Unless some legal body sits and examines, carefully, the SPFL statement of today and brings clarity and focus to the situation Scottish football finds itself in, the game here is finished. The sport, as such it is called, is done. In 2012 the governing bodies applied a perfect fix to a mounting scandal. They created the wholly alien concept of football clubs being ephemeral bodies who’s only possessions are a license, a league place and a history.
In other words, they freed football clubs from any legal responsibility whatsoever. The onus for that falls on “owners”. And if you can swiftly enough change the owner you can carry on as before, doing whatever in the Hell you like.
The SPFL today rang the dinner bell for sharks and vultures and hyenas and wolves.
It said “Scottish football is open for business … welcome, one and all.”
Back in the late 70’s, Jimmy Carter opened up lines of dialogue with the government in Cuba, and essentially he demanded that families who wanted to move to the United States would be able to. Castro prevaricated for but a moment; he saw a chance to accomplish two key goals. First he would appear to be doing the will of the world, and secondly he would have an opportunity to clear his country of dissident elements … and empty his jails.
The Mariel Boatlift lasted from 15 April to 31 October 1980. Cuban families poured into Miami.
The results were not what Carter had anticipated; he had been trying to do the right thing. He had responded to calls from within the wealthy US Cuban community to let people who wanted to come to the United States. And it was a disaster.
Castro’s little trick impacted on the southern United States massively. Crime rates soared. Miami itself became a playground for drug lords and the subsequent wars are detailed in any number of movies and documentaries, the best of which is Cocaine Cowboys.
Now, I know people will say what happened in 2012 was an attempt to please everyone, to push Scottish football forward without it erupting into civil war. Stewart Regan said Scotland without Rangers would be at risk of “civil unrest.”
But as Mariel proved you have to think it through even when what your doing appears to be for the right reasons.
It is possible that Regan and Doncaster had some kind of altruistic motive at the start, but it has led us here, to a disaster, and the next disaster will be bigger. I don’t believe it was altruism anyway; I think these are yellow-bellied spineless wonders who bottled out of doing the only thing that would have prevented all this; acknowledging the truth.
Rangers’ fans, by and large, accepted that their club would be liquidated if they failed to get a CVA. The whole of the media was united in that view. Doncaster and Regan both appeared in front of the cameras, white faced and bug eyed, to say they believed a CVA would be granted and that HMRC would understand what was at stake.
And then when HMRC operated according to its policy, and Charles Green appeared to buy the assets, all of a sudden Scottish football’s governing bodies started to sell us something that was little more than an empty brown paper bag; the idea of clubs as non-legal entities recognised only by the footballing authorities.
It is bullshit, and more, it is dangerous bullshit.
It is a matter of time before a football club in Scotland is bought and operated by a criminal gang.
This, of course, excludes the man at the helm of Sevco; we already have a multi-convicted fraudster at the summit of that club and one of the first things he did upon taking control of it was to assure they were removed from the pesky necessities of having to open the books as per stock exchange regulations. At least one “loan” of £5 million is alleged to have originated in South East Asia, not that anyone at Hampden has bothered to check.
It’s entirely possible Sevco is already being used as a conduit for the flow of undeclared currency.
Who the Hell knows what else King and others are up to?
Barry Ferguson was declared bankrupt the other day; but what do you know? Just in time, he’d already transferred enough of his assets to his wife that he and she can carry on regardless without it having the slightest impact on them.
Now clubs can be shuffled hither, thither and yon between “holding companies” which can run up massive debts and cause untold chaos and the only punishment is the club gets 15 point deduction for a first time offence and a 25 point one for a second.
What happened to Rangers – the liquidation part – can’t happen in Scottish football again; the governing bodies have seen to that.
They’ve created a perfect world for unscrupulous people to come in and use our game for their own ends. Buy a club, take the fans money, pay yourself an exorbitant salary, run up huge debts you have no intention of paying … and then liquidate the “holding company” whilst you pass the lot to one of your colleagues to start the whole thing all over again … if you do it right there might not even be football sanctions.
And it will happen, just as other clubs will conceal the nature of payments to players. It’s not impossible that one day we’ll have a club who gives its players what amount to part-time contracts, making them “self-employed” and responsible for their own tax, but which can pay them vast sums under the table. Because if the SFA doesn’t find out about it until later they did nothing wrong, right? The number of distortions of rules and regulations, the avenues for cheating and deception, which were opened up just to facilitate the Survival Lie … it would take your breath away. We’re told today that Sevco cannot be punished for the sins of Rangers because you can’t strip titles from the OldCo. But it’s the NewCo who now owns the titles. So they get to keep the trophies but bear no responsibility for how those trophies were won?
It is shameful. Farcical. Disgraceful.
This is what we have to live with, this is the real result of 2012 and the utterly repellent creation of the club-company separation.
Those creditors who have waited for their money will get none.
They were conned, they were screwed, and one of the parties involved in that was the SFA, who the SPFL are going to meet with to plan the frame of reference for the new inquiry … the very thing Scottish football fans have warned against, and said would be unacceptable.
And it will have no power whatsoever.
Clubs agreed to this?
The whole thing is waste of time and effort and, more importantly, money.
To do what? To “learn lessons”?
The only lesson worth learning would have been for the governing bodies to act like they knew how to govern, to have imposed sanctions so serious that no-one ever forgot them.
Lessons are not “learned” they are taught.
Today’s lesson is that in Scottish football if you’ve got enough clout you can get away with literally anything.
That’s what they’ve taught us, that’s what’s on the curriculum.
And so the people who helped Craig Whyte to do this, who exculpated Murray, who gave a convicted criminal the chair at Ibrox, the facilitators of the Pinsent Mason fraud, will now launch their second attempt to cover all this up and conceal the truth and if we allow that we’re mugs and as pitiful as they think we are.
If this isn’t reversed, if a new inquiry doesn’t have the power to sift to the bottom of all this, the SPFL have destroyed the game here today.
The chain reaction has started already. Sooner or later something worse than what happened at Ibrox, something that rocks the sport to its foundations, will befall Scottish football and fans will chuck it, sponsors will run, administrations will fall … and we’ll look back on today the way Carter’s people look back on Mariel, as something that, in hindsight, was a complete catastrophe and historians will pick over the bones and ask “Could this not have been forseen?”
Well of course it could. Some of us have been writing about it for five long years, but we’re not the people sitting in the oak panelled offices … and we don’t matter. Because we’ve let this happen too, although for how much longer I do not know.
A mate of mine, an Aberdeen fan, published a blog yesterday where he suggested that it would cost too much time and money to do this job right, and he thinks the game should “move on.” That’s what we’re dealing with here, by the way, when even a good guy, a smart guy, thinks the best course of action is to put this stuff in the rear-view … I have never disagreed with him more and I cannot fathom what he’s thinking about.
Our game stinks of corruption and fear. Mistakes are being piled on top of mistakes. Cover-ups are being constructed to support previous cover-ups. And that costs time. And that costs money. To essentially be told that nothing has changed. To leave fraudulent titles and trophies on the record. To prop up the Survival Lie.
Yeah, but all’s well in the world cause your club won the League Cup two years ago and is content with a second place finish … at least until the criminal owner of Sevco can spend enough of his phantom cash to take it away from you.
I guess some people would literally rather live in shit than pick up a shovel.
And that’s what the game is turning into.
Lesson learned, eah?