Doncaster: Behind The Mask

Neil Doncaster, the current head of the SPFL, has been touted by many as a possible successor to the disgraced Stewart Regan, who quit the SFA last month after he finally got fed up of covering for the cabal that runs Scottish football.

The vacancy has been advertised online, and I actually thought of applying for it myself, but as I don’t have a fake tan and my parents are married, I don’t meet the basic criteria for the position.

However, many feel that Doncaster does.

Indeed, having been assured that he acts entirely on behalf of the clubs, i felt that he perhaps deserved a chance.

After his efforts to secure an independent review into the events surrounding the granting of a licence to Rangers back in the days of the original club I was even more convinced, and the rejection by the SFA of this application seemed to show that Scottish football was divided into two camps, with Regan and the SFA one one side, and Doncaster and the clubs, and by extension, the supporters, on the other.

Image result for Well, he had me fooled

Except, of course, he didn’t get the chance to fool me twice.

and I’ll tell you why..

This email was in response to a supporter who asked him to clarify the Rangers are the same club argument,

For a lot of us, the whole credibilty of Scottish football lies in this simple clarification.

If the new entity are a new entity, as is fairly obvious to any right thinking man or woman, then this must be officially clarified.

Its also important that the shennanigans surrounding the liquidation of the old club are fully detailed and exposed, with those responsible for any wrongdoing punished.

without getting into too much detail on the same club argument, the importance of truth cannot be underestimated where millions of pounds of supporters money is concerned.

No other industry would be allowed to gloss over similar fraud on such a massive scale, why should football be any different?

All we ask is for clarification so that we can, to coin a phrase, move on into shaping a game that is based around sporting integrity.

Doncaster, however, with breathtaking arrogance and a unique and refreshing take on events, replied..

Dear …….

Thank you for your email below.  Last year I indicated a willingness to meet with fans’ groups to answer any questions that they might have.  Indeed, a number of such meetings were held, here at Hampden Park and elsewhere and allowed for a number of misunderstandings to be clarified.  One such misunderstanding is in your email. 
Presumably the hidden one that thought we’d get any sense out of him.

Your email assumes that a Club and the entity with legal personality which owns and controls the Club are one and the same. 

 They are not. 
The distinction between a Club and the entity (usually a limited company) that owns and controls the Club is inherent in SPFL Articles and Rules (and the Rules of the SPL prior to the merger with the SFL in 2013) and the Articles of the Scottish FA and was reflected in the judgements of Lord Nimmo Smith and his Independent Commission in relation to Rangers. 
Er, hang on…
Why then, were the new Rangers forced to apply for a licence to play in division Three ?
Why then, were they not permitted to play in Europe ?
Why then, did they begin the following season, the new clubs first, in the first round of the Scottish cup ?
And why then, did Anders Traverso explain that no punishment was neccessary for the new club as they were, er, a new club ?
Surely the entity would have been okay ?
These judgements are readily available online and would be worth reading prior to any meeting with me here at Hampden Park.  You should particularly seek to read the first (or preliminary) judgement published in late 2012 which specifically addresses this issue. 
Lord nimmo smith ? Was his review of the events not the one that Doncaster called for a inquiry into ?
That judgement and my own understanding of SPFL /SPL Articles and Rules is why I am able to say that Rangers Football Club is the same Club as prior to the insolvency events of 2012 affecting ‘Rangers OldCo’. 
Hang on, and this is important, prior to 2005 the concept of an owner separate from a club did not exist in SFA Articles and the introduction of the rule did not mean that clubs who did not fall into that owner separate from club category (like Rangers the club who were incorporated in 1872?) did not automatically become a club owned separately  because of a rule introduced to allow the SFA to discipline Romanov of Hearts.
Under UEFA rules such a construct of a club owned and operated by a company is recognised under Article 12 of UEFA FFP but such a contract requires a written contract to exist between the club and the operator. If  such a contract between Rangers and some ethereal owner that existed at any time prior to liquidation in 2012 I would accept your ruling but until you do I think you are  either mistaken on the history of SFA/SPL Articles or have deliberately misconstrued them for commercial purposes.
Which I’m tempted to say is my guess.
I know, lets see him  produce a written contract between The Rangers Football Club and The Rangers International Football Club entered into post 2012, Then we could  see in terms of which of the two entities based at Ibrox have applied for a UEFA Licence since.
I wonder as well, if he could confirm,  using UEFA terms that the applicant is a club fully responsible for the football team (as most supporters recognised Rangers before liquidation) or is RIFC the company that now has a contractual relationship with The Rangers FC, formed after liquidation and whose membership of the SFA did not begin until August 2015 ?
Here is the relevant UEFA Article (12 ) sent on the basis that Scottish football is subservient to UEFA on matters of football regulations.

Chapter 2: Licence Applicant and Licence

Article 12 – Definition of licence applicant

A licence applicant may only be a football club, i.e. a legal entity fully responsible

for a football team participating in national and international competitions which

either:

a) is a registered member of a UEFA member association and/or its affiliated

league (hereinafter: registered member); or

b) has a contractual relationship with a registered member (hereinafter: football

company).

The membership and the contractual relationship (if any) must have lasted – at

the start of the licence season – for at least three consecutive years. Any

alteration to the club’s legal form or company structure (including, for example,

changing its headquarters, name or club colours, or transferring stakeholdings

between different clubs) during this period in order to facilitate its qualification on

sporting merit and/or its receipt of a licence to the detriment of the integrity of a

competition is deemed as an interruption of membership or contractual

relationship (if any) within the meaning of this provision. 

Perhaps Neil needs to read that again..

Many football clubs across the world have been owned by companies that have gone through insolvency events, including a number where the club became owned by a new company.  Leeds United and Bristol City Football Clubs are but two examples.  I have not heard it suggested that the Leeds United FC currently playing in the EFL is not the same Leeds United FC that won the First Division in 1992. 
Thats because neither club went into liquidation.

 Can I suggest that you do read the judgement of Lord Nimmo Smith and the relevant parts of the SPFL Articles and Rules (available at www.spfl.co.uk) and we can then discuss whether a meeting such as the one you propose would be a good use of your time and mine? 

That would be the Nimmo Smith enquiry that you wanted an independent review of ?

Kind regards,
Neil

Of course, there’s a lot of detail in my responses, but the fundamental question, the one that leaps out at me, is that if Doncaster is, as head of the SPFL, acting in the best interests of all the clubs, does that mean that all the clubs have now accepted that Rangers are the same club, and in the words of Stewart Regan, there’s no point in raking over the coals ? 

We are 180 something days since the compliance officer was asked to look into this and other events concerning allegations of corruption, collusion or just plain incompetence in the corridors of power at Hampden.

He’s either doing a really good job if it, and the report is being prepared properly and professionally, or its done and no one wants to publish it.

Either way, the paying customer, you and I, need to know which it is.

Petition– if you haven’t signed this yet, please do. Its to get Celtic to ask the question on our behalf.

For a club to be allowed to cheat the taxman and run up huge debts to other creditors, which might explain why they can’t get a bank account and have resorted to secured loans, and be allowed to carry on as though nothing is wrong, and indeed to be encouraged to do so by those in charge, is fundamentally wrong and shows that football in Scotland is no longer a sport, but a gigantic money making operation where the customer is routinely fleeced year on year on the pretence of paying to see honest competition.

At the moment, there is no evidence to the contrary, and indeed the tone of Doncasters email is that he, and the clubs, are happy for it to be thus.

 

We’re not going away you know, not until every single one of them involved in the crime and the cover up have been exposed and dealt with.

Its our game, and we are coming to take it back.

Image result for persistence beats resistance

 

 

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Mike Annis
2 years ago

Well done on you and the many others continuing the fight. Sadly the cynic in me feels nothing will be done and noth8ng will change.vested interest are too entrenched and they act with impunity. They are untouchable and sadlynour own Board are equally at fault here.

Daziekanowski's nightclub child
2 years ago

I’m sure Peter Lawwell has been working with others to find a way to expose this but I believe that the SFA/SPFL are hoping that time makes us all forget and ‘move on’. Keep up the good work

Macca
2 years ago

Why are you sure Peter Lawwell is keen to expose this. The silence from Peter is deafening!

Rob O'Keeffe
2 years ago

Ralph,come on,give up,strip the titles,no chance,everybody will be dealt with,ha ha,ha ha……Signed Sir Minty,Rod,WorldClass house builder Milne,Budgie(Nice stand I got out of it),Leanne(even longer holder of Liebrox ST than MadHun),Wattie,Eck,Barry(honest,I’m skint),Dave(me two er too) and all who sailed in the good ship EBT……
P.S.You think it’s the fans’ game,does that include the 50,000 that attend Liebrox?

Brencelt
2 years ago

Great work Richie. Persistence always beats resistance. Eventually

Cortes
2 years ago

Perhaps it’s time to really display the potential of the “green pound” by nominating one of the first round of away games next season for a complete boycott by Celtic supporters. Hit ‘em in the pocket and it’ll aid their thinking processes.

Mike
2 years ago

We alway’s knew that Doncaster would continue with the continuity lie,
he has stated the same lie before, he know’s that he is telling lies, just the same as his Amigo at the SFA, the departed Regan. We can surmise that nearly all of the SPFL chairmen support the lie and the “Moving on” view. Taking aside the vast debts run up by the “Rangers” a morally bankrupt club, whose Directors were all up to their eyes in corruption, lets be clear this was “Fraud”.

That’s bad enough, but for the governing body to aid and abet that “Fraud” and to articulate the continuance lie, is beyond belief.

Where are the voices of the custodians of Celtic, where are the voices of the clubs who were like Celtic, victims of the “Fraud”
why are those voices silent?

All this continuance lie is doing is casting a black cloud over Scottish football, the peoples game, if it is not challenged, then there is NO Scottish football. Its merely a day out at your club, for what? serious competition. No because if the truth is in the shadows, then committed once, it can be committed again.

Well done Ralphy, that’s me clapping you for all your efforts, the same applies to Auldheid and his Res. 12 bhoys, the seekers of the truth and justice for not just Celtic, but for Scottish fitba.

Weered
2 years ago
Reply to  Mike

Mike…is that yer coos clapping in the background I can hear…

Noelskytrot
2 years ago

There’s been fantastic work done by many in exposing the charade that is Zombie FC, but trying to jolt any of the good ol boys to openly admit that they are a new club will never happen. How many emails do you think have been sent to different elements within footballing authorities to prove this? I suspect thousands. With a compliant media and others bolstering the lie of continuation I don’t think it’ll bear any fruition when it comes to this sad state of affairs. The puddle drinkers are Scotland’s establishment club no matter their form. In saying that, we know, they know, but will never, ever admit so. Emotional attachment, a superiority complex and just being huns leads to this shite of we’re the same club. How good would it be if the Res12 folk and others involved could get a satisfactory outcome on this? It would be brilliant but I fear they’ll be shutdown by the hun cabal that resides within Hampden.

charlie
2 years ago

great article ralph we salute you and the bhoys indefatigability ….our day will come

charlie
2 years ago
Reply to  charlie

bet some ae yoos crackpots are thinkin …wer did that daft cunt get yon inde whatever he said word he he ha ha

Weered
2 years ago
Reply to  charlie

Charlie… That’s easy for you to say…

Thomas Mccarthy.
2 years ago

Your are doing great work Ralph
I look forward to all your writing
Thank you

The Budgie
2 years ago

If anyone is found to have breached rules in favour of Liquidated Rangers over Celtic with the uefa license, then get them in court and bankrupt them. Take them for every last penny by way of compensation to Celtic’s shareholders.

Noelskytrot
2 years ago

Charlie, as well as showing how erudite you are you’re also a mind reader. Lol

Weered
2 years ago
Reply to  Noelskytrot

Noelskytrot… Stop with the praise… FFS Charlie will be sipping his Darjeeling or Earl Grey with his pinkie raised next

Noelskytrot
2 years ago
Reply to  Weered

Hahaaaaa, spat my tea out there, Weered. I suspect Chazza has a Basil Rathbone accent and runs about with Harris Tweed clobber on shouting, Ya, Ya dear chaps, those who purport to be fans of the deceased footy club are nothing more than the undead. Lol

charlie
2 years ago
Reply to  Weered

naw buckfast in a china cups mer ma style but if darjeeling or earl grey has alcahol in it ile try anything wance he he

Noelskytrot
2 years ago
Reply to  charlie

Hahaaaa, I had you doon as a LD man anaw, Chazza.

charlie
2 years ago
Reply to  Noelskytrot

a must confess ive partook

John mcghee
2 years ago

Lets start boycotting all cup games and away games from next season lets hurt these corrupt bastards sfa spfl this is the only way something will happen if we boycott cup games away games just give Celtic our money at our home games all they clubs that dont want anything to do with it and blank Celtic fuck them then lets get this boycott going lads only way to hurt they sum at corrupt bastards SFA..hail hail

Noelskytrot
2 years ago

Weered, if there’s no response from Charlie, I think he’ll be attending a boat lake party with Rupert the Bear trousers and a cashmere cricket jumper on. Lol

charlie
2 years ago
Reply to  Noelskytrot
Weered
2 years ago
Reply to  Noelskytrot

Noelskytrot… I bet it suits him sir 🙂

broxburnbhoy
2 years ago

The whole continuity myth is like a plot in a Franz Kafta book or an episode from some mad totalitarian state where you have to believe what your told even though everybody knows its nonsense. The people in power and the media who peddle this myth and repeat it must be capable of just about anything underhand or dishonest because they all know full well the truth of this and the absurdity of it. Shame on them for this, they have failed in two critical functions of a civilized society. One a complete lack of integrity reflecting poorly on their character and two choosing not to report the facts and truth without fear or favor. Shameful!

Auldheid
2 years ago

The over reaching point in this article for me is how UEFA Regulations to uphold integrity and fair play, have been ignored by both SFA and SPL/SPFL (and that is not to dismiss the important point that Doncaster has not looked back far enough in the SFA rule book history in justifying his stance.

Article 12 of UEFA FFP is DESIGNED to STOP a club dumping debt and carrying on as the same club. It is the basis for the Traverso assertion that The Rangers FC/RIFC could not be sanctioned because they are a NEW club/company under Article 12. Club or club/company with a written contract between both is semantically more unimportant than that UEFA see TRFC/TRIFC as “NEW” ie NOT the same.

I would love to see the written contract RFC had with ??? before 2012 which would settle which category of applicant for a UEFA licence they were prior to and including 2012.

Art 12 of FFP refers to detriment to sporting integrity and it is that which Doncaster/SPFL/SFA have chosen to ignore because the commercial imperative (on which Doncaster’s wages depended/s,) was deemed more important to the clubs with Doncaster incentivised to ignore.

On tax overdue and LNS: it is a fact that UEFA under Art 50 will refuse a club a licence if they have unpaid tax at 31 March from the previous year ending 31st December.

UEFA don’t say unless a club can prove that the unpaid tax was not spent on players wages (for obvious how do you prove it reasons.)

No UEFA take it as read that any club with overdue tax at 31 March has gained an advantage over all rival clubs who have paid their tax in full.

LNS has NO authority over UEFA in this matter and the fault that he was able to say what he did is down to the SPL (Doncaster & McKenzie) not seeking guidance from UEFA (and non disclosure of unlawful use of DOS ebts – see later.)

If Doncaster had sought UEFA advice and all material been disclosed none of this nonsense could have happened.

The above is why LNS cannot be allowed to stand because it totally undermines the integrity on which commercial success depends.

That the LNS Commission was also misled by RFC and quite possibly the SFA as well (something that will be causing kittens at Hampden if Comp Off does his job) is yet another reason why the sham needs dismantling and those responsible for foisting it on Scottish football have to go.

So if you haven’t signed the petition urging a report from the Comp Off please take the time to do so.

On a small point of detail:

Where it says ” The Rangers FC, formed after liquidation and whose membership of the SFA did not begin until August 2015 ?”

a more accurate statement would be:

The Rangers FC, formed after liquidation and whose SFA Membership only satisfied UEFA FFP 3 years eligibility requirement in August 2015. (That is the transfer of SFA Membership contrived under the 5 Way Agreement, did not confer continuity of SFA Membership as UEFA see it.)

Macca
2 years ago
Reply to  Auldheid

Fantastic detail (as ever) Thank you Auldheid

Weered
2 years ago
Reply to  Auldheid

Auldheid… So much detail in this… Probably hours of research HH

Mike
2 years ago

What happens if no acceptable explanation is offered by the Compliance Officer.
If they the SFA, refer it to UEFA, as I understand it, the five year period to act on it has elapsed, could the SFA/SPFL just hand it over to UEFA knowing that it would just be kicked into the long grass. How could the Celtic board justify that to the Res.12 bhoys.
Knowing that Lawwell is on the UEFA game board, does Celtic have NO representation at the SFA/SPFL, if so why cant other board members not be included.
The thing is, there is no statue of limitations on FRAUD, why if Celtic and other clubs lost monies because of “Rangers” cheating, where are the Police, Celtic lost money, why can we not bring them in to investigate, this fraud.

Auldheid
2 years ago
Reply to  Mike

There is no limitation if fraud is involved. Its been checked.

Noelskytrot
2 years ago

Auldheid, i’ve nothing but admiration for people like yourself who are doing their best to make sure that those responsible for this charade are held accountable and wish you and the others well but I suspect that there won’t be any positive outcomes for all the effort. I don’t have the same knowledge or understanding of what’s went on, but what I do know is when it comes to lots of finance being involved and cupboard doors to be kept firmly closed the cabal are in my opinion, very good at this. Again, I wish you good luck in what you’re doing. Here’s hoping that something gives.

Auldheid
2 years ago
Reply to  Noelskytrot

This story I find inspiring:

https://eventsforchange.wordpress.com/2011/06/05/the-starfish-story-one-step-towards-changing-the-world/

as does knowing that they definitely cheated which will be made clear on line chapter and verse unless the Comp Off can provide evidence to the contrary.

It will also be shown how the SFA were wrong or dishonest in responses to Celtic shareholders. The consequences of that are unknown.

Now folk might walk away from the beach shaking their heads but somebody might decide this is a world that needs changing.

Stevie D
2 years ago
Reply to  Auldheid

This doesn’t need to be a complicated argument. Rangers went through over a decade in which you’d be hard pushed to find a registered player (improperly registered is unregistered – full stop!) during which they cheated their way to umpteen titles. What’s so hard to understand? If clubs are getting booted out of cups for minor errors on team sheets how could this Buster Keaton go on for so long?

Barrebu
2 years ago

All very interesting ways to discredit Doncaster’s view but the simple one is this

“The distinction between a Club and the entity (usually a limited company) that owns and controls the Club is inherent in SPFL Articles and Rules (and the Rules of the SPL prior to the merger with the SFL in 2013) and the Articles of the Scottish FA and was reflected in the judgements of Lord Nimmo Smith and his Independent Commission in relation to Rangers.”

What about a club not owned by a limited company, say Queens Park for instance? What is their separation and if they go into liquidation, how does the club survive? My apologies if Queens Park are a limited company but the principle applies to every amateur club entity, run as a legal club or society and not an Ltd.if any Ltd goes bust, if any club or society goes bust, they disappear. How does Doncaster square that circle?

Ltd companies can own clubs or other Ltds but when a club or society chosesmtom have status to,Ltd it does not separate. It just changes status. To separate they would have told formally and create separate entities. A club 8s a legal entity in its own right. Clubs can have accounts, articles of association a treasurer, a chairman etc. Entities can change status but they still exist. Ifmtye club is owned an operated by an Ltd or Plc then fine but club still exists as a club legally.

Mike
2 years ago
Reply to  Barrebu

As I understand it, In 1899 “Rangers” became incorporated, when any club incorporates, it becomes a company, there is not a club anymore, it can be called a club, but it is now a company.
LNS also said, a club does not have a separate legal entity.

Monti
2 years ago

Brilliant stuff Ralph,
Some place this Scotland eh?

Liquidation is not the end…it’s all mental man!

Brian
2 years ago

That is a laudable thought but reality is that it will never happen. We need to think of other ways to hit sfa/spfl

Macca
2 years ago

One of your best pieces Ralph. Thank you. So sad that our game (sic) is so currupt. Sadder still that Peter L appears happy enough not to put his hand up and be counted here. Shame on him

TAMBHOY
2 years ago

Only way anything will be done is a TOTAL FANS BYCOTT OF AWAY GAMES HH

Bgbhoy
2 years ago

Games off

You mad about ETims or just plain mad? Why not buy the t-shirt at http://etims.spreadshirt.co.uk/