05 September 2012

More Questions Than Answers

by Bill McMurdo | CRO contributor | @williammcmurdo |

Occasionally here at CRO we pick the pocket of blogs/forums/sites we like. In this case it's one of our own regular writers, Bill McMurdo.

In our on-going quest for Sporting Integrity, here's Bill asking the hard questions.

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In the comments section of yesterday’s blog there was a great post asking some searing questions of the man known to Rangers fans as Phil Three Names.

I have been thinking for a while of asking some questions here myself.

Now I am aware that Rangers supporters and others have been asking probing questions for quite some time of the officials at the SPL and SFA – with those same questions all too often met with a stony silence.

But there’s one thing for sure.

Those officials don’t like hearing the questions.

And journalists hate the questions too, because they remind them of the job they should be doing but are prevented from doing by their editors. Some journos hate the questions because they know the answers and have a vested interest in not going there.

But here are some questions that Rangers supporters – and others if they are so inclined – could be asking:-

1) What exactly was the relationship between Stewart Regan and Peter Lawwell prior to Regan’s appointment as CEO of the Scottish Football Association? Was there a friendship? Did Peter Lawwell have any part in the appointment, either by suggesting Regan’s name or facilitating the approach to him?

2) Who owned the company that became the company that runs the SPL? Why was this particular company chosen?

3) What is the logic that sees Rangers ineligible to receive monies due for finishing 2nd in the SPL because the old company that ran Rangers has been replaced but still demands that the old company’s debts be paid by the new one? Can the SPL show precedent for such twisted logic in the more mainstream business world? If, to use their own terms, oldco is no more so can’t get the SPL prize money it is due, how can oldco be expected to pay what it was due? More to the point, why should newco pay oldco’s debts but not receive oldco’s prize money? Would anybody in the SPL like to admit that, in effect, they are extorting money out of Rangers in this way?

4) Why was Harper McLeod chosen to be the law firm that conducted the investigation into EBTs at Rangers? Was Peter Lawwell involved in this decision in any way at any time? Moreover, when the media reports of a possible clash of interest by Harper McLeod’s appointment came out, was there any review inside the SPL of this appointment and if not, why not?

5) Has every director at every club in the SPL undergone and passed a fit and proper person test? If so, who conducted the investigation and what criteria did they use? If no such test exists why not and when will one? How can the football authorities know that every director is a fit and proper person without testing them?

6) What exactly constitutes bringing the game into disrepute? Would it include criminal activity by club officials or the covering up of criminal activity by club officials such as in the recent Penn State case in America? E.g. if a club official was dealing in drugs or committed a serious crime, would that bring the game into disrepute and if not, why not?

7) Did Harper Macleod lawyer Rod Mackenzie rise to his feet at an SPL meeting and scream at Charles Green, “You bastards have cheated US for 11 years!” and is this the same Rod Mackenzie – well-known Celtic fan – involved in investigating Rangers? Or is this just an internet rumour?

8) Is there any investigation into off-book payments at clubs other than Rangers by the SPL and/or SFA? I am talking about side letters, offshore payments, brown envelopes, “bungs” and other non-contractual payments. Do such side letters exist, signed by directors of clubs other than Rangers? Did any other team employ EBTs or other tax avoidance schemes to pay players? What about taxable perks? Is there a thorough and ongoing investigation into all these matters conducted on every club?

9) Is the SPL itself solvent? Can it meet its obligations and pay its creditors? Would it fail its own tests for solvency?

10) In relation to activity undertaken by a football club that is either criminal or gains that team an unfair advantage, how far back would the SFA or SPL go to investigate and punish that club? Obviously the SPL has only existed since the 1990s but the SFA is much older as is the SFL. Could teams found in breach of SFA and/or SFL rules 25 or 30 years ago have punishments handed down if those breaches were brought out into the open today?

These are just ten questions for Rangers fans and others to mull over and perhaps ask of the relevant people in their own words. I have many more, as do others.

My own opinion is that, just as Rangers supporters are learning how to be an offended people, they should also become an inquisitive people.

You are always learning in this world and you do that by asking questions.

Sadly, in the case of the corrupt cabal running the game today, there are at present way more questions than answers.

But that shouldn’t deter nosy, inquisitive Rangers fans and others who want the answers to the questions they are asking.

To them I say, keep probing and digging and look under every rock.

You never know what you will find.

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Original post: http://billmcmurdo.wordpress.com/2012/09/04/more-questions-than-answers/