An amoral victory

It is often said that in sport that you learn more about the character of people when they lose than when they win.

That is probably correct for a series of reasons.

However, I think the fashion I which the klan greeted the deliberations of Lord Nimmo Smith and his two eminent colleagues on the dual contracts probe was truly revelatory.

Only the shameless and amoral could claim such a scathing analysis as a vindication.

Yet the klan punched the air in triumph.

Still for the common good of the people of Scotland it is better that they are happy rather than seething and vengeful.

The klan instinctively understand that they have a dispensation within Scottish football effectively that allows them to act with impunity.

Now that they believe that they can strike a pose as victim makes incidents like Berwick only more likely in the future

Last summer the klan responded to several rallying cries from their tribal elders.

People who had transgressed in their eyes had to be reminded of certain basic facts of Scottish life.

The presence of close protection officers around their home was a sort of aide memoir.

Lest they forget.

In the days before the Lord Nimmo Smith the klan seemed convinced that title stripping was a near certainty.

On message boards the last response that was being considered to this possibility was reasoned argument or dignified protest.

This is a fascist underclass that has intimidation as a default setting.

The commission establishes with some certainty that a culture of deception existed within the Ibrox Boardroom during the Murray years.

The First Tier Tribunal heard that vital documents were “actively concealed” from HMRC inspectors.

Those same documents, the EBT side letters, were also withheld from the football authorities.

The key term used by Lord Nimmo Smith and his two colleagues Nicholas Stewart QC and Charles Flint QC in this lengthy judgement was “deliberate non-disclosure”.

Moreover the commission was quite clear that this was to do with the club’s taxation matters.

The judges in the First Tier Tribunal and Lord Nimmo Smith only had sight of these vital documents due to the Boumsong raid on Ibrox in 2007 by the City of London police.

The reason for the commission sitting was the alleged non-disclosure of payments to players at Rangers during the EBT decade.

The allegation was that because these payments weren’t disclosed at the point of registration then the players might not be eligible to play in competitive matches.

Then it emerged that because these payments were non-disclosed then the players were eligible.

Still with me?

When presented with the SFA’s súil eile on this Lord Nimmo Smith and his colleagues could not come to any other conclusion than the one they arrived at.

The SFA evidence was given by Alexander Bryson, who is the head of the association’s registration department

It is difficult to argue with the contention that Mr Bryson’s evidence was a game changer.

To my untrained reasoning it appears that the SFA has a rather…err…unique set of registration parameters.

Given the centrality of Mr Bryson to the outcome of this commission I had cause yesterday to look over the SFA’s file on the Cadette affair that cost Jim Farry his job in February 1999.

It is a rather interesting collection of, faxes letters, memos and minutes of meetings.

Paul Cullen QC, acting for the SFA, wrote  on February 21st 1999 that;

“I had also been informed that Mr Bryson was ‘very nervous about the prospect of giving evidence’. This factor seemed to me to militate strongly against leading him as the Respondents’ initial witness.”

In the end Mr Bryson was not called to give evidence in 1999 as Paul Cullen QC advised his clients that after Jim Farry’s catastrophic performance under cross examination that the baw was forensically burst.

What Fergus McCann and Celtic won in 1999 was a genuine moral victory over the  SFA.

Dear reader journalists just love leaked documents.

It does make our job a lot easier and I’m very grateful to my source.

Moreover, even if Lord Nimmo Smith asked me in this day job to name that individual I couldn’t oblige.

I really really couldn’t.

Of course there is another way to have a much easier life in journalism, but queuing for the lamb and colluding with the powerful fails the public.

As we look back over the downfall of Rangers this much is clear that there was, during the Murray years, an undoubted culture in the Ibrox boardroom that exudes shiftiness.

Documents were concealed and important emails were shredded.

If there is nothing to hide then why hide anything?

Information can be commercially sensitive to competitors, but “actively concealing” vital documentation from HMRC inspectors is probably over a line for most people, but the klan doesn’t see the line.

Those pesky side letters were only presented to Hector not by contrite Rangers, but by the City of London Police.

Similarly the Scottish football authorities had no idea these letters existed or their likely import to the Murray Groups aggressive tax avoidance strategy.

Both the First Tier Tribunal and Lord Nimmo Smith found that a culture of concealment existed within the Ibrox set up when it came to dealing with the authorities.

Despite the spin that it was a “clerical error” this is at variance with the facts and that is made forensically clear by legal blogger Paul McConnville.

For a decade of deceit a fine of £250,000 was imposed on the dead club.

It is no more than a gesture and Lord Nimmo Smith and his colleagues admitted it as such in the judgment.

This, of course, will be spun by a compliant media as a great exoneration of a club that did no wrong.

If the Rangers saga has demonstrated anything it is how the local sports media in Glasgow failed in their duty to the public.

Don’t expect that to change.

Yesterday we learned more about The People as they delighted in their disgrace.

Deliberate non-disclosure to the football authorities of key documents was ok as long as they kept the EBT titles

It was an amoral victory, but that has always been good enough for the klan.

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