Stewart Regan: Celtic only club from 108 to oppose SFA's stance

Celtic are the only one of the Scottish Football Association's 108 member clubs to oppose its decision not to support a review into the Rangers tax case, according to its chief executive Stewart Regan.
Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell. Picture: Mark Runnacles/Getty ImagesCeltic chief executive Peter Lawwell. Picture: Mark Runnacles/Getty Images
Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell. Picture: Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

The SFA wrote to member clubs last Thursday to announce it would not take part in a review proposed by the Scottish Professional Football League board which included an examination of “the way Scottish football’s authorities have dealt with non-payment of tax by clubs”. The SFA claimed ‘’raking over the coals’’ would damage the game.

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Celtic responded with a statement describing the review as “essential” and that not to do so would represent “a failure in transparency, accountability and leadership”.

The SFA did confirm that compliance officer Tony McGlennan will investigate whether Rangers should have been granted a licence by UEFA to enter European competition in 2011.

Regan reaffirmed the stance of the SFA at Hampden Park on Monday and said: “Closure is a difficult thing for some people. I don’t ever think there will be truly closure on this issue.

“It is too emotive and too many issues have arisen over the years.

“All I can say is that we are acting on behalf of 108 members. I wrote to all of our members last week and invited them to discuss any aspect of my letter to them when we notified them of the board’s decision.

“I haven’t had a single email, a single phone call or a single letter from anyone other than clearly Celtic Football Club and the SPFL.

“So as far as the wider membership, 108 members, we are on the right track as far as those members are concerned.

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“Our board made a decision that we felt we had gone as far as we can in dealing with all of the various matters which deal with Rangers since 2011.

“At every stage of the process we have had independent legal advice, some of the finest legal minds in Scotland; four QCs, three Law Lords supporting us, two independent directors on our board, an independent panel, a compliance officer that was actually dealing at arm’s length with disciplinary matters, so at all stages of the process independence has been involved.

“We feel that we have arrived at the decision which is in the best interests of Scottish football.”

Regan denied that the disagreement with Celtic, and the club’s chief executive Peter Lawwell, had become personal and also did not see it as an attack on his authority.

He said: “I have a very good relationship with Peter Lawwell. I was with him at the Champions League draw a few weeks ago when the various exchanges were taking place.

“I understand his position. He is doing what is right for Celtic Football Club, he has a fiduciary duty to his club so I don’t think it is personal.

“I fully understand why Celtic have done what they have.

“I report to the board and as I said they are doing what is in the best interests of 108 members and none of those members bar one have come back to us to take any issue with any comment we have made.”