Asterisks Be Damned


There are occasional gremlins on the rangerstaxcase site which strike without warning and prevent posts from being uploaded. Earlier tonight, I posted some thoughts on RTC’s latest blog but my follow up, in reply to a query from another poster, refuses to upload.  Rather than throw my computer out of the window, I’ve decided to post the exchange here.

Henry Clarson says:

Regarding the debate on what do about the championship titles which must be taken from Rangers, this is really not difficult.

Every game in which Rangers fielded ineligible players is recorded as a 3-0 victory for their opponents. The points are totalled up for the season. The team which has the most points is awarded the title.

I’ve paid tens of thousands of pounds over the years to see my team competing for the championship title and I’ll be damned if I’m going to settle for seeing an asterisk taking the place of a title which my team won fair and square.
The only reason that those titles weren’t awarded to the correct team at the end of each season is because the game was so riddled with corruption that nobody enforced rules that would have deprived Rangers of their unfair advantage.

Successive SFA and SPL officials came from Ibrox and allowed this cheating to go unchecked. Successive directors at Rangers FC, at best neglected their responsibilities to ensure that their business was on the straight and narrow. At worst, they actively perpetuated the cheating. The bank which happily turned a blind eye to Murray’s financial recklessness and – as is now becoming clearer and clearer – sheer criminality happily wiped other clubs off the face of the earth and threatened others, including mine, with winding up procedures.

And all this time, I was forking out over a thousand pounds per season to see my team competing in tournaments which were supposed to be fair. It was bad enough to be seething with frustration at what I knew at the time were biased refereeing performances; now that it is apparent that the beneficiaries of this bias were not even eligible to compete, never mind take the honours, the frustration has hardened into a righteous and completely justified anger.

This institutionalised fraud will not be rectified with an asterisk.

The very first principle of atonement is to make restitution as far as that is possible. The very minimum requirement is to return what has been stolen to its rightful owners. In the case of at least five titles, that means presenting those titles to the team which won the most points in accordance with the Laws of the Game of Association Football and in line with the rules and regulations of the SFA and SPL. Absolutely nothing less than that will do. And that should only be a starting point.

Taking away from Rangers anything which was never rightfully theirs in the first place is not a punishment. It’s merely the first step in undoing some of the damage. The next step is to restore to the rightful owners that which was stolen from them. The third step is to punish the guilty parties for their crimes. We’re not even close to that third stage yet so any hint of backsliding on the first two steps must not be tolerated.

There is no room for compromises here.
There is a constant creep in the mainstream media towards an assumption that Rangers have suffered enough and that those who want to see them pay in full for their colossal wrongdoing are being vindictive. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The issue is purely about fairness. It is fundamentally unfair that hardened, habitual cheats should receive any leniency when those who did nothing wrong whatsoever were seriously disadvantaged, suffered considerable loss of prestige, were wrongly deprived of sporting honours and were financially damaged. In some cases, the financial damage was a mortal blow.

An asterisk won’t cut it.

================================================================
Gully says: 19/07/2012 at 12:15 am

Henry, does your unwillingness to compromise mean that the Champions League competitions in the affected years will also have to be replayed?

An asterisk is the best compromise, for compromise is necessary.
================================================================

Henry Clarson says:

This is utter foolishness.
Absolutely no compromise is either necessary or desirable in this case.
Anyone who cannot understand the fundamentals of fair play in sport is never going to be able to understand why the prizes should be awarded to the highest placed competitor who hasn’t cheated instead of to the cheat who wasn’t found out for a while.

For the purposes of this blog, we proceed on the assumption that Rangers did cheat. We have seen more than enough evidence to back up that assumption.
One single competitor stands accused of cheating and is almost certainly guilty.
That competitor must pay the penalty. Yes, even when it’s Rangers.
There is no case for allowing those guilty of breaking the rules to negotiate further breaches of the rules in order to spare themselves the punishment which they deserve. We are not yet so far through the looking glass that we are going to permit cheats to guide us about what is fair and what is unfair.

If you want to grab hold of an uninsulated electrical cable which is plugged into a live mains supply, by all means go ahead and try to negotiate a compromise about just how electrocuted you get. When Rangers decided to ignore the rules, they took the risk that they would get burned. Now they’re getting totally fried and it serves them right. They knew the danger, they took the risk, they lost out, they’re toast. All the blame is theirs and theirs alone.

The penalty for breaking the registration rules is perfectly clear. We have seen the precedents and we know that the punishment for fielding improperly registered players is a 3-0 defeat. Ask Spartans FC, who paid a severe penalty for a careless administrative error on a team-line. They did not complain, they did not whine. They took full responsibility for their own transgression, accepted the defeat and paid the whopping fine. Because those are the rules.
Even FC Sion had to accept the rules eventually.

Replaying competitions is clearly not an option, least of all for players who were already veterans ten years ago. That is an unfortunate physical fact which can not be changed although it weakens still further any case for leniency towards Rangers FC.

In cup competitions, any honours which went to Rangers – including runners-up medals – must be struck off. Since it is now impossible to determine what the ultimate outcome of the cup tournaments would have been if clubs, unfairly eliminated by Rangers, had instead advanced to the next round of the competition, it’s reasonable to consider various solutions on their merits. All of them must start from the point that Rangers have no right to retain honours which they were not eligible to compete for.
The ultimate solution is a matter of practicality, not a compromise of principles.

What can be done and must be done is that the record is at least set straight wherever possible. The records must show in perpetuity that all matches in which Rangers FC fielded ineligible players were 3-0 victories for their opponents. In league competitions, where the outcomes can be accurately recalculated, the medals and titles must be awarded to the correct winners.

This is as simple in the case of Rangers as it was in the case of Spartans or Sion.
The rules must be applied to the transgressions of Rangers just as strictly as they were to any other club.
Rangers have no right to be treated differently.

If anything, they should be hammered even harder because they have relentlessly puffed themselves up as the country’s greatest club, with a monopoly on dignity, the standard to which everyone else should aspire (“we welcome the chase”) and a giant of the global game. If any club should have taken extra care to ensure that it was playing the game by the rules, it was this one with its ludicrous sense of self-importance and its arrogant evaluation of its own stature.
But I’ll quite happily settle for seeing them treated like ordinary cheats rather than elite cheats.

This does not please blinkered supporters of the cheating club or their sympathisers; it does not please those who are too dull of wit to follow simple logic; it does not please people whose concept of sport doesn’t hold honesty, fairness or justice in high regard; it does not please those who are too cowardly to stand up to the myth of the mighty Rangers; it does not please those who are so corrupt that they are still trying to promote any argument for a perverse compromise.

But, by God, it will please anyone (including disillusioned former supporters of Rangers) who thinks sport should be built upon a foundation of fairness. It will satisfy those who believe that the sport is well rid of cheats who would bring football to its knees rather than miss out on prizes which they haven’t earned. And it will delight those who see unrepentant supporters of a rotten, disgraced club hoping and praying that half a dozen SPL clubs will go to the wall as a direct result of Rangers finally being held to account for corrupting Scottish football.

Asterisks be damned.

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Posted on July 19, 2012, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 28 Comments.

  1. I agree wholeheartedly.
    Just a quick point..RangersFC have only been punished by the £160,000 fine. In order to be punished there must be someone handing out the punishment.
    The RangersFC still exists, and is currently being liquidated. The New company Agent Green has started is starting where all new football companies who apply for SPL or SFL membership start, div 3, that is not a punishment – its just an application of the rules.
    On a Rangers forum one of theirs made a good point, was that THEY celebrated, th champagne is gone, the cheers have died down. H
    He is right we can’t get those moments back, but application of the rules states that 0-3 should be the result, and so it should. The record book should be set straight.
    How that is a punishment is beyond me.

    All I can surmise is that the succulent lamb eaters have convinced Ra peeple that application of the rule book doesn’t apply to RFC, and any attempt to do so must therefore be a punishment.

    • They haven’t paid the £160,000 fine, so how can it be regarded as a punishment?

      • Indeed.
        But at least the fine has been imposed (if not collected) as a direct punishment for being found guilty of bringing the game into disrepute.

        It’s unclear to me whether or not the money can be docked from the end-of-season prize money which accrued to Dead Rangers. As I understand it every other SPL club has already received their money but the RFC(IA NIL) portion has been withheld in order to guarantee the settling of football debts such as the monies owed to Hearts, Rapid Vienna etc. If the fine counts as a football debt then it might yet be collected from the prize money before Rangers even catch so much as a fleeting glimpse of it.

  2. Shirley McKey

    Great article, the very notion of Rangers (died 12.06.2012) not passing stolen property back to rightful owners, actually denigrates and dilutes the fair and honourable league titles Rangers won fair and square all through their history. They dilute their own EARLIER honest efforts by seeking to sit one beside the other. They owe it to their history.

    • And indeed it raises the question: how can we now be sure that any of their previous titles were won fairly?
      We have clearly seen that the SFA and SPL were warning that the disaster looming on the Scottish football horizon was so great that it was essential that Sevco make their debut at no lower a level than SFL Div 1 so that Sky would only have to do without a Glasgow derby fixture for one season. That was tantamount to saying that Sevco were destined to win SFL Div 1, come hell or high water, by hook or by crook.
      So how many Scottish championships in the past have been decided in favour of Rangers by those same standards?

  3. Henry, I am right behind you, too many Celtic supporters can’t quite rightly wait to get those deserved titles and that is it. But in many cases they just don’t appreciate the depth of corruption within Ibrox and the complicity of the Scottish football authorities. Like you I sometimes seethe at the thought and that does not include my outrage over manifest biased refereeing decisions that upon recollection adds to my pain. There is now so much information about the demise of the club that was Rangers it is hard for me to make sense of it all but you do an excellent job. Two things puzzle me; why is Sevco included in talks with Hampden authorities over how it, Sevco, will be dealt with and why are all proposals from Hampden while setting voting agendas also suggesting how the clubs should vote?

    • The fact that Sevco appear to be involved in discussions about what penalties and punishments are going to be imposed is an utter disgrace. There is no justification for that whatsoever. It stinks.

      Your second query touches on an even greater enigma, namely, that while the SFA seemed to be doing everything in its power (and several things that seem to be beyond its authority) to parachute Sevco into the highest possible level of the league structure, yet at the same time, it appears that SFA CEO Regan is saying that he intended to overrule the SPL clubs if they had elected Green’s Soon-To-Be-Formed FC into the top layer. That is downright bizarre and it smells completely wrong.

      The most charitable explanation which I can imagine is that Regan either believes that no Sevco club will be able to get its act together in time for the new season in which case he’s damned if he’s going to be seen as the man who destroyed their prospects of recovery;
      or
      in a similar vein, he is quite happy to be seen to be giving a member club every chance to overcome its difficulties under completely new management (which is not an entirely unreasonable stance in itself) but at the same time he is working to make this new club’s fresh start conditional upon it accepting responsibility for the old club’s charge sheet.
      If that latter scenario played out and the “sneaky pay” allegations were subsequently confirmed by the SPL investigation, Sevco could be expelled from the game.
      Each of these speculations assume that Stewart Regan is genuinely trying to find a route to the correct outcome while navigating through a political minefield but I’m finding that possibility increasingly hard to take seriously.

      The more likely explanation is that Campbell Ogilvie is using Regan as a shield and making his job impossible.

  4. I cannot disagree with one word Henry, justice and restitution is paramount. if wee people like us do not pay debts we lose our house, that’s right and proper. Div 3 and a Div 3 park should be a top starting point for Rangers punishment.
    Restitution to the wee suppliers who were scammed what about their restitution? All assets should be sold to compensate these suppliers. If that means punting off Ibrox so be it.
    I am no hun hater in the least. I truly truly feel sorry for the true unbiased rangers fans. I see the pain on my son’s fiancee’s face each week as more revelations about her sacred gers team surface. A Celtic supporting husband, a gers wife, that’s gonna be a marriage made in heaven …..NOT

  5. Is it 12 in-a-row or 14 in-a-row we are going for this season ? There are conflicting reports in the msm. Hail,hail.

  6. Agree with every word.

    You have a knack of putting my exact thoughts into words eloquently and succinctly.

    I saw a Daily Mail article today about Lennon’s call for Rangers to be stripped of titles should they be found guilty. A lot of the comments from English people were of the view that Rangers ‘had been punished enough’. This is one of the problems with Scottish football, the usually uninterested English press simply turn to their Scottish counterparts for ‘expert’ knowledge on the game. Unlike us, they are unaware of ‘how it works’ in Scotland.

    This article is pretty as best an answer to all of that I have read.

  7. Absolutely excellent article Henry. I have never nodded my head so much while reading through an article about this corrupt farce…ever! You speak for ALL fair minded football supporters with your logic. Their ”punishment’ has not even begun yet but the M.S.M, know that the harder they shout the more attention they might get and possibly the more sympathy will be attracted to their pleas. . .no chance. The harder they scream and shout about being ‘punished enough’ the harder we need to shout and scream about their cheating, fraud, corruption, tainted titles, financial doping, EBT’s, the lot and we need to adopt the ‘broken record’ system of reminding them and all who sympathise with them that this was NOT a Scottish Football club that was winning titles for over 20 years it was a cess-pit of corruption masquerading as a football club who was out to shaft every other club in the league to get their own way. Now they must pay the price without mercy or favour. Unfortunately some pampered ex dead rangers supporters just can’t seem to be able to understand logic and reason when it involves their old team facing up to reality. They have been spoon fed elitist propaganda for most of their supporting lives and have lost the ability to see anything objectively and their dying friend the Daily Record just keeps spouting the same old poison and drivel to these silly peepil even when they themselves know that they too are on ‘death row’, it being only a matter of time. So, once again Henry an absolutely first class article. Even if just ONE deluded soul becomes educated from it it will have been another good day for football. Keep up the good work.
    Hail, Hail.

  8. Nail and head Henry…nail and head!! Congrats on remaining so eloquent with someone so obviously hard of rationalisation and fair minded-ness!

  9. Chris Anderson

    If Rangers retrospectively lose every game 3-0 then they would be relegated after the first season. So only one title could be awarded to someone else.

    • And if Ben Johnson had been caught earlier he wouldn’t have reached the Olympic final. If FC Sion had been done after the first leg of their UEFA Cup qualifier, they wouldn’t have forfeited both legs of the tie. If a serial criminal was banged up after his first crime, he wouldn’t have been at liberty to commit the subsequent ones. And so on.

      You’re not making a very strong point, Chris. You appear to be saying that Rangers should keep at least four of the five titles which they cheated to win because they ought to have been relegated in 2000 or 2001. That makes no sense.
      The fact is that although they should indeed have been relegated, nevertheless they did compete in every SPL championship until 2012. They collected the titles for five of them. They simply weren’t entitled to. Each title must be stripped.

      The right thing to do now is to correct every one of the results which are currently on the record books. Then see what falls out for each season.

      • It’s all very well pointing out how ten years of 0-3 defeats would have affected the destination of the honours Henry, but if Rangers should have ended every season with nil points, what do you suggest the SPL should do to redress the fact that 10 wrong clubs were relegated?

        • Hi Stuart,

          For the clubs who were relegated, the clubs who missed out on European games and monies and the clubs who were denied passage in cup competitions at home and abroad, I would imagine civil actions would be pretty straightforward. That being said, monetary reparation isn’t a goer now that the club is dead.

          Therefore, the only right way to deal with the situation is to make it clear to all and sundry that rangers would have been expelled permanently had they continued to exist. Therefore, their “share” and memberships of the SPL and SFA should be forcibly removed.

          The only right thing to do this close season was to either expel the club forever in light of the crimes (colloquially speaking for the most part) committed or suspend the club until all investigations were completed so that informed action could be taken.

          As it is, we’ve now got the bizarre situation where a team purporting to be the same rangers exists in the league setup and a thoroughly corrupt officialdom clearly stating that expulsion isn’t a possibility regardless of the crimes committed.

          • Therefore, the only right way to deal with the situation is to make it clear to all and sundry that rangers would have been expelled permanently had they continued to exist. . .
            The only right thing to do this close season was to either expel the club forever in light of the crimes (colloquially speaking for the most part) committed or suspend the club until all investigations were completed so that informed action could be taken.
            ” etc
            Absolutely right, Wynnvegas.
            It’s very simple. The only thing that prevents the correct solution being implemented is the number of corrupt and cowardly people who are in positions to prevent it. They are quite simply determined that the proper punishments will not be applied to anything which resembles Rangers.

        • I’m open to suggestions on that one, Stuart.
          I’d start from the position that the injustice suffered by the relegated clubs should first of all be admitted and formally recognised by the SPL and the SFA with an apology. Too many injustices are still being ignored by the supposed leaders of the game. Until they stop turning a deliberate blind eye to these wrongs, they will never be able to earn any trust or respect from Scottish football supporters.

      • No, I am not saying they should keep them. Far from it. I just don’t think it is logical to award them to someone else. Why stop there? Will you go back and readjust all the prize money distributed? Teams relegated?
        The can is too big. Worms everywhere.
        The titles should be withdrawn and noted that it was due to cheating.
        I presume you are a Celtic supporter and think you may be acting in your own self interest.

        • My self interest is simply to be able to pay my money to watch a Scottish football match which isn’t rigged and in a competition which isn’t fixed. Since I have been denied that right for many, many years, I want the football authorities to recognise that fact in unequivocal terms. I want some recognition of the truth that people such as myself have already been defrauded to the tune of tens of thousands of pounds. I want them to recognise how wrong that was and I want unambiguous evidence that the authorities not only regret that they allowed that fraud to take place but also that they are determined that it shall never be allowed to happen again. Even if that means that their favoured team has to find its true level somewhere other than at the pinnacle of the domestic game, that is what they have to do. So far, everything they have attempted to do indicates that they still want to take the opposite approach and that their first priority is to protect Rangers even at the expense of the rest of Scottish football.
          Until these issues are formally accepted by the SFA, the SPL and the SFL and backed up by the kinds of measures that show that they mean it, there is no basis for trusting them to ensure fair play.

  10. It’s not often that I disagree with you Henryc and I don’t really disagree here but this isn’t my normal full-throated support. I’m pretty relaxed about whether or not these titles, cups et al come the way of the runners up and losing finalists. What absolutely needs to happen is that the titles and trophies (and medals) be taken away. to that end, an asterisk is fine for me but I appreciate where you’re coming from. I just think that the years of hurt cannot and will not be taken away by retrosective awards (although I would have some fun with the idea of rangers falling below the 50 titles number with no possibility of ever getting up to 50 now that they’re dead and in the process of being buried and us having 13 in a row or whatever the number is!).

    Like you, I believe that the cheating goes back a whole lot longer than the period investigated currently. Like you, I also feel that the outlandish superiority complex exhibited needs to be forcibly removed. I don’t imagine the legitimacy of their “continued history” will go without remark in every ground next season and every season hence which will assist in putting them in their place.

    • I’m not making a case for re-assigning cup victories to other teams. Tournaments which Rangers won should simply be declared null and void.
      Leagues are different though because the results of the cheating team can be removed and the legitimate results can be totted up to ascertain who was the “best of the rest”.
      It’s also important not to reject a solution which is the best available on the basis that it isn’t absolutely ideal. Nothing short of a time machine can completely undo the hurt, damage and injustice which victims of criminality suffer. But that isn’t a reason not to do as much as possible to make clear that justice is on the side of the just.
      That’s not to say that the crooks in charge of the SFA or SPL have any concept of justice, of course. But that is why the supporters have had to drag them, kicking and screaming, in the general direction of the right course of action.

  11. Henry, I don’t agree with you but I hope it happens. Just to stop this constant ‘Best team in the world’ nonsense. I hope YOU wouldn’t take up the same cry if Celtic overtake them.

    • Chris, I genuinely couldn’t care less which team the titles are awarded to, so long as it’s a team which fulfilled its obligations to operate within the rules. It so happens that Celtic would be the beneficiaries over the last ten years or so, but I’ve argued elsewhere in my blog that as a result of David Murray’s malign (and probably criminal) influence on Scottish football, Aberdeen have suffered more than any other team.
      And, for the record, I firmly believe that no number of domestic titles in a footballing backwater such as Scotland is of the slightest relevance in terms of global achievement.
      International and intercontinental trophies are the only realistic benchmark for assessing the “most successful” team in the world.

  12. I would insist on same fair treatment be applied to all teams fro premier league down to junior league football, Rangers or Newco as is should not be involved in negotiating their or rangers now defuncts punishment ,Rules should be applied with no fear or favour,or closed door haggling
    Vettel overtook Button Illegally; after the race ended Button was promoted ,Button missed out on awards ceremony,He received he important parts THE POINTS, retrospectively Football should do the same.
    Why oh Why is it so difficult in this Sport ,I despair!!

  13. now that Rangers have been found innocent, perhaps we can now discuss how many games and how many titles the Penn State of scotland will lose for their complicity during the torbett and cairney years.
    aww shucks, that would mean Rangers have another record – the only team in scotland to win nine in a row it goes nicely with their five stars world record, doesn’t it!

  14. Who ARE you people ?
    Idiots one and all are you ?
    Rangers Football Club did absolutely no wrong in using EBT’s…. how thick are you guys/gals feeling now then eh ? or is that ghuys and ghirls ?
    You foolish bigoted sectarian fools….. Gers are innocent, always were… the problem was that you ‘haters’ were all to quick to see guilty before the case was heard and voted upon… not only that you folk let your downright hatred of a football club stain your own minds and that in itself leads to only showing-up how bigoted and narrow minded you truly ARE.

    Rangers 1872 till now and STILL counting, as with the 54….
    Titles ? Is it titles you Want ????? Away and win some of your own cos’ you ain’t having any of ours…. you dimwits !
    All of Rangers titles were won fair and square unlike your last one and next, they one’s are tainted and EVERYBODY knows this to be true…. including the fools.

    54 and STILL counting….. we welcome the chase…. you can even count your tainted ones….lol.
    We ARE the people…. 16% of the population is ALL you guys have…. like ALL minorities…. you are Always mouthing off….. so for now shhhhh Rangers forever and all was won fairly and squarely…. no joy eh ? lol

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