Will the Guardian salvage their reputation?
The Guardian likes to think that it is a cut above other publishers, an independent voice among vested interests that still upholds old fashioned values.
When it comes to big stories it does it’s research, takes it’s time and delivers when it is surer than sure that they have the story backed up by the facts, always from more than one source to prevent vested interests pushing a particular line.
In David Conn it has a respected champion in his field, someone that will spend time to get to the heart of a story and expose sporting wrong doing wherever it occurs. FIFA, UEFA and the International Olympic Committee provide Conn with lots of scandal to delve into.
No news outlet is infallible however with long standing Celtic site Etims shining a light on the sort of coverage that had millions of Scottish people believing that Motherwell produced billionaires.
Piecing the story together it seems that The Guardian was fairly happy to accept the word of an SFA insider that all was well with the UEFA licence issued to Rangers (IL) in 2011.
Subsequent events have revealed that the old club from Ibrox were wholly dependent on next season’s Champions League money to pay last season’s bills. The SFA were well aware of that as they discussed the Wee Tax Case while the Schedule 36 notice served by HMRC in July 2009 highlighted their concerns about the economic gymnastics being performed by Andrew Dickson’s pay masters.
According to the SFA they were given documentation that the £2.8m owed to Her Majesty could be settled after 31st May 2011 ( following Whyte’s £1 payment for the distressed company) with the liability proved beyond all doubt.
In his rare comments on the subject Stewart Regan claimed that the bill hadn’t crystallised and that it was being debated by the new regime within Ibrox.
Covering the story in August 2016 Conn seems to have accepted the SFA line that all was in order regarding the UEFA licence.
One group of concerned Celtic shareholders had a different take on events and provided the SFA with enough evidence to show that the tax payable was overdue on 31 March 2011 when the licence was granted.
While the Resolution 12 team were dismissed as internet bampots they stuck by the facts, picking holes in almost every aspect of the case put forward by the SFA.
When Craig Whyte appeared in court earlier this year witness after witness explained how the £2.8m tax bill had been due from November 2010 despite Dave Murray trying to hide it from Whyte’s legal team.
Belatedly the SFA have admitted that in the last decade they may have been guilty of one failure of governance- over the 2011 licence given to Rangers.
The evidence is overwhelming, almost all of those involved in the decision still hold positions of power in the Scottish game from Regan to Dickson.
Their Scottish sales may mean next to nothing to them but with a little digging and a few well researched questions The Guardian could bring the Hampden Park pack of cards crashing to earth.
If it was the FA in England The Guardian wouldn’t flinch but will they return to Regan after being duped by an un-named SFA insider in 2016?
CLICK HERE for the full story on Etims