History in the making

Yesterday there was a little bit of Celtic corporate history made.

The following resolution was on the agenda:

Resolution (and supporting statement) proposal for the 2013 Celtic Plc AGM under the terms of the Companies Act. 

Celtic Plc AGM 2013 Resolution for CFCB investigation into SFA Licensing Administration.  Page 1  

This AGM requests the Board exercise the provision contained in the Procedural Rules Governing the UEFA Club Financial Control Body Article 10 with jurisdiction and investigation responsibilities identified in articles 3 & 11 (Note 1 ), by referring /bringing to the attention of the UEFA Club Financial Control Body (CFCB), the licensing administration practices of the Scottish Football Association (SFA), requesting the CFCB undertake a review and investigate the SFA’s implementation of UEFA & SFA license compliance requirements, with regard to qualification, administration and granting of licenses to compete in football competitions under both SFA and UEFA jurisdiction, since the implementation of the Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play Regulations of 2010. 

Supporting Statement We the undersigned request this course of action, from our clubs custodians and corporate representation, responsible to protect our interests in line with corporate law. We consider the SFA governance has displayed a disregard for the rules and spirit of fair play, contradicted FIFA, UEFA & SFA mission statements and acted in contravention to the spirit of the rules of fair play outlined in FIFA, UEFA & SFA Rules, Regulations and Supplementary documents of which the SFA are signatories, such as; 

FIFA Code of Conduct Article 3 – Eleven principles for behaviour and conduct of the FIFA family. (Note 2) 

FIFA Standard Cooperation Agreement of 2004 Article 2.1 – Basic Principles, which states; 

The basic principles governing the organization, administration and financing of football are as follows: football statutes and regulations, democratic election of governing bodies, legality, competence, dignity, probity, mutual respect, responsibility, trust, communication, transparency, fair play, solidarity, protection of sportsmen and sportswomen’s health and promotion of friendly relations. 

 A number of recent examples of this including but not limited to the following; 

1. Unprecedented transfer of membership and granting of license to operate to an unqualified new club, facilitating queue jumping into the lower professional set-up, at the expense of existing qualified clubs, who had applied through the recognized process. 2. Secret cross governance agreements to facilitate point 1. above, which took place during the preparation and contrary to the ethos of the SFA’s own published mission statement Scotland United A 20/20 Vision 2012, regarding trust and respect, as part of the future governance of the sport. Further the process for the above agreement is in direct contravention of the FIFA Standard Cooperation Agreement of 2004 Article 2.1 Basic Principles, which identifies Associations responsibilities outlined above. 3. Participation of a new club in an SFA affiliated domestic club competition without proper registration compliance. 4. The participation of the SFA, in an inquiry on improper player registration, an inquiry the SFA declined to initiate on the grounds that; the SFA required to be neutral, maintaining appellate authority status, then not only compromising that neutrality by participation but providing an interpretation on player eligibility that UEFA and indeed FIFA should examine. 

These in our opinion are just some of the more blatant contradictions to the spirit of fair play, however, far more serious, and the main thrust of this resolution is the granting by the SFA of a license to participate in European Competition in 2011, to a club who prime facie did not qualify specifically under the non-payment of social tax requirements identified in the FFP 2010, still outstanding to date, a decision that had a direct financial impact on our CFC Plc’s financial well being. Our concern is directed at the governance of the game in Scotland, the SFA, and its apparent disregard for the licensing system that was designed to protect against such commercial impropriety and to ensure sporting integrity; we wish to eliminate the opportunity for possible future indiscretions and insist this problem requires immediate action through investigation by the FCFB, to restore trust and respect in the governance of Scottish football.  We have no confidence in the SFAs governance within the current framework, to satisfy our concerns and therefore request the Board supports this resolution. If the Board cannot support this resolution, we require a response in writing before the AGM, followed up with a statement addressing this issue at the AGM, justifying any such reticence,  as to why it is believed the SFA’s actions or lack of, in granting the UEFA license without due rigor, has not had a detrimental financial impact on our club, also justifying why there were no license administration irregularities if that is the Boards contention. 

We ask you to support this resolution and the written statement above circulated to shareholders in advance of the meeting, in the interests of a stronger Celtic.

The board were initially opposing the resolution, but after a series of constructive meetings between the concerned shareholders and senior club officials it was decided that the resolution be adjourned.

During this consultation process before the AGM Celtic FC sought further clarification on a number of matters from the SFA.

The folks on the sixth floor at Hampden stated that the granting of the licence was within the letter of the law.

However that clarification process prompted by this resolution, has thrown up questions over the SFA’s diligence apropos the monitoring from 30th June 2011 onwards.

This is the first Resolution from the floor at a Celtic AGM never to have been voted down by the Board.

The significance of that should not be underestimated.

Celtic conspiracy theorists on Twitter were quick to scream about cover ups, but perhaps part of their chagrin is that they aren’t in the loop at this point in time and I get that.

However, I think they’re taking this very personal, but it is strictly business.

What happens next is that the Celtic Shareholders will ask the Company Secretary to seek further clarification on the UEFA submission by Rangers under Article 66 of the UEFA Financial Fair Play Regulations.

Obviously he can’t go and ask Rangers as they aren’t around these days.

However, the Scottish Football Association hasn’t shuffled off this corporate coil so they’re still in the land of the living.

Moreover, the President of the SFA has, in many ways, a unique perspective on this issue as he was in the room in 1999 at Ibrox when it all started.

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