Peter Lawwell should tonight be preparing a very powerful speech for tomorrow’s Celtic AGM regarding the Resolution 12 elephant in the room.
A dedicated group of shareholders have been on the case for six years with the attitude and approach of the Chief Executive and Board of Directors increasingly difficult to fathom.
Back in 2011 Celtic lost a close title race to a club that put committing to transfer fees and player salaries ahead of meeting their tax commitments, social payables is the UEFA phrase. It turned out that Rapid Vienna had to wait a considerable time for the balance of the transfer fee.
Had the UEFA licence rules been applied properly it would have been Celtic that went forward to the Champions League qualifiers with the chance of bringing in an additional £20m plus and showcasing players on the greatest stage of all.
To be fair to the Celtic board they did question the SFA over the licence process relating to the £2.8m Wee Tax Case from a decade earlier. Perhaps they were naive to accept the SFA’s explanation that the licence requirements had been met.
Once the Celtic Requisitioners got into the case it fell apart at the seams. A paper trail was established featuring Sheriff Officers and leading all the way to the High Court in Glasgow where witness after witness at the 2017 Craig Whyte trial told of how they knew that there was £2.8m overdue when the SFA rubber-stamped the licence.
When Ally McCoist’s side lost to Malmo and Maribor the baw was burst, more tax bills went unpaid with administration in February 2012 followed by liquidation four months later.
Finally, in September 2017 Lawwell wrote to the SFA with Stewart Regan referring the 2011 UEFA licence to his Compliance Officer.
More than two years later no answer has been given by the SFA. Incredibly their lack of urgency is met by the Celtic Board of Directors who have had a change of manager and two failed Champions League campaigns since Regan ‘took ownership’ of the issue.
Two years seems more than a generous timescale for a ruling. In June, new SFA chief executive Ian Maxwell said that he wanted to see the issue concluded. Five months later we are still waiting for a decision.
Nothing can be done now about the decision of 2011 but members of the Licence Committee such as Rod Petrie and Andrew Dickson are still influencing matters at an executive level in the Scottish game.
It will take quite an explanation from Lawwell tomorrow, after six years of stalling the Requistioners won’t be palmed off with a Rory Bremner gag. Next step is likely to be an investigation from the City of London Police- after they visited Edmiston Drive in July 2007 Scottish football changed like never before.