Yesterday, “rangers ” were handed a licence to compete in European football,if there is any, next season.
This despite several concerns about their adherence to the rules. One “ongoing concern “, to be precise.
If they are allowed to participate, then the game is a bogey.
As you can see from this article, by Phil MacGhiollabhan, there are questions to be asked, and at least he’s asking them.
It’s all over the papers….headlines such as ” Another scandal in Scottish football ” , “Cheats can prosper ” , “They’re at it again ” and so on…
Oh, hang on, they’re not, are they ?
First of all, what did “rangers ” have to do to get a licence ?
Article 13, UEFA rules on club licencing…
1 The licence applicant must provide the licensor with:
a) all necessary information and/or relevant documents to fully demonstrate that
the licensing obligations are fulfilled; and
b) any other document relevant for decision-making by the licensor.
2 This includes information on the reporting entity/entities in respect of which
sporting, infrastructure, personnel and administrative, legal and financial
information is required to be provided.
3 Any event occurring after the submission of the licensing documentation to the
licensor representing a significant change to the information previously submitted
must be promptly notified to the licensor (including a change of the licence
applicant’s legal form, legal group structure or identity).
The licensor is the SFA.
Clubs which qualify for the UEFA club competitions on sporting merit must obtain
a licence issued by their licensor according to the national licensing regulations,
except where Article 15 applies.
2 A licence expires without prior notice at the end of the season for which it was
3 A licence cannot be transferred.
4 A licence may be withdrawn by the licensor’s decision-making bodies if:
a) any of the conditions for the issuing of a licence are no longer satisfied; or
b) the licensee violates any of its obligations under the national club licensing
5 As soon as a licence withdrawal is envisaged, the UEFA member association must
inform the UEFA administration accordingly.
There then follows a list of conditions, most of which are basic contractual stuff…oh, and this one, which explains the Anyone Everyone nonsense of recent weeks…
The licence applicant must establish and apply a policy to tackle racism and
discrimination in football in line with UEFA’s 10-point plan on racism as defined in the
UEFA Safety and Security Regulations.
then there’s the financial stuff…
Annual financial statements in respect of the statutory closing date prior to the deadline for submission of the application to the licensor and prior to the deadline for submission of the list of licensing decisions to UEFA must be prepared and submitted.
2 Annual financial statements must be audited by an independent auditor as defined in Annex V.
3 The annual financial statements must consist of:
a) a balance sheet;
b) a profit and loss account;
c) a cash flow statement;
d) notes, comprising a summary of significant accounting policies and other
explanatory notes; and
e) a financial review by management.
4 The annual financial statements must meet the minimum disclosure requirements as set out in Annex VI and the accounting principles as set out in Annex VII.
Comparative figures in respect of the prior statutory closing date must be provided.
5 If the minimum requirements for the content and accounting as set out in paragraph 4 above are not met in the annual financial statements, then the licence applicant must prepare supplementary information in order to meet the minimum
information requirements that must be assessed by an independent auditor as defined in Annex V.
Article 47bis – Publication of financial information
The licence applicant must publish on its website or on the website of its licensor by the date (which cannot be later than the date of the submission of the list of licensing decision to the UEFA administration) and in the form communicated by the licensor:
a) the total amount paid in the latest reporting period to or for the benefit of agents/intermediaries; and
b) the last audited annual financial information assessed by the licensor.
Financial statements for the interim period
1 If the statutory closing date of the licence applicant is more than six months before the deadline for submission of the list of licensing decisions to UEFA, then additional financial statements covering the interim period must be prepared and submitted.
2 The interim period starts the day immediately after the statutory closing date and ends on a date within the six months preceding the deadline for submission of the list of licensing decisions to UEFA.
3 Interim financial statements must be reviewed or audited by an independent auditor as defined in Annex V.
4 The interim financial statements must consist of:
a) a balance sheet as of the end of the interim period and a comparative balance
sheet as of the end of the immediately preceding full financial year;
b) a profit and loss account for the interim period, with comparative profit and loss accounts for the comparable interim period of the immediately preceding financial year;
c) a cash flow statement for the interim period, with a comparative statement for the comparable interim period of the immediately preceding financial year;
d) specific explanatory notes.
5 If the licence applicant did not have to prepare interim financial statements for the comparable interim period of the immediately preceding financial year, comparative figures may refer to the figures from the financial statements of the immediately preceding full financial year.
6 The interim financial statements must meet the minimum disclosure requirements as set out in Annex VI.
Additional line items or notes must be included if their omission would make the interim financial statements misleading.
7 The interim financial statements must follow the same accounting policies as those followed for the preparation of the annual financial statements, except for 30 accounting policy changes made after the date of the most recent full annual financial statements that are to be reflected in the next annual financial statements – in which case details must be disclosed in the interim financial statements.
8 If the minimum requirements for the content and accounting as set out in paragraphs 6 and 7 above are not met in the interim financial statements, then the licence applicant must prepare supplementary information in order to meet the minimum information requirements that must be assessed by an independent auditor as defined in Annex V.
In addition, there can be no overdue payables to other clubs, their own employees, and of course, the taxman.
But the key is here, in Article 52.
This is the bit that should have the media asking questions, because based on what follows, I cannot see how they how they could have possibly qualified…, given that on their last set of proper accounts a going concern was notied, and they made reference to £10m being needed just to see out the season.
The licence applicant must prepare and submit future financial information in order to demonstrate to the licensor its ability to continue as a going concern until the end of the licence season if it has breached any of the indicators defined in paragraph 2 below.
2 If a licence applicant exhibits any of the conditions described by indicator 1 or 2, it is considered in breach of the indicator:
a) Indicator 1: Going concern
The auditor’s report in respect of the annual or interim financial statements submitted in accordance with Articles 47 and 48 includes, regarding the going concern, either a key audit matter or a qualified opinion/conclusion.
b) Indicator 2: Negative equity
The annual financial statements (including, where required, the supplementary information) submitted in accordance with Article 47 disclose a net liabilities position (negative equity) that has deteriorated relative to the comparative figure contained in the previous year’s annual financial statements, or the interim financial statements submitted in accordance with Article 48 (including, where required, the supplementary information) disclose a net liabilities position (negative equity) that has deteriorated relative to the comparative
figure at the preceding statutory closing date.
3 Future financial information must cover the period commencing immediately after the later of the statutory closing date of the annual financial statements or, if applicable, the balance sheet date of the interim financial statements, and it must cover at least the entire licence season.
4 Future financial information consists of:
a) a budgeted profit and loss account, with comparative figures for the immediately preceding financial year and interim period (if applicable);
b) a budgeted cash flow, with comparative figures for the immediately preceding financial year and interim period (if applicable);
c) explanatory notes, including a brief description of each of the significant assumptions (with reference to the relevant aspects of historic financial and other information) that have been used to prepare the budgeted profit and loss account and cash flow statement, as well as of the key risks that may affect the future financial results.
5 Future financial information must be prepared, as a minimum, on a quarterly basis.
6 Future financial information must be prepared on a consistent basis with the audited annual financial statements and follow the same accounting policies as those applied for the preparation of the annual financial statements, except for 35 accounting policy changes made after the date of the most recent annual financial statements that are to be reflected in the next annual financial statements – in which case details must be disclosed.
7 Future financial information must meet the minimum disclosure requirements as set out in Annex VI and the accounting principles as set out in Annex VII.
Additional line items or notes must be included if they provide clarification or if their omission would make the future financial information misleading.
8 Future financial information with the assumptions upon which they are based must be approved by management and this must be evidenced by way of a brief statement and signature on behalf of the executive body of the reporting entity.
All of that, and more, most of which makes the decision even more, er, strange, is in here..
The SFA have ignored this, just like they ignored a crystallised tax payable back in the days of the old club.
If Celtic…and the other clubs who make up the SPFL do not act, and the new club compete in europe next season, then we have learned nothing from the previous episode.
We will be allowing one entity to breach the rules and destroy any integrity that was left in the game, and when that happens, fans , sponsors , advertisers and investors simply put their money somewhere else.
If I’m wrong, and when the Ibrox pitch was dug up they found the roots of a magic money tree, then I apologisw unreservedly for blackening the name of the SFa and the others in their little fiefdom.
I would be mightily surprised if I am, though.
And even more surprised if those at the SPFL, those in the media and those at Ibrox could show me how.
I think we know why they can’t, and if they think that those who actually pay for Scottish football are going to put up with it again, they too, will be mightily surprised.
It’s time now to make our voices heard.
Football is our game, not theirs.