At the centre of yesterday’s shocking SPFL statement, and at the core of everything that is wrong with Scottish football at the moment, is a document about which little is understood. It’s the one we call the Five Way Agreement.
It binds all the various players in this tight.
It’s a five way vice, and it’s the reason there’s so much fear in the halls of Hampden.
The Five Way Agreement is the document which laid the foundation stones for the greatest lie ever told in Scottish football, the Survival Lie. Everything that has come to pass in the last week and for years before that flows from there.
You cannot fully understand Scottish football and what has happened in it without first understanding that.
I once wrote a long, long article on Fields exploring the full measure of the Survival Lie. Everything we saw and heard yesterday exists to prop that up. Indeed there are many in Scottish football who’d be perfectly content to let the whole title stripping issue go if the Survival Lie was knocked down instead; I am not one of them, by the way. I believe those titles have to go, whether football in this country collectively admits that Rangers died or not.
But the Survival Lie ties it all together and the framework of it is found in the Five Way agreement.
It is the centrepiece of Scottish football corruption.
First, what is the Five Way Agreement, for those who may be unfamiliar with the exact nature of it?
Well, it’s the contract which allowed Sevco to play in the Scottish football structure.
It so named because five separate organisations signed it, and this is important to note.
They were, as follows:
The Scottish Premier League.
The Scottish Football League.
The Scottish Football Association.
The Rangers Football Club PLC (In Administration)
Sevco Scotland Limited 2012.
That’s who appeared in the final draft available for scrutiny, the eponymous Draft 6, which is believed to have been exactly the one which was signed, sealed and delivered. The Five Way Agreement was a list of binding regulations which essentially made Sevco Scotland Limited responsible for all of the sins committed by Rangers.
It was the price of the Survival Lie’s very existence.
Charles Green agreed to assume all the liabilities of Rangers, including their past sins. The debts were beyond anyone’s reach … but the club’s long list of offences against football were essentially fair game.
Yesterday’s “legal advice” from the SPFL said quite the opposite, of course.
But then the SPFL didn’t exist then … it was two separate bodies, and both have their signature on that paper.
So you’ll notice that the two “versions” of Rangers are on that document.
Who signed which?
Well, Green signed for Sevco Scotland. Rangers’ signatories were the administrators of Duff and Phelps.
And that’s where the first major problem comes in.
Those guys were later charged in connection with fraud, partly in relation to that. Those charges were dismissed, of course, but if further evidence becomes available the Crown reserves the right to reintroduce them and pursue them with vigour. BDO still wants to know why that administration was run in such a bizarre fashion; remember Rangers was no sooner in administration that it actually tried to complete the signing of Daniel Cousin.
It was just the beginning.
The whole thing was rather odd.
As if the cloud over Duff and Phelps wasn’t enough to make the Five Way Agreement toxic, the SFA signed it, led by Campbell Ogilvie its dishonourable President, and they failed in one of the most fundamental duties of them all in that it was only signed after Sevco had played a first team game.
Let me explain why that’s important here.
The Five Way Agreement was constructed not only to create the Survival Lie, but in doing so to effectively bind Sevco to Rangers’ sins. Without that signature, without it all being agreed, Sevco ought never to have been allowed to put a team on the park.
The various parties were still at loggerheads over that with only days remaining till Sevco’s first game … and instead of holding firm on that, the SFA backed down.
They created for Sevco a “temporary license”, unheard of in the game, not covered in a single one of the regulations, a complete violation of SFA rules.
And in doing so, they let Sevco take the field.
From that moment on, the agenda had passed out of their hands.
They had no leverage.
To have then refused to ratify Sevco’s membership of the SFA would have been a calamity; Green would have headed for the courts and the whole game would have been thrown into complete turmoil.
Green and his board returned to “negotiations” with a stronger hand than their behaviour ought to have warranted.
The Five Way Agreement was signed … but certain elements of it remained just out of sight.
That document was hamstrung by numerous agreements, some of which were never commited to paper.
We know this because of what happened next.
Sevco’s “transfer embargo” went from being something with weight to being something virtually insubstantial.
They were allowed to sign players but not register them until after a certain date.
That punishment was rendered meaningless.
The Lord Nimmo Smith inquiry was set up with a much reduced remit and the club was given, as a sidebar to the Five Way Agreement, a “no title stripping” guarantee from the league. Which is one of the reasons we’re where we are today.
The fines imposed on the club were so low as to be a waste of everyone’s time – and even then Green resisted and refused to pay.
No sanctions were ever imposed on him or Sevco as a consequence of that.
The SFL and the SPL both signed.
And no sooner was the document filed but those two organisations amalgamated into one.
I’m not saying there’s anything dodgy about that, but I know enough to be suspicious. So too was born the strange link between the SFA and the SPFL, who’s governing bodies and key committees see an awful lot of traffic between them. That is especially important when one considers that the SPL “section” of the board is stronger than the SFL one, and that before this they were two separate organisations with two different agendas.
The SPFL board is also responsible for making every key decision; that’s why there was no vote on whether or not to accept the “legal advice” this week. The clubs, who put the spokes in the wheel of the Big Scam last time, to put Sevco in the SPL, have effectively been neutered. The SFL clubs can now be officially ignored.
If Sevco goes the way of Rangers, forget them starting at the bottom.
The clubs no longer have the authority to make that decision.
That’s one lesson the governing bodies did learn; don’t give the clubs the power to do anything the board doesn’t want them to.
So of the four signatories so far, the SFA was covering itself and screwed up the part of the negotiations that were their only priority; the two league bodies signed it then voted themselves out of existence in a structural change that weakened individual clubs; the signatories on behalf of Rangers later found themselves under indictment for their role in it and are still suspected of running the whole thing on a dodgy basis today …
Which brings us to Charles Green and Sevco Scotland Limited.
Sevco Scotland Limited are the subject of Craig Whyte’s current legal case, which will bind the guys at Duff and Phelps and certain people in the league bodies in what amounts to a conspiracy. If Whyte’s people ever get it to court, expect those renewed charges to follow and all Hell to break loose as Craig levels accusations at people which wreck careers.
The late Paul McConville wrote extensively on The Sevco Switcheroo, but what it comes to is essentially simple; the administrators Duff and Phelps were the people who were responsible for selling the assets of Rangers to a new buyer.
They had a cast iron contract to give “first preference” to a company called Sevco 5088.
That company was controlled by Charles Green. Its other owner was Craig Whyte. This is all a matter of public record and fact. Whyte has admitted it and so too has Green. There is a tape recording of them discussing it, which has been authenticated.
But when the companies assets were finally sold they didn’t end up with Sevco 5088, they ended up with a company called Sevco Scotland Limited, the very one which signed the final draft of the Five Way Agreement. But that company name was not on the original drafts of the document; Draft 6 was created after Green completed the purchase. All prior Five Way Agreement documents carried the name Sevco 5088, as the governing bodies know well.
So what happened to Sevco 5088 and the legal guarantee they had?
According to Whyte, he was scammed by Green who set up Sevco Scotland Limited with the explicit intent to defraud him and get control of the shares, cutting him out of the process. Green admitted as much in an interview he gave The Sun newspaper in 2013.
“Whyte is trying to tout that he was behind the whole deal. He says he has tape recordings of Imran and me saying that he is Sevco 5088. Which is all true. We were warned before we ever met him that he would be taping things … What we had to do at the start was get the confidence of this guy for him to give us the shares, to give us the debentures, to do a whole raft of things. I’m not worried about what I’ve said on tape …”
This might be the most remarkable, and blunt, fraud admission in the history of Scottish business.
Green here is freely admitting that he lied to Whyte to get him to “give us the share … the debentures … a whole raft of things.”
And that is the basis on which Whyte and a group of lawyers are currently planning a legal challenge to determine who actually owns the assets of the club.
The SFA is up to its neck in this, along with the SPFL.
Whether willingly or not, they allowed Green to commit a fraud.
It would be bad enough on its own had they left it at that, but when Green was forced to resign from the board at Ibrox following the full disclosure of these allegations the SFA went a step further than just playing a role as passive observers; under pressure from some quarters they announced an inquiry into the allegations.
And then, incredibly, they allowed Sevco itself to run the inquiry … they actually handed it all over to the Ibrox board and let them “check it out” on their own, which led to the Pinset Mason report, a scandalous whitewash contradicting a ream of public evidence including the statements of both men, which to no-one’s surprise has exonerated everyone, the governing bodies included. According to Pinset Mason, no connections were found.
No con had taken place.
And yet there is documentary evidence of that con which anyone can go and read about online, in detail.
The Five Way Agreement is a document laced through with scandal.
It is the net in which all the signatories are trapped. It is based on a fundamentally flawed basis. It is undercut by secret side-agreements and amendments, and has now been utterly destroyed by the “legal advice” presented by the SPFL’s own lawyers.
And it binds all involved to the Sevco Switcheroo.
You want to know what’s worth all this scrambling, all this backsliding, all those cover-ups?
I present to you the most corrupt document in the history of British football.
And there’s more.
I’ll cover that in due course.