Heavily conflicted President Petrie has his fingerprints all over the 2011 Rangers licence

Newly appointed SFA President Rod Petrie is at the centre of the 2011 UEFA licence dispute that handed the old Rangers club a lifeline and denied Celtic a potential £24m Champions League jackpot.

The Hibs chairman has spent two decades networking through the various committees of the SFA, in 2011 he chaired the Licence Committed that overlooked/ignored an outstanding tax bill of £2.8m. Ironically the bill was caused by the failure to register in full the playing contracts of Tore Andre Flo and Ronald de Boer with the SFA.

A decade later, and four years after a raid on Ibrox requested by the Metropolitan Police had uncovered the side letters, HMRC were demanding payment for income tax, national insurance, interest and penalty charges.

Rather than deal with the tax demand Dave Murray opted to sign Nikica Jelavic from Rapid Vienna on the never never, it was a decision that yielded another SPL title at the expense of the public purse.

As chair of the Licence Committee part of Petrie’s job was to ensure that, whatever else was going on, clubs weren’t ignoring their social obligations to buy football success and the chance to pocket a £20m Champions League payout from UEFA.

After six years of questioning the SFA won’t offer any answers to Celtic shareholders, initially Stewart Regan claimed that the tax bill was being disputed, evidence from Craig Whyte’s trial shows that that stage had passed.

Following the SFA AGM on Wednesday Ian Maxwell was asked about the licence issue raised by Celtic in September 2017 and ruled on by the SFA in May 2018. Only the Court of Arbitration for Sport could decide due to the secretive Five Way Agreement of 2012. Petrie is one of the architects of that document.

There seems to be little drive from Celtic to see this issue resolved despite almost two years passing since Regan mentioned that the 2011 decision had to go to the Judicial Panel.

Unless some outside source gets involved it wouldn’t be a surprise if media-shy Petrie manages to strangle the issue for the two year duration of his Presidency.

NOTE: Campbell Ogilvie was President of the SFA from June 2011 to June 2015, he was unopposed and voted in unanimously for a second term in June 2013.

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