SPFL bites back at Rangers MD Stewart Robertson

Rangers managing director Stewart Robertson.Rangers managing director Stewart Robertson.
Rangers managing director Stewart Robertson. | Freelance
Letter sent to 42 clubs rebuts claims made by Ibrox chief

The SPFL has wasted no time in rebutting with full force the central tenets of the Rangers report designed to garner support for an independent investigation into the circumstances surrounding the vote to end the season.

In a letter sent to the 42 member clubs, the league has issued a strong denunciation of accusations the Ibrox club made against the governing body which would appear to render the position of Rangers managing director Stewart Robertson on the SPFL board untenable.

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Robertson is castigated in the letter as “one of our number launch[ing] baseless, damaging and self-serving attacks on the Board”.

It went on to say that the board “are united in firmly rejecting his false characterisation of SPFL governance” by Robertson, but interestingly do not shed any light on Rangers claims that chief executive Neil Doncaster did not bring forward the complaints raised by Inverness Caledonian Thistle over the conduct of SPFL board members Ross McArthur (the Dunfermline chairman) and Mike Mulraney (Alloa chairman).

Or, on whose authority - if any - the SPFL felt it within their right to tell Championship clubs that the financial distribution model would be altered adversely for them in the event of the resolution falling.

At next week’s egm clubs will be balloted on Rangers’ demand for an independent investigation into the SPFL’s contentious season-ending resolution.

The league letter reads as follows:

Dear Colleagues

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In recent days, Rangers' managing director Stewart Robertson has launched a series of attacks on the SPFL Board, its corporate governance and its office-bearers.

As Board members, it is our duty to respond to these allegations on behalf of Scottish football and we are united in firmly rejecting his false characterisation of SPFL governance.

We are all professional people, with many decades of business experience between us and we take our duties as your representatives extremely seriously, including holding the executive to account and acting in the wider interests of the 42 clubs at all times. These duties are often complex, often demanding, but they are a privilege and we fulfill them with great care and responsibility on your behalf.

It is therefore enormously frustrating to see one of our number launch baseless, damaging and self-serving attacks on the Board. Every one of us has sat alongside Stewart Robertson and been privy to the information and procedures of the SPFL Board. If anything had been untoward, we would have addressed it at the time.

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It’s in that context that we have examined his dossier carefully and have given responses below to some of his more prominent claims.

In answering them, one key question comes to the fore: Having served on the Board for Season 2017/18 and again since July 2019, if he actually believed these serious, wide-ranging and numerous claims, why has it taken him until now, just five days before Rangers’ resolution comes before the EGM, to make them public?

Surely if things were so bad, so dysfunctional, he had a clear and compelling duty to speak out

before now?

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SPFL's point-by-point response to claims made in Rangers dossier

That EGM has been called to consider a resolution put forward by Hearts, Rangers and Stranraer, which calls for an open-ended investigation to be carried out by a senior QC into a variety of matters related to the directors written resolution, recently approved by over 80% of clubs.

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As everyone now knows, Rangers have made several false allegations about corruption, coercion and bullying on the part of the SPFL. They have also called, without good reason, for the suspension of the SPFL’s Chief Executive and Legal Counsel.

On 7 May we received a document from Rangers, which they claim – and we categorically reject – provides evidence to back up these attacks on the executive and the wider Board.

Given the very tight timescale before the EGM, we have had to provide a brief initial response to their claims.

We trust the answers below will help inform you and your club on these matters, which we consider to be an unwelcome and self-serving distraction from the critical issues at stake – namely the future of Scottish football.

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If you should have any questions on any of the issues below, as Board members and your representatives, we are very keen to hear from you.

Several of us have also been asked by a number of clubs what action the SPFL intends to take in relation to the gross breaches of confidentiality that have been committed by the circulation of the Rangers document, including copying and publishing commercially sensitive information from the SPFL’s confidential Board report server. It is not appropriate, in advance of the EGM, to comment further, but we will return to this important issue in due course.

The vast majority of the SPFL Board members continue to have complete confidence in our Chief Executive and Legal Counsel. Eight of the nine members of your Board of Directors continue to believe the demand for an open-ended, hugely time consuming and expensive investigation to be wholly unnecessary, inappropriate and contrary to the interests of the Company and Scottish football at what is such a critical time for every club’s survival.

We therefore urge you to vote against the resolution at our EGM on Tuesday.

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It is vital that we devote our time and attention to working together, tackling the existential problems that Scottish football faces as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Only by doing so can we protect our 42 clubs, the dedicated people they employ and the game we all love.

Yours sincerely

Murdoch MacLennan, Chairman

Karyn McCluskey, independent non-executive director

Alan Burrows, Motherwell FC

Ewen Cameron, Alloa Athletic FC

Peter Davidson, Montrose FC

Ken Ferguson, Brechin City FC

Les Gray, Hamilton Academical FC

Ross McArthur, Dunfermline Athletic FC

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