to your questions “Did he even have to be there? Could another club official have attended?” The answer is no he could have been represented.

      However, would this have been a wise approach? I think not.

      As the Judicial Panel had to decide if the club had breached the rules, as a result of what he had said, and if they decided that he was guilty, then determine what the punishment should be, I do not believe they could have addresed all adequately without him being there to explain what he meant by what he said.

  2. John Burns

    Related to he above Paul – just seen Platini’s recent interview – here are the salient points:

    We wanted to revolutionise European football when we first introduced this idea,” said the president. “we are never going back on this.”

    • There is, UEFA insists, a uniform desire for FFP to work – in terms of ensuring teams meet their existing debts….RANGERS AND SEVCO BEWARE

    • The sanctions will range from warnings, reprimands and fines; to the deduction of points, disqualification or exclusion from competitions and withdrawal of titles…..LET’S GET CRACKING WITH THE DEFUNCT AND DISGRACED RANGERS BRAND.

    • The other element of FFP, the overdue payments rule where commitments have not been met to players or other clubs for transfers, has been running since last year. The Hungarian club Gyori, AEK Athens and Besiktas are already banned from European competition. Disciplinary procedures are under way against another 27 clubs, who are in the process of being informed…… SEVCO BEWARE!!

    • There was a criticism of national associations who allow such mismanagement to occur in their leagues – “Sometimes the associations don’t do their work and we have to come after [them]” – though the threat of punishment…… SFA WATCH OUT AND ‘TOE THE LINE’ WITH SEVCO!!!!

  3. Gobsmacked

    Given the volatility of Mr Green and Mr McCoist they are likely to be visiting Hampden in the near future. They will almost certainly with the EBT / double contracts matter. It is always ill advised to thumb your nose at the people who could have punished you and chose instead to slap you on the wrist. I don’t have any problem with the decisions but showing some gratitude for the SFA’s leniency would have been an investment for future dealings with authority. Mr Green has obviously decided that the “Siege Mentality” is the way to keep the fans on side and interested in a mediocre product.

    • Allyjambo Taxpayer

      I think, that once the seeds of ‘getting away with it, no matter what’ are sown, people like Green just can’t help themselves, and, with this rather obvious lack of will to bring this new club in line, will continue to give two fingers to authority so long as it appeals to their customer base. (Base being quite a good description of the bulk of their customers 😉 )

      I am more than a little bemused at the acceptance of the lack of intent by Green when he used the word ‘bigotry’. The man had a very ready excuse when he described the root of the word from French as described in his dictionary. In other words, he’d checked it out, most likely (it was a very quick resonse) beforehand. I very much doubt, too, that anyone who has spent five minutes within the walls of Ibrox could have any doubt about the effect the word could have when used in Scotland, particularly with regard to Rangers.

      • Well said Jambo TP – dangerous precedent (as much as that applies to Scots Law – Paul?) too – civil authorities should at least ‘take a view’ (go on Fat Boy Salmond, here’s yer chance – this has got to be a good ‘father of the nation’ moment. No? Thought not)..

        I do think chancers like Green only make sense in old B&W films like Destry Rides Again or The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (in the Lee Marvin role, obviously).

      • iain

        I was under the impression he gave his French definition as explanation several days later
        Is that not the case?

  4. josephmcgrath112001809

    It seems a sensible move for Mr. Green to put out the story that he was censured for defending the club rather than have the real story that he caused the club to be censured. The fans would be unhappy with the true story but could could back Mr. Green for his ‘loyalty’.

  5. ecojon

    I am amazed that Coisty walked on the charge of acting against the best interests of the Association by demanding that Tribunal members be named and shamed. It was on a TV interview FFS – bizarre!

    As to Green I think he has actually made the transformation or should it be transmogrification because he – in his own mind and fuelled by the same common idea in the collective mind of the Ibrox support – has become RANGERS. He is their Dear Leader and they will pay a helluva dear price just a short way down the road.

  6. Leonard

    To be pedantic as far as mens rea is concerned, it is not always constituted by intention but may, for example, be constituted by recklessness although I don’t suppose this was part of the discussion on Thursday.

  7. Allyjambo Taxpayer

    I wonder if Vladimir Romanov, or Neil Lennon, or anyone else for that matter, ever sat down and thought,’I think I’ll bring the game into disrepute today’, before issuing some of their, later to be heavily sanctioned, statements. In otherwords, I doubt anyone would ever issue a statement with the ‘intention’ of bringing the game into disrepute. They might deliberately use harsh or ill thought out words to get their point or feelings across, but I doubt many/any will ever have actually intended to bring the game into disrepute. If this extreme leniency towards Sevco continues, then one day quite soon, there will be a queue outside Stewart Regan’s door of chairmen and managers justifiably demanding refunds requesting to be censured retrospectively instead.

  8. charlie o hare

    I just clicked on your link, it took me to the SFA’s official statement , it points to this “Rangers FC”
    ….is GREEN not in charge of a club called THE Rangers FC, why would the SFA just call them Rangers FC on any official charge sheet ?

    • TheBlackKnight TBK

      Not only that, but if this is ‘continuity RFC’, with the approval of the SFA, is this not a further breach of the disciplinary rules by the apparently ‘same’club ?

      I’m must be confused, I was sure they were a NEWCLUB?

  9. JimBhoy

    What exactly does an SFA censure mean? That the SFA strongly disapprove with what was said by the rangers’ representatives? If it happens again with they (SFA) issue a stronger censure? How about a £500k bond with the SFA that will be returned to The rangers fc IF they keep their nose clean this season. If there is another misdemeanour they lose it and that money is given to the liquidators of the old Rangers.

  10. Brian Jeffrey

    Two separate issues here for me… Firstly I think the press coverage represents the Ibrox Media Office once again taking full advantage of the poor quality “churnalism” we have all come to expect in that the MSM, by and large, simply churn out whatever press releases eminate from Ibrox without any meaningful scrutiny affording Rangers the opportunity to spin the news to whatever effect best suits their purpose.
    Secondly, I would respectfully suggest that it is entirely possible that the guilty verdict is consistent with an unintentional bringing of the game into disrepute by Green. It is significant that it was Rangers who were charged and found guilty and not Green. The charge alleged that Rangers as a club failed to prevent Green from behaving as he did. Rangers, as a club, ought to have properly briefed any official whom they put up as a spokesperson for media interviews as to the nature of the language that would be acceptable and appropriate in the prevailing circumstances and the potential consequences of the use of inappropriate language. Whilst Green may have been able to present an “I am new to this and didn’t understand how such language might be perceived as offensive or inappropriate” defence, Rangers, as club could not as they have been at the centre of such matters for many many years.

    • ecojon

      @Brian Jeffrey

      I think an ‘ignorance’ argument falls down in a number of areas. For a start Green said he used the word ‘bigotry’ in a non-Scottish term but in a French context which didn’t mean religious bigotry. So he knew exactly what it meant here – it is the same meaning throughout the English-speaking world btw.

      Before he had even left the ground to start his journey home the ‘Old French’ excuse was already being touted on Rangers fan sites and I can’t prove it but I strongly suspect his blunder was immediately recognised by his PR team and they went to work immediately to defuse the damage through confusion. I have to say it is actually the first time I have seen rangers supporters discussing the etymology of 10th Century French words LMFAO.

      This is the guy who described, out of his own mouth, that he was on the run having to move from safe house to safe house in fear of his life. So did no one round about him tell him anything about the background to the Old Firm in bigotry terms.

      As No 3 in his list of priorities in his share marketing presentation he aimed to have the Old Firm become the biggest rivalry in sport. Did he never ask and did no one explain the history involved in this rivalry.

      Green also has a long experience in football not just at Sheffield but as a football agent. Did he never know what it was all about.

      He also says he attended some Rangers games in the past – didn’t say who the opponents were but it’s a fair possibility it could have been Celtic.

      So all in all he knew exactly what he was saying and the SFA know that as well. He’s had his warning I have no doubt about that and I think he will be much more careful with his share flotation in the offing.

      • Brian Jeffrey

        I dont disagree with a single word you say. I accept entirely that he knew exactly what he was doing and that it was a deliberate act designed to support his strategy of playing to a particular constituency. By charging the club however the SFA denied Green the opportunity of presenting what would have been an entirely dishonest and contrived defence. The club did not bhave the same scope to contrive a defence.

      • ecojon

        @Brian Jeffrey

        Perhaps the SFA always lay charges against the club on the basis that they are ultimately responsible for all employees and officials and if they levy a fine and the individual refuses to pay it then there might be a problem whereas if the club doesn’t cough-up there are other sanctions which can be brought to bear – well at least in theory.

        But I haven’t taken a microscope to their rule book so I could be talking rubbish 🙂

  11. Paul, isn’t the whole naming club/individual censure thing (sorry, don’t have the legal patter) just normal practice? Is it not that everyone who is called before the SFA in such cases, charged under the club name rather than the individual – and the media is just cutting through the legalese to make it more of a story (as is their wont)?

    To tell the truth I can’t see the importance of the difference in how the charges are announced etc – but I am pretty sure the outcome/verdict is a ridiculous cop-out by the SFA.

  12. iain

    This whole piece is an example of letting an obsession get the better of you.
    Every single story just must have an angle eh?

    Oh and I suppose it’s also a perfect example of feeling that you have to produce something….anything….to keep your audience happy….whether there is anything to report or not.

    • carl31

      the piece is not an example of this, but IMO your comment is.

    • Mick

      iain the whole country is sick of your kind and comments the sfa and sevco are tarred with the same brush your posts make you creepy creeping about deluded highlighting we have a agenda when it’s not to sevcos likening yous are sick and sinister bully’s and beasts simple as that .going about killing free speech is wrong also abet you were first to call the sun about Phil book people like me have had enogh of it am universal world wide your a backwards cult stuck on a rock

    • On one level I have to agree with Iain – the fact that the SFA didn’t apply their own rules fairly yet again is becoming less and less noteworthy. What is interesting to me is why these failures always seem to benefit the one team, the one team that caused all these problems…

      • iain

        Didn’t apply their rules? Really….can you outline your case for saying that?

        Always favours one team? Wasn’t Lennon on a suspended sentence when he went before the SFA at the end of last season? What happened there?
        Rules? Where in the rules is there a tarrif of a half game touchline ban after being found guilty?
        Failures? Like when someone on a charge of alledging cheating via twitter states, “aye it was my account but might not have been me”

        I can understand you forgetting/ignoring these examples. They weren’t after all judged interesting enough for a few “random thoughts”

      • iain

        And I suppose Green (or Rangers) being on a charge whilst Huttons allegations of corruption are forgotten is more evidence?

      • ParmaHamster

        Turnbull Hutton told the truth. Scottish football was lied to, cheated on, and disassembled by Ogilvie via his minions R&D.
        End of story, trollboy.

        Oh and while you’re here (off-topic I admit but hey ho), care to muse on the probability (not POSSIBILITY) of a giant-killing act in the next round of the League Cup at the Sevcodome?

      • iain

        Hutton accused the SPL/SFA of corruption.
        Not a word was said.
        You believe he was telling the truth.
        As it happens I believe Green was telling the truth..hey ho

      • You and I know there isn’t enough space on the internet to write the benefits Rangers have had historically, but the most recent example is the allowing of the late registration of Templeton’s move to Rangers after the transfer window slammed shut”. This also means that Templeton was registered on 1st September, when the SFA had said they were only allowed to sign players up to the 31st August. Can you give me your opinion whether this should have been allowed?

    • ecojon


      “Whether there is anything to report or not” – Well plenty of the MSM media reported the findings as did the Rangers FC official site and numerous Darkside posters.

      So let’s stop playing the idiot. If you bothered to read Paul’s piece in detail you would see that the coverage by MSM and the statements made by Coisty and Green raise a number of legitimate issues.

      If you don’t accept that and discuss it in a balanced way I really wonder what you get out of the time you spoend on here. Are you hoping to draw some kind of sectarian attack so that you can feel justified about your on tunnel vision and bitterness.

      Personally I have tried to be civil towards you but have decided you are a waste of space and I will no longer respond to any post you make and just give it a thumbs down on the basis that even if it sounds reasonable you are only trolling in an attempt to justify some scenario that exists only in your heid.

      • iain

        There was no legitimate points raised.
        Rangers were on a charge because of Greens comments or Green was on a charge.
        What difference does it make either way.

        Any apparent motivation gleened from reporting it either way is a contrivence.
        Not everything really warrants a blog. Not every apparent contradiction (real. imagined or accidental) indicates a plan.

        We saw over the last few days two blogs on actual legal issue’s. They received a hand full of responces each. These came straight after a blog about the attributes and abilities of the Rangers manager which received in the region of 80 replies.
        It is not hard to understand why our host decided he needed a Rangers topic today.
        I simply contend he would have been better waiting for an actual issue to blog on rather than a contrived one.

        Reply to me or not…the choice is yours. And by all means use the thumbs own….those seem to be held in high regards here.

  13. Geddy Lee.

    Green is already used to the Sevcovian fans, and his club’s pet media, swallowing everything he says hook, line and sinker.

    There was not a peep out of one of them after he claimed it was because he and swally were tied up at the SFA that they did not get the raft of “Quality” signings they have promised the gullable.

    Not a word of complaint about Green’s claims of at least 9 signings coming from Newcastle, nor any questions concerning the disappearance of the 5 stars from the Jersey.

    The media it seems , certainly in Scotland, have fallen right in line with how Green wants things portrayed.

    Sadly we have already seen the fans remarkable ability to blot out reality, so no chance of any protests coming from those sheep.

    I feel it will now be up to the Liquidators to rip up this wide boy’s purchase of the old clubs assetts, and get Green off the Scottish Football landscape, before he does some REAL damage.

  14. JimBhoy

    Personally I think Green is doing a great job. He is a perfect match for The rangers and their fans. His plan has had a few setbacks but he knows what buttons to push to make gains and how to use those teflon shoulders to his advantage. Jog on Greenie….

  15. Mick

    Went into water stones today to get a copy of phils book they have cancelled the relise for a week due to legal matters any1any news on it ??? For people with same issue the sun have caved in to Orc likes calling and emailing saying he’s a bigot msm spineless as ever doing as they say .

  16. WeeAndyBhoy

    So Iain,

    Do you come on this site to read all matters pertaining to issues within the legal system or do you come onto this site to contradict & bad mouth every blog relating to rangers/newco/mccoist/green?

    It’s interesting to note that you appear to only respond to articles relating to rangers/newco/mccoist/green.

    Just who’s fooling who here?

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