Scottish Football Association president Campbell Ogilvie has admitted he thought about stepping down earlier this year following criticism over his association with Rangers’ financial issues.
Oglivie was a director and secretary at Ibrox between 1978 and 2005 and found himself compromised in his new role at the SFA after admitting receiving £95,000 from the club’s Employee Benefits Trust [EBT] payment system. This scheme was the subject of a first tier tax tribunal over payments made to the club’s staff from 2001-10 with a verdict finally ruling in Rangers’ favour a fortnight ago.
Ogilvie removed himself from any decision-making over the future of Rangers when the club was placed in administration in February and he has admitted that he was frustrated by how it impacted on his role at the SFA. “I was compromised in the context I had worked with Rangers previously and, like any committee that operates within the SFA, if you have been with a club and there are issues coming up that are relative to that club, you have to stand out the room,” he said yesterday. “Effectively on that one subject I stood out the room in the region of six months. But there were plenty of other things at the association that took my time up; a lot of the areas we don’t often hear a lot about and a lot of these are building towards the future.
“You say compromised, a lot of it is perception,” he added. “I tried to put on the table what my involvement was at the time. If you are talking about association, I was at the club at the time up until 2005, albeit secretary until 2002. By association I was pulled into it. When you say stand down, yes, I had thought about it but I volunteered to stand aside in relation to the Rangers topic. I had to do that. But there are a lot more issues going on at the association, not just the Rangers case. That’s why I thought it was important that I tried to carry on that work. I was fully employed in other areas.”
Oldco Rangers won their case because two of the three judges on the panel agreed that most payments were loans rather than taxable income. Asked if he was expecting to have to pay back his EBT loan, Ogilvie replied “That’s a matter entirely between myself and the trust. That’s purely a personal matter. I was open at the outset. Had it not been for the football background I wouldn’t even have been answering these questions and I wouldn’t expect to ask you a question about your personal financial arrangements.”
A Scottish Premier League investigation into alleged undisclosed payments to Rangers players from 2000 to 2011 is continuing and will be heard by an independent commission led by chairman Lord Nimmo Smith early next year.
Ogilvie admitted that he was relieved he could now concentrate unhindered on his responsibilities at the SFA. He confirmed he will stand for a second two-year term as president, and will put his name forward for re-election in February.
“I know a lot of people have felt that I should have stood down in any case [over the Rangers issue], but I fully intend to stand again at this stage. At the end of the day, it is a democratic society. If the clubs do not want me then fine, I have no problem about standing aside. Someone else can take it on.”
Meanwhile, Ogilvie has hinted that the new Scotland manager need not be a Scot, as the SFA’s search for a replacement for Craig Levein continues. The SFA have targeted appointing a new manager in time for Scotland’s next competitive game, against Wales in March.
“We want to bring in the best possible manager for the Scottish national team,” said Ogilvie. “From wherever, we want the best person for the job.The process is underway.
“We are not sitting back not doing anything.”