As regular readers here will know I have been a willing conduit for the Resolution 12 chaps.
When they started their journey, I fully supported their case and I still do.
I believe in the essential veracity of their proposition that Resolution 12 was necessary.
The Requisitioners are convinced that Rangers (1872-2012) should not in June 2011 have retained their licence to play in UEFA competitions in season 2011-2012.
This was because the Ibrox club had ‘overdue payables to a taxing authority’.
I am of the opinion that it was a major victory that the board and the major shareholders at Celtic did not vote down the Resolution when it was put before the club’s AGM on November 15th, 2013.
The Resolution 12 chaps then entered into a series of meetings and discussions with senior figures at the club.
They have worked diligently and engaged appropriately with the senior employees of the club on this matter.
I stated to them at the time that it would, in my opinion, be a grave error if they did not enter into these consultations with a degree of caution.
Quite simply I was not convinced of the bona fides of the club to push this issue forcibly enough.
However, I was willing to be proven wrong.
Moreover, if my suspicions were groundless, then I would be delighted.
In the meantime, I was a willing publisher of the Resolution 12 updates.
Their statements appeared here without any amendment by myself as the Requisitioners themselves will attest.
I was simply their publisher.
They wanted to reach the widest number of Celtic supporters and I was happy to assist them in that matter.
However, I was always concerned that there might be another agenda in play and I told them so at the time.
I think it is fair to say that at least one of the Requisitioners now is heading in the direction of my analysis.
We are in regular correspondence and he has shared many items of information with me on an Off the Record basis.
Consequently, I have to protect his identity.
In preserving his anonymity, I believe that I can allow him to speak in his own words here.
I recently asked him to check back through his papers and provide me with the facts of Resolution 12 as he understood them.
It is fair to say that he has been living in this issue for several years.
Consequently, he has the sort of encyclopaedic knowledge of the material that one used to find in old school journalism. There was a time when a newspaper reporter would have burrowed into a major story of public interest.
Sadly, those days are gone and forever Off The Radar.
He checked the facts and here is what he sent me:
“It was right that resolution 12 was adjourned. The responses by the SFA to questions asked by Celtic themselves late in 2011 related only to the granting of the licence in March and not its retention in June 2011, just six weeks before Sherriff Officers called in early August to start collection proceedings on an overdue unpaid tax bill of £2.8m, dated 20th May 2011.
Whilst the SFA responded factually to Celtic in terms of granting, I believe they were disingenuous in not addressing the tax overdue payable aspect at the retention point in June 2011 especially given the public nature of the collection process in August.”
His view of the role of the Scottish Football Association in all of this does not paint a good picture of these world class administrators.
“…the SFA have prevaricated and avoided answering specific questions put to them by the Requisitioners’ solicitor in July 2015 and when the SFA finally did reply this month, it was not to the Requisitioners’ solicitor but to Celtic. I understand that the SFA reply:
- Failed to address the specific questions put to them in respect of UEFA FFP Articles covering the responsibilities of the licensee (RFC) and the licensor (SFA).
- Repeated more or less what they had told Celtic in late 2011 in respect of granting the licence in March 2011.
- Dismissed the evidence of the arrival of the tax bill in May 2011 presented to them in the solicitor’s letter of July as not significant to the granting of the licence in March which was not in dispute, but again avoided the point that it was the retention of the licence in June 2011 that was being questioned.
- Refused to deal with the Requisitioners solicitor because the shareholders were unidentified despite Celtic having already vouched for them when in dialogue with the SFA since early 2014.
In my opinion the long-delayed SFA reply above, given the time and effort put in by the Requisitioners, not only supports my belief that they were being played for time, but in doing so is an insult not just to the Requisitioners, not just to the signatories to the resolution but to all Celtic shareholders and the Celtic support at large and has to be dealt with in that light by the Celtic Board by whatever means necessary.
Resolution 12 started on the basis that there were questions to be answered by the SFA about their processing of the RFC UEFA Licence submissions from March to Sept 2011.
However by their failure to deal with solid evidence of wrongdoing presented to them by bona fide shareholders in a member club in 2014,
- I believe that what did happen in 2011 is just another example of the consequences of a culture of arrogant governance pervasive in an organisation lacking proper accountability to their ultimate paying customer.
- I believe that The Celtic Board, led by Peter Lawwell, will never have a greater opportunity to use events from 2011 until now to bring about the necessary culture change at the SFA.
- I believe that this will encourage many Celtic supporters with reservations about the game’s honesty to buy season tickets next season. The corollary is that inaction will lose the club supporters.
- I believe that a culture change at the SFA will in the long term benefit all Scottish football clubs.
This morning he told me that:
“Up until Jan I had nothing but the possibility that although the Comp Sec [Company Secretary] had been helpful to us since 2013, behind the scenes we just weren’t sure if PL [Peter Lawwell] wanted what we did.”
I think it is now fair to say that this Requisitioner believes that it might just be possible that Mr Lawwell might want something very different indeed.
For the avoidance of doubt, I am not privy to the inner thoughts of the Celtic Chief Executive.
I have met him on several occasions and found him to be pleasant and personable.
The last time we met was in the foyer of the Hyatt Hotel in Philadelphia.
Celtic was there to play a friendly against Real Madrid and Rangers had just died.
His statement to me there, in the presence of several Philly-based Celtic supporters, was that:
“…this [i.e. the liquidation of Rangers] has cost us five million…”
It was the response of a businessman and I respect that.
However, outside the hotel, there were some local chaps with a makeshift coffin with “Rangers” written on it.
For them it wasn’t business, it was strictly personal.
I do not know if Peter Lawwell the businessman grieves for the ‘Old Firm’ and the lost revenue from those derby matches.
Moreover, I am not privy to his private thoughts on the issues raised by Resolution 12.
However, one source that is very close to Dermot Desmond recently stated that Mr Lawwell’s view is that “…as soon as the first Old Firm is played then they’ll forget all about this Resolution 12 stuff…”
An excellently placed source has also informed me that the entire issue was recently discussed by the New Regime at Sevco.
Although Resolution 12 is apropos the original Rangers, it does have an impact on the emotional wellbeing of the notoriously fragile Ibrox clientele.
Hence, it was a pertinent topic of discussion for the men currently in charge of Sevco.
I understand that recently a senior member of the New Regime soothed the others in the Blue Room by opining that the chaps in Hampden and indeed Mr Lawwell would ensure that nothing untoward would come out of this pesky Resolution 12 stuff.
Of course, Celtic can answer these concerns by taking the issues raised in Resolution 12 formally to UEFA.
If they did that, then I am sure that the Resolution 12 Requisitioners and all of the wider Celtic family will acknowledge that leadership when season ticket renewal time comes around.
For the avoidance of doubt, if the club wishes to clarify their position on how they currently view Resolution 12 then I will be happy to publish it here.