Celtic, Scottish Football, SFA, SPFL

A Letter to Peter Lawwell…


Good Morning.

The Clumpany has written to Celtic Football Club about the ‘Big Tax Case’. [And before anyone asks… yes I did see last night’s calamitous European result. But I have an amazing ability to hold more than one thought in my head at a time!].

It will be interesting to see whether I get a reply. Other fans (including those of other clubs) may wish to think about writing in similar terms. 

Please feel to draw from my letter and share it on fan forums if you think it is useful.

Dear Mr Lawwell.

I wanted to express my grave concern about the outcome and implications of the so-called ‘Rangers Big Tax Case’.

Assuming that the judgement in favour of HMRC is not appealed and overturned by the UK Supreme Court, then the implication is that Celtic and the rest of Scottish Football were playing in a rigged game for the best part of a decade. One of the competitors had a colossal unfair advantage by being able to employ players on the back of not paying the tax due on their wages.

This meant that myself and thousands of others were unwittingly paying millions of pounds into a grotesque parody of sport. It meant we were most likely deprived of more happy memories and wonderful trophy-winning days. It also meant that the strategy and investment of Celtic’s Board on behalf of its shareholders was being systematically undermined by ‘questionable’ methods.

And it stinks.

I don’t doubt that the outcome of the previous Lord Nimmo-Smith Commission into side-letters will muddy the waters in some way (and may be used by some in a spurious ‘double-jeopardy’-based argument for taking no action). However, let us be clear: confirmation of players being employed without paying due tax is something new. And something that needs to be considered by proper inquiry and disciplinary processes.

Should the SFA and SPFL fail to take action it will be a shameful admission that the concept of sport counts for very little in Scottish football. There will be no moral hazard and no justice for all of us who love the game and who were misled for the best part of a decade.

As the Chief Executive of Celtic, I hope you are making the strongest possible representations to the SFA and SPFL (and if necessary UEFA) over the issue of Rangers’ apparently stolen titles and trophies. I also hope that you are speaking to other clubs to build a groundswell of support in favour of disciplinary action being taken.

As members of the SFA and SPFL Boards, I hope that you and Eric Riley will vote in favour of the instigation of disciplinary proceedings against Rangers. I note that the current incarnation of the Ibrox club maintains that the Big Tax Case outcome has nothing to do with them, while still proclaiming that they are the proud owners of 54 titles and numerous other trophies. This obfuscation cannot be allowed to stand in the way of justice being done, and being seen to be done.

I have written a summary of what the Big Tax Case ruling means to fans of all Scottish Clubs,which you can read here https://theclumpany.wordpress.com/2015/11/04/the-biggest-lie-of-all/

I have no doubt that many fans of all clubs will vote with their feet and wallets if Rangers (IL)’s apparent systematic cheating is not addressed ‘without fear or favour’.

I know I will. Because it would mean that the game is utterly worthless.

Thank you for your time.