Is Stewart Regan, Chief Executive Officer of the Scottish Football Association a DIDDY?
Disingenuous: Incompetent: Dishonest: Duped? You decide.
Ladies and gentlemen of the Scottish Football Monitor sorority/fraternity jury, who want an honest game, honestly governed, are invited to pass judgement on Stewart Regan, the CEO of the SFA.
The main stream media are finally asking questions of Regan’s performance in that role, but based on a rather shallow (by comparison to what he has presided over) single issue of the recruitment of a national team coach, and not his character.
Maybe we can help the three monkeys media men (you know who they are) push for change at the SFA. How? By highlighting for them the appropriate response to Regan’s performance on the basis of what follows if he really is a DIDDY.
Disingenuous is defined as:
not candid or sincere, typically by pretending that one knows less about something than one really does.
Evidence of such can be found in the written exchanges with the SFA that Celtic initiated on 27th July, and continued on 18 August, 21 August, 4th September and 7th September 2017; and published on the Celtic web site with SFA agreement at http://cdn.celticfc.net/assets/downloads/SFA_Correspondence.pdf
This from the SFA letter of 18th August 2017:
Comment: the statements are not alleged, they are a matter of court record and if untrue represent perjury.
…. And then this from subsequent SFA letter of 4th September 2017
Both paras give the impression that the SFA were unaware that Rangers had accepted the liability without question before 31st March 2011. Yet the SFA’s attention was drawn to this fact in July 2015 by lawyers acting on behalf of Celtic shareholders as follows:
- Our information in respect of this £2.8M in unpaid tax is that Rangers PLC had been alerted in November 2010 by HMRC that they would be pursuing payment of this exact sum.
- From that date onwards, the Directors of Rangers PLC should have known there was a potential liability to HMRC for back taxes specifically relating to payments made to Tore Andre Flo and Ronald De Boer. These sums became an accepted liability in March 2011.
- Matters had been brought to a head on 23 February 2011 when HMRC presented Rangers with a written case for payment of back tax owed in respect of Flo and De Boer. As your department may well be aware, that case for payment involved hitherto undisclosed side letters which were found to be an adjunct to their declared and disclosed contracts of employment.
- Those contracts of employment were, of course, disclosed to the Scottish Football authorities (including the SFA) as part of the necessary compliance procedures followed by all clubs and demanded by both the SFA and UEFA.
- Additionally when replying to the initial enquiries by HMRC in 2005 regarding these alleged side letters and ancillary agreements, the then Group Tax Manager of Murray International Holdings (MIH) acting for Rangers PLC on tax matters, apparently advised HMRC that no such agreements or side letters existed.
- It ultimately proved that these representations to HMRC were completely untrue and without foundation. The tax Inspectors concerned in turn saw these false misrepresentations as being an attempt to simply hide the true financial position and an attempt to avoid paying the taxes which were lawfully due on the contracts of the players concerned.
- As mentioned earlier, Rangers PLC accepted liability on 21st March 2011 for unpaid tax having taken legal advice on the matter.
- In turn, HMRC then chose to formally pursue payment of the back taxes and penalties in relation to these two players, all in terms of HMRC’s debt recovery procedures under what is known as regulation 80.
- Prior to 31st March 2011, there was clear knowledge within Rangers Football Club of the liability to make payment for these back taxes and, as can be seen from the attached documentation, by 20th May 2011 HMRC had served formal assessments and demands on Rangers PLC for the sums concerned.
The impression given by Regan’s reply to Celtic is that the first time the SFA were aware there might be an issue on granting was in June 2017 as result of testimony at the Craig Whyte trial. This is clearly not the case and the only explanation that would clear Regan of being disingenuous is a that he was incompetent as in not knowing what the SFA already had in their possession, however a bit more on being disingenuous before looking at incompetency.
The above extract of the exchange of 4th September where Regan mentions Celtic being satisfied on the UEFA Licence 2011 issue was challenged by Celtic on 7th September 2017 as follows:
“on the matter of the Licensing Decision in 2011 it is not accurate to describe Celtic as having been “satisfied” at any stage. Like everyone else we were in a position of responding on the basis of information available to us. In correspondence, Celtic raised continuing concerns as did a number of Celtic shareholders.”
In dealing with the Celtic shareholders the SFA and Regan appeared keen to welcome from the early days of correspondence that only the process after granting i.e. the monitoring phase of June and September was being questioned and not the granting itself. That was the case initially but as new information emerged in respect of what UEFA judged to be an overdue payable, upheld by the Court of Arbitration on Sport in 2013, focus swung back in 2016 to the significance of what the SFA had been told by the Res 12 lawyer in July 2015. However the emphasis the SFA put on shareholders accepting the grant was in order was puzzling at the time. The suspicion since is that the SFA did not want the circumstances around the granting investigated and the SFA and Regan were being disingenuous in their attempts to keep that aspect under wraps. especially when their defence of not acting as required in 2011 was based around when the SFA responsibilities on granting ended and UEFA’s on monitoring began. (for more on that read the Incompetence charge)
In response to a separate point in Regan’s letter of 18th August about the QC advice on there not being a rule in place at the time to use to sanction Rangers or the limited sanctions available to a Judicial Panel, Peter Lawwell responded on 21st August to Regan’s disingenuousness as follows:
” In your letter you refer to advice from Senior Counsel that;
‘there was very little chance of the Scottish FA succeeding in relation to any compliant regarding this matter and that, even if successful, any sanctions available to a Judicial Panel would be very limited in their scope.’
As I said in my last letter Celtic considers that this misses the point. The fact that disciplinary sanctions may not be secured is in our view not a reason for Scottish football to ignore the opportunity to review and possibly learn lessons from the events in question.”
Although they didn’t refer to it in that reply of 21st August, Celtic could have pointed out the following catch all rule in existence in 2011 (and presumably earlier) under Article 5 in SFA handbook.
5. Obligations and duties of Members (where all members shall)
5.1 Observe the principles of loyalty, integrity and sportsmanship in accordance with the rules of fair play.
This Article could have been used to demonstrate sporting dishonesty by Rangers FC. However by recognising this Regan would be on a collision course with an issue that he wanted to avoid at all costs;
whom to sanction? Rangers FC? The Rangers FC? Those currently at The Rangers FC who were officials or on the Board of Rangers FC in 2011?
Consequently, the SFA chose to hide behind QC advice – but to protect whom? Not the integrity of the game. Here is a suggestion to restore it:
That the Rangers FC admit that the trophies won in the EBT years were won as a result of clear wrongdoing (the wrongdoing Regan was so desperate to say never occurred – see later), and that The Rangers give them up. Surrendering them is not being defeated, it is simply the right thing to do for the game AND for Rangers to restore some integrity to themselves.
If they want to lay claim to their history, lay claim to all of it, just be honourable and act with dignity and we can all move on.
In summary then, Regan is being disingenuous by pretending to know a lot less than he does – and on that note the case of disingenuousness ends.
Incompetence: is defined as;
lack of ability to do something successfully or as it should be done:
Whilst a CEO would not be expected to know the minutiae of any process, he would be expected to seek such information before going public to defend the SFA’s position.
On 23 October 2013, Stewart Regan had an interview with Richard Gordon on BBC Sportsound. Excerpts from it can be heard at http://www.bbc.com/sport/scotland/24685973 . Interestingly or strangely, the following excerpt regarding the lines of responsibility between the SFA and UEFA fell on the BBC cutting room floor.
In it Regan is saying that the 31st March is a key date and AFTER that date, the SFA having granted the licence on evidence provided to the SFA (now under Compliance Officer investigation) have no more responsibility in the matter. Richard Gordon asks Regan to confirm that after 31st March there is no other course of action the SFA could have taken. To which Regan answers “Correct”.
This understanding however does not stand up when compared to the information supplied to the Res 12 Lawyer on 8th June 2016 by Andrea Traverso, Head of UEFA Club Licensing and so ultimate authority on the matter.
That letter (more famous for its new club/company designation of the current incumbents at Ibrox), confirmed that the UEFA Licence was not granted until the 19th April 2011, so Regan was wrong on his dates, but even more significantly UEFA stated that the list of clubs granted a licence was not submitted to them until 26th May 2011.
This raises the obvious question (though not so obviously to Regan);
” how can UEFA start monitoring until they know who to monitor?”
More significantly, and one for the SFA Compliance chap to consider, should the licence have been granted, irrespective of what “evidence” the SFA Licensing Committee acted on in March 2011 , when it was obvious from a HMRC Letter of 20th May 2011 to Rangers, that HMRC were pursuing payment of a tax liability which could no longer by dint of being pursued, be described as “potential” which was the justification for granting at 31st March/19th April?
Here ends the case of incompetence.
lack of honesty or integrity: defined as disposition to defraud or deceive.
The line between incompetence and dishonesty is a thin one and so difficult to judge, however some discernment is possible from observation over time.
On 29 March 2012 Stewart Regan was interviewed by Alex Thomson of Channel Four news, a transcript of which with comments can be found on a previous SFM blog of 8th March 2015 at
It is a long article, but two points emerge from it.
Stewart Regan bases his defence of SFA inaction on the fact that at the time of the interview no wrongdoing had occurred . Regan emphasises this rather a lot. Had he been an honest man, he would have confessed that this defence fell when the Supreme Court ruled that wrong doing in respect of Rangers’ use of EBTs had occurred.
This extract from Regan’s letter of 4th September 2017 beggars belief in light of his position on wrongdoing during interview with Alex Thomson.
” The reality is that the final decision in “The Big Tax Case” signalled closure for many involved in the game. It is hard to believe that a “wide review” no matter how well intentioned and how wide ranging could ever bring closure in the minds of every Scottish football fan and stakeholder.”
How on earth did the Supreme Court decision signal closure to Regan given his emphasis on no wrong doing?
Had Regan (in response to Celtic in August and September 2017) acknowledged that wrongdoing had taken place, then that at least would have been honest, but the defence of not acting was on the grounds that admitting dishonesty would be raking over old coals. An honest man would have accepted that the situation had changed, and some form of enquiry was necessary, but instead Regan fell back on unpublished advice from a QC.
The second point is a new one. Regan was asked by Alex Thomson in March 2012
AT: But did anybody at any stage at the SFA say to you I have a concern that we need an independent body, that the SPL can’t and shouldn’t handle this?
SR: Well under the governance of football the SPL run the competition
AT: I’m not asking, I’m saying did anybody come to you at any stage and say that to you. Anybody?
SR: No they didn’t as far as the SPL’s processes is concerned. The SPL ,
At time of interview in March 2012 this was true but 2 months later on 25th May 2012 the issue of a Judicial review WAS raised by Celtic
for the same reasons that Regan had ignored in 2011 as the LNS Commissioning proceeded apace and Regan continued to ignore in the 2017 correspondence. An honest man would have recognised that his truth to Thomson in March was no longer true in May 2012 and acted. He didn’t.
These do not appear to be acts of an honest man, rather they appear to represent the behaviour of a man who is being dishonest with himself; although perhaps Regan was simply duped?
Duped is defined as;
“ If a person dupes you, they trick you into doing something or into believing something which is not true.”
In his e mail of 7th December to Ali Russell, then Rangers CEO , after a discussion on the 6th December 2011 with Andrew Dickson, Rangers Football Administrator and SFA License Committee member in 2011, Regan set out the basis on which the SFA granted a UEFA License in 2011.
This was a letter from Ranger’s auditors Grant Thornton describing the wee tax liability of £2.8m as a potential one with the implication that it was subject to dispute, an implication carried into the Interim Accounts of 1st April 2011 signed by Rangers FC Chairman Alistair Johnson.
The true status of the liability and the veracity of statements made that justified the UEFA License being granted are under investigation by the SFA Compliance Officer.
However Regan’s belief that the liability was disputed and therefore hadn’t crystalized, is supported more or less by his Tweets at
The case that Regan was duped is a plausible one, at least up to 2015, but I would contend that the SFA responses to Res 12 lawyers after July 2015 suggest that whilst the SFA may have been duped initially, they subsequently appeared more concerned with keeping events beyond public scrutiny (like the effect on the licence issue of HMRC sending in Sheriff’s Officers to collect a £2.8m tax liability in August 2011).
At this point, based on the foregoing –
You the SFM jury are asked to decide: Is Stewart Regan a DIDDY?
Copy paste this link for GUILTY: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ejizOV-IQEM
And this for NOT GUILTY: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NwXGdgFZmNk
The Sin of Omission by Margaret Sangster ends:
And it’s not the things you do, dear,
It’s the things you leave undone,
Which gives you a bit of heartache
At the setting of the sun.