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The Hypocrisy And Shame Of Scottish Football

Written by: Bluebear67
Thursday, 26th September 2019

A comparison of 2 clubs, punishments received from the footballing authorities and treatment from other member clubs for their crimes.

Before reading any further, please accept my apologies for the length of this article, though after reading it in its entirety I’m sure you will agree that all relevant information had to be presented to clearly demonstrate the vast gulf in treatment afforded both clubs in relation to crimes at either end of any moral spectrum.

Rangers FC - timeline of events*

14th February 2012 – Rangers Football Club Plc entered administration due to the failure to pay £9m in PAYE deductions from employees to HMRC.

14th February 2012 – Rangers FC are deducted 10 points in the Scottish Premier League (SPL) for entering administration.

14th June 2012 – HMRC announce the formal rejection of the proposed Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) which in turn meant that The Rangers Football Club Plc would be liquidated, and the business and assets would be sold to a new company by the name of Sevco Limited.

4th July 2012 - Member clubs of the SPL (by way of a vote) refused to allow the new company to adopt the league membership of the old company and as such, Rangers FC were thrown out of the SPL.

“Today’s decision to refuse access into the SPL was an overwhelming one and demonstrates the depth of feeling amongst everyone involved in Scottish football.  Fundamentally, the Celtic Board has also been very mindful of the need to take what it believes to be the correct course of action in protecting the integrity of the game in Scotland.  Throughout the whole sequence of events leading up to today’s decision the Celtic Board has been of the singular view that the integrity of the game in Scotland is of paramount importance.” – Celtic FC

"The past few weeks have been extremely hectic in terms of our supporters and season ticket holders making their views known in great numbers to the club, as is their right.  It is fair to say that in excess of 95% of them raised the issue of sporting integrity as the reason why they don't want the newco to be admitted and had not yet renewed their season tickets.  We have also been contacted by supporters of various other SPL clubs, saying they would not be back to Inverness if we did not accept that sporting integrity was what mattered, but this is something that we had already considered and it is not only the integrity of the SPL that is at stake but the integrity of Scottish football.”  Inverness Caledonian Thistle chairman, Kenny Cameron

“One of our major objectives has to be to work with everyone concerned to ensure that the commercial challenges that this case has and will continue to cause can be mitigated as far as they possibly can so that sporting integrity can be the overriding factor.” -Aberdeen chairman, Stewart Milne

“Notwithstanding the potentially damaging financial implications, the board believes that sporting integrity should not be sacrificed in favour of economic expediency.  Over the last few weeks there has been a mounting groundswell of opinion amongst our fans which has clearly shown that the vast majority of our supporters would not favour an application by newco Rangers to the SPL. This has simply reaffirmed the board’s position.  It is important that a clear and unambiguous message goes out from the custodians of Scottish football that this sort of scenario should never be allowed to happen again.  As a result, St Johnstone Football Club will not support an application by newco Rangers to join the SPL. – St. Johnstone FC

“Supporters deserve a new beginning and have to accept the fact that their club has to start from the lower league. They have lived beyond the law and all morals, and should now be declared beyond the pale” – Hearts then owner, Vladimir Romanov

“The club will vote against the transfer of the Rangers share in the SPL to a newco. This reaffirms the view of the board that the sporting integrity of the SPL is of paramount importance” – Hibernian FC

13th July 2012 -  SFL member clubs (by way of a vote) agree that Rangers should re-join Scottish football by starting off in Division 3, the lowest league in the structure.

14th July 2012 - The SFA hold the new company to ransom by refusing to transfer the SFA membership from the old company to the new without acceptance of all conditions relating to charges against Rangers FC of bringing the game into disrepute, including a 12-month transfer embargo, the payment of all outstanding fines and football debts relating to the old company, and agreement on broadcasting rights.

25th July 2012 – Conditional agreement reached on the transfer of SFA membership from old company to new company.

29th July 2012 – Rangers FC kick off their 2012-13 season against Brechin City in the Challenge Cup.

3rd August 2012 – Formal transfer of SFA membership from old company to new company is concluded.

31st October 2012 – The Rangers Football Club Plc enter liquidation.

*It is important to remember that the above sequence of events was triggered by Rangers failure to pay £9m in PAYE deductions to HMRC.

 Celtic FC - timeline of events

1966 -   Celtic Boys Club founded.  Approval to start the Boys Club using the Celtic name and colours was granted by Robert Kelly (Celtic FC Chairman) and Jock Stein (Celtic Manager).  The Boys Club was initially independent from the professional Celtic Football Club after a semi-formal agreement was made where the Under-16 side would act as a nursery for Celtic scouts.  This deal included giving the Boys Club access and full use of Celtic FC’s training facilities. 

1974 -   Jim Torbett is thrown out of Celtic Boys Club by Celtic Manager Jock Stein after details of Torbett’s sexual abuse of children in his care at Celtic Boys Club become known.  Jock Stein decided not to inform the police of the sexual abuse that had been uncovered and instructed others within Celtic FC to keep the good name of the club intact. 

1977 -   Jock Stein presented an award to Jim Torbett for ‘Services to the club’, 3 years after he was kicked out of Celtic Boys Club. 

1978 -   Jock Stein was replaced as Manager at Celtic FC and takes up the position of Manager at Leeds United. 

1980 -   Jim Torbett was allowed to come back to Celtic Boys Club.  At the time, Hugh Birt attempted to block his return by voicing his concerns on Torbett’s past behaviour to the Celtic FC Board of Directors, but his concerns were ignored.

1984 -   Incorporation of Jim Torbett’s company ‘The Trophy Centre Limited’, supplying trophies and medals etc. to various sporting organisations in the UK including Celtic FC.

1985 -   Hugh Birt resigns as Chairman of Celtic Boys Club.  Celtic FC ostracised Hugh Birt from that point on.

1988 -   In December 1988, Kevin Kelly is appointed as a Director of ‘Celtic PLC (Celtic FC)’.

1989 -   In June 1989, Kevin Kelly is appointed as a director of ‘The Scottish Football Association’.

1989 -   In October 1989, Kevin Kelly is appointed as a Director of ‘The Trophy Centre Limited’. 

1993 -   Former Celtic Player and Manager, Lou Macari, released his autobiography titled ‘Football, My Life’ in 2008.  In the book Macari wrote of an instance where a player came to him soon after taking on the Managers role in 1993 complaining that Frank Cairney had made sexual advances towards him on a recent tour of North America.  Neither Macari nor his colleagues reported this instance to the police.

1994 -   In September 1994, Kevin Kelly resigns from Director at ‘The Scottish Football Association’.

1995 -   Gerry McSherry (Celtic fan) was informed by Hugh Birt of the sexual abuse of young children that was happening on a regular basis at Celtic.  Gerry McSherry passed on to Strathclyde Police a list of 14 active predators connected with Celtic Boys Club and Celtic FC.  Strathclyde Police refused to act. 

1996 -   Former Celtic Boys Club player Alan Brazil accuses Jim Torbett (former Celtic Boys Club Director & Manager) of sexual abuse. 

1997 -   Neil Strachan, Secretary of Celtic East Boys Club (another club officially recognised by Celtic FC) is sentenced to 3 years imprisonment for repeatedly molesting a boy for 2 years from the age of 5. 

1998 -   Jim Torbett was found guilty at Glasgow Sheriff Court of shameless and indecent conduct with three juvenile players between October 1967 and March 1974.  Torbett was given a prison sentence of 30 months.  Court transcripts from this trial show that Celtic Manager Jock Stein failed to alert the police and instructed Celtic officials to cover up Torbett's paedophile activities.

2000 -   In November 2000, Jim Torbett resigned from Director at ‘The Trophy Centre Limited’. 

2004 -   In May 2004, John Cullen (an official photographer of Celtic FC) admitted taking pictures of nude and semi-naked children as young as 10 after a stash of more than 250 indecent images had been found in his store room at Celtic Park, the photographs had been there for more than 20 years.  He admitted inviting the children to a house in Glasgow between January and December 1982 before getting them to pose for the camera.  At Glasgow Sheriff Court he pled guilty to a charge of lewd and libidinous behaviour.  He had been employed by Celtic for 30 years.

2005 -   In August 2005, Kevin Kelly resigns from Director at ‘The Trophy Centre Limited’. 

2018 -   In April 2018, Jim Torbett appeared at the High Court in Glasgow where he faced 12 historical sexual abuse charges dating from January 1970 to August 1994.

2018 -   In August 2018, Celtic Boys Club changed their name to St Patrick’s Sports Academy in an attempt to distance the connection with Celtic FC.  It is alleged that Celtic FC paid St. Patrick’s £20,000 as a deal sweetener. 

2018 -   On 5th November 2018, Jim Torbett was found guilty of five counts of sexually abusing children and sentenced to 6 years in prison.

2018 -   On 5th December 2018, Gerald King (former Celtic Boys Club Chairman) is found guilty of sexually abusing 4 boys and 1 girl when he was a teacher/football coach at St. Martha’s primary school in Glasgow between 1984-89. King was associated with Celtic Boys Club between 1982-2009. King had also previously been an employee at Jim Torbett’s company (The Trophy Centre Limited).

2018 -   In December 2018, Gerry McSherry publicly revealed that he had passed a list of 14 active sexual predators connected with Celtic Boys Club and Celtic FC to Strathclyde police in 1995/96.

2019 -   On 7th February 2019, Frank Cairney was sentenced to 4 years in prison after being convicted on 9 charges of sexual abuse against children.  Cairney, who was employed by Celtic Boys Club between1971-86, was found guilty of sexually abusing the children between1965-86.   The former Manager of Celtic Boys Club abused the children at various locations including the Celtic FC training facility at Barrowfield in Glasgow.  The abuse carried out at Barrowfield was both before and during his time at Celtic Boys Club.

2019 -   On 14th May 2019, Jim McCafferty was sentenced to 6 years and 9 months in prison after being found guilty of 12 charges relating to the sexual abuse of 10 teenagers between 1972-96 whilst employed as a coach for Celtic Boys Club and then officially employed by Celtic Football Club between 1990-96 as a coach/kit man to the Celtic Youth team.  It emerged during the course of the trial that some of the sexual abuse carried out by McCafferty happened within Celtic Park.  It has further emerged since his trial that there were very strong connections between McCaffertyJim Torbett and Barry Bennell the former Manchester City and Crewe Alexandria coach, now serving 30 years behind bars for the sexual abuse of 86 former players at the clubs.  The connection between the 3 convicted paedophiles included the introduction of Celtic Boys Club youngsters to Barry Bennell.

Comparison

On comparing the two situations relating to Rangers FC and Celtic FC as listed above it is clear that there has been major discrepancies in how each club has been treated by the footballing authorities and other SFA member clubs.  It is also clear that obvious questions are not being asked by the mainstream Scottish media, politicians, and people in positions of influence within the Scottish footballing system.  The glaring questions that nobody dares ask are:

1.  Why has the SFA not taken punitive action against Celtic FC for bringing the game into disrepute?  After all, the SFA considered it a fair and just approach when dealing with the financial misdemeanours of Rangers FC.

Celtic FC has without doubt broken the rules of membership of the SFA.  It has now become clear through various recent court cases that Celtic have been continually bringing the game into disrepute for a number of decades.  By their failure and outright refusal to act against Celtic FC, is the SFA saying that the sexual abuse of children under the care of member clubs is acceptable?  Are the SFA suggesting that financial misadministration of a member club is far more serious that child sexual abuse by another member club?  Are the SFA suggesting that the integrity of Scottish football has not been destroyed by the revelations that a member club has been heavily involved for several decades in the sexual abuse of children?

On the 5th July 2019, Chris McLaughlin of BBC Scotland reported on Twitter that UEFA had been in contact with the SFA in regard to the issue of historic child sexual abuse in Scottish football.  UEFA stated that it “fully trusts in the capacity of the SFA to deal with this matter”.  Yet here we are, almost 3 months down the road and the SFA still haven’t lifted a finger.  Perhaps its time for UEFA to give the SFA a nudge and remind them that they are still waiting, much like the thousands of supporters of Scottish clubs who are the very lifeblood of the game and continue to be treated with disdain by the SFA.  Or perhaps UEFA could inform those very same supporters on just what assurances were given by the SFA for UEFA to have full trust that the SFA would deal with the issue, seeing as the SFA have been struck down by some mystery disability that renders them mute and unwilling to gauge or consider the concerns of the supporters who currently pay through the nose to financially support Scottish football.

2. Where is the widespread condemnation from other member clubs against the irrefutable paedophile activities that have been prevalent around Celtic FC since the 1960’s (at the known earliest)?

Member clubs were lining up to condemn Rangers FC due to financial mismanagement, all of them spouting the same pre-agreed mantra of ‘sporting integrity must prevail’.  Where are they now?  Do all those clubs also consider that financial mismanagement is a greater crime than the sexual abuse of children?

Where are their comments stating ……

“mindful of the need to take what it believes to be the correct course of action in protecting the integrity of the game in Scotland”

“the integrity of the game in Scotland is of paramount importance”

“it is not only the integrity of the SPL that is at stake but the integrity of Scottish football”

“so that sporting integrity can be the overriding factor”

“It is important that a clear and unambiguous message goes out from the custodians of Scottish football that this sort of scenario should never be allowed to happen again”

“This reaffirms the view of the board that the sporting integrity of the SPL is of paramount importance”

Is sporting integrity no longer fashionable?  Have all these clubs suddenly lost their moral compass?

All SFA member clubs (and this includes Rangers) should be ashamed of themselves.  Their unwillingness to speak out against the sexual abuse of children in Scottish football and demand that fair and just punishment is applied is nothing short of disgraceful.  Like the SFA, by their inaction, they are essentially complicit in the sexual abuse of children. 

Each and every club should be demanding that the SFA take action against the biggest sporting scandal ever known worldwide.  Make no mistake the paedophile ring that has been allowed to continue unhindered in Scottish football for many decades, is huge in scale.  It is anticipated by lawyers representing victims that over 100 individuals will be coming forward through the courts seeking apologies and compensation for the hideous crimes committed against them.  Shame on every top-level football club under the SFA for failing to demand justice from their footballing governing body!

3. Why has the Scottish judicial system continually ignored the pleas from thousands of disgusted members of the public for a full and transparent public enquiry into the paedophile ring that has been operating in Scottish football around Celtic FC/Celtic Boys Club since the 1960’s (at the known earliest)?

It is astonishing, that in face of public pressure and demand that no public enquiry shows any sign of materialising.  Or maybe not given that Humza Yousaf the Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Justice is a well-known Celtic FC season ticket holder.  Surely conflict of interest isn’t preventing Mr. Yousaf from ensuring application of Law & Order in Scotland?  Is it?

Scottish mainstream media is equally failing in its duties and responsibilities by giving prominent people and organisations an easy time on this matter.  Rather than some of the more unhinged and socially backward journalists claiming that anyone questioning the paedophile ring in Scotland is just doing so to point score against Celtic, perhaps they should concentrate on their work at hand and take up the fight for justice.  Had these journalists not been ignoring the issue for decades despite all the evidence being out there and in their face for so long, I’m sure early condemnation of what was going on would have prevented many further children suffering abhorrent abuse at the hands of monsters.

Scottish football clubs need to step forward and demand justice on behalf of all the victims, it is the correct moral stance to adopt.  Until appropriate punishment is delivered, Scottish football will continue to be viewed as a corrupt body run by shameless people lacking moral fibre.

Until then, I’ll leave you with the words of Vladimir Romanov …..

“They have lived beyond the law and all morals, and should now be declared beyond the pale”

 

by Philip Joseph Gerrard Gillivan
 

   

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