Celtic, Scottish Football, SFA

The Extremely Well-Hidden Hand?


“You want me to ask the SFA and UEFA about Resolution 12?”

Good Afternoon.

This blog was promoted by the latest piece from one of my more celebrated personas, Phil Mac Giolla Bhain. It was about the Celtic Board’s attitude towards Resolution 12. And it was troubling, because it suggested that Celtic – perhaps most notably Peter Lawwell – hope it will go away.

Here is a link to the piece:

The long road from Resolution 12

Regular readers will know that I have been highly critical of the apparent unwillingness of the Celtic board to pursue basic questions about whether licences for Scottish clubs to participate in the world’s premier club competition have been handed out according to the rules. Questions whose answers might tell us whether

  • Celtic shareholders have seen their club deprived of European revenue; and
  • Celtic fans were deprived of seeing their side play in the Champions League.

These are fundamental issues which ought to trouble any diligent football club board. And if they aren’t worried then they may as well rip up their business plan, and stop trying to win domestic competitions to gain entry into Europe. They may as well simply run a heritage-based operation by fielding a team – any old team – in the Hoops, and focus solely on celebrating the past. There would be no point building a strong side and trying to participate in Europe because no one associated with the club could ever be confident that the footballing authorities wouldn’t somehow deprive it of a place.

What Is The Point Of The Celtic Board?

I have been equally disparaging of the SFA’s disgraceful unwillingness to answer the questions put forward by Celtic shareholders.

Mastermind (SFA Edition)

Resolution 12: A Letter To Stewart Regan

As far as I am concerned (speaking as a shareholder and a fan) there is an onus on the Celtic Board to get to the bottom of the issues raised by Resolution 12. No ifs, no buts. Even if that means ‘rocking the boat’ of domestic football politics and/or causing embarrassment to the club.

I am – in particular – looking at you, Peter Lawwell.

It is not as if Mr Lawwell doesn’t have a platform and a profile which could be used to obtain clarity from the SFA in the interests of all its member clubs, including Celtic.

It is one of the running jokes of Scottish football that Peter Lawwell runs the sport. His hand is apparently involved in every initiative. He is always giving a little nudge here and there to ensure that things develop to Celtic’s advantage.

Anyone with the ability to think rationally, and with experience of the administration of Scottish football will know that this theory is little more than paranoid nonsense. Delusion on the part of folk upset that every atom in the universe is not entirely dedicated to facilitating a trophy-winning, Ibrox-based juggernaut.

However, it would be ridiculous to suggest that Peter Lawwell has no power or influence in the game. Indeed the Herald listed him at number 44 in the 2015 edition of its “Scotland’s Power 100” feature.

Nicola Sturgeon, RBS chief Ross McEwan and Alex Salmond top the Herald’s Power 100 list in 2015

Lawwell’s entry says the following:

“48 Peter Lawwell

The most powerful man in Scottish football, 56-year-old Lawwell is chief executive of Celtic.He also has considerable influence in the corridors of the Scottish Football Association, and that influence extends to Europe as a member of the European Club Association. He played a significant role in salvaging crucial TV income for the SPL after Rangers’ financial collapse and helped Celtic balance their finances and remain successful.

Least likely to say: ‘Spend, spend, spend.'”

And the Herald’s 2013 list of the most influential figures in Scottish Football had the Celtic Chief Executive at number 1.

Peter Lawwell heads list of 30 most influential figures in Scottish football

[NB it is worth noting (for comedy purposes) that Charles Green was listed at number 2 in that list!!!]

A quick look at the SFA website confirms that Peter Lawwell is a member of its Board:

And is also a member of the SFA’s Professional Game Board:

We can also find heavy traces of Lawwell in the operation of the European Club Association, which describes itself thus:

“The European Club Association is the sole, independent body directly representing football clubs at European level. It is the authoritative, independent voice of European club football, the lifeblood of the European game.”

Lawwell is a member of the ECA’s Executive Board alongside some famous names:

I am no expert in the internal machinations of Celtic Football Club, the SFA, or European-level bodies. However it seems blindingly obvious to me that should Mr Lawwell decide that speaking out is in the interests of

  • the shareholders for whom he works,
  • the fans who pay to watch the team he helps to assemble; and
  • the wider Scottish football family who deserve equal treatment for all according to the rules

.. then he has the wherewithal to do it.
As well as a financial and moral responsibility.

Are you up for it Peter?