Sevco Ordered To Pay £250,000 SFA Fine And Why It’s Important

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Today the newspapers are saying that an independent panel of judges has ordered that Sevco pay the SFA a £250,000 fine, levied as part of the Lord Nimmo Smith verdict.

The club is said to be “raging”, in part because they’ve been told to pay up (plus costs) and in part because the verdict itself has been “leaked.”

They have some brass neck.

This one is important, this judgement, and they know it, which is why they’re squealing like pigs.

Lord Nimmo Smith’s tribunal was a joke.

Most of us accept that.

But their fans, and indeed their club, have always, at least publicly, been supportive of its findings and they held it up as one of the shining examples of how the club “suffered” and of why we all have to move on. That would have been easier to stomach if, in 2013, they hadn’t simply shrugged this fine off and stuck the notice in a drawer, until the SFA sent them a payment demand. Following that, they said they were appealing that part of the decision.

They had no business appealing.

They ought to have had no right.

The media is trying to obfuscate this one by saying that it was King’s board who decided to appeal this; that’s bollocks, to use the Glasgow vernacular, and they must think we’re stupid.

As I’ve just pointed out, this fine is three years old.

No-one at Ibrox thought it should be paid, and subsequent boards took the same decision on that score.

Charles Green and Dave King were in lock step on it.

And that’s the important part, because this fine comes as part of the Five Way Agreement, which I regard as one of the most fraudulent, cowardly and corrupt pieces of documentation in the history of Scottish sport.

It laid out the framework for Lord Nimmo Smith, whilst an attached memo told the Newco “Don’t worry, he won’t be stripping titles.”

It imposed a transfer ban that allowed them to sign – but not register – eight players. All eventually were registered, as free transfers, in spite of having already played games for the club, a loophole they all knew was there and could be exploited to the maximum.

It levied fines, which were never paid.

The title stripping memo was the SFA’s gift to Sevco. The transfer ban was a fudge, a compromise, something that would look good in the papers but would have no material effect on the club whatsoever. The fines, on the other hand, were the only actual obligation on Sevco, and having already been given essentially a free ride over the rest, the club took the decision that those fines would never actually be paid.

That wasn’t just cynical; it was a violation of an agreement on which the very existence of Sevco itself – and the whole of the Survival Myth – is predicated. That fine was the only punishment they actually got, for over a decade of cheating and tax fraud.

That, in itself, is an affront to decency and sporting integrity.

That they never ever bothered to pay it, after signing a document that said they would, is an outrage.

Why did it come to this, a three judge appeal with all the costs that were incurred by the game itself?

I repeat; they signed a document saying they would accept the punishments handed down by the LNS verdict – those which secret deals hadn’t already restricted. They violated that agreement, quite blatantly. Why wasn’t there a disciplinary case raised against them for that failure?

I’ve written on the Five Way Agreement before – my article A Window On A Scandal summed up what I think of it; you can read it clicking here – and so I don’t want to regurgitate old arguments and old concepts; but one bears repeating over and over again.

When the SFA granted Sevco a “temporary license” that was an admission that the Survival Myth is actually the Survival Lie.

They didn’t do a transfer of license as has been alleged; for a time in Scottish football there were two organisations calling themselves Rangers, along with the ephemeral Club 12. The temporary license was a fraud, but a fraud that acknowledged that there could be no transfer of one.

The mistake the SFA made was granting it before they’d satisfied themselves that Charles Green and his people were interested in doing what was right.

When it became clear they weren’t, action should have been taken.

There should have been no need for this to have gone as far as a judicial panel; Sevco should have been told “pay it or suffer the footballing consequences.”

The SFA was gutless.

Even now, this is simply an official demand that they pay what they owe.

They’ve gotten off scott-free for their refusal to do so before now, in contravention of the agreement.

That’s what the story should be here; a club that doesn’t give a monkey’s for the regulations and a governing body which doesn’t seem to care about holding them to account.

All this is to say nothing of what Sevco’s rationale for not paying was; if, as we suspect, it was more of this “the debts of the oldco are nothing to do with us” then surely that itself is a tacit admission that the Survival Myth to which they cling is cobblers?

I doubt we’ll get answers.

I doubt we’ll ever know.

But one thing is clear;

This club thinks it can do whatever the Hell it likes, and we have a governing body that shows no signs at all of asserting itself and proving them wrong.

This one was important.

This one will continue to be.

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