Fair Play at FIFA?

The following post comes about as a result of the research and work put in by Auldheid.

He has drafted the submission to FIFA detailed below after closely looking at their rules, and taking on board the points contained in the Glasnost “Golden Rule” blog. TSFM has attached the blog’s name to the report since the overwhelming – but not unanimous – view of our readership is that the SFA and the SPL have again gotten themselves into an almighty and embarrassingly amateur fankle over this issue.

We believe that tens of thousands of football fans will be lost to the game if the outcome of the LNS enquiry is not perceived to be commensurate with the scope and extent of the rule breaking that LNS found had taken place. In view of this, we believe that we have to do what we can to explore all possibilities for justice for those who love the game so much and yet are utterly disillusioned by recent events.

LNS is not being questioned here. He has found that RFC were guilty as charged by the SPL.

What is being questioned is the SFA’s crucial – and seemingly conflicted  – role in the LNS enquiry, as is the effectiveness of LNS’s recommended sanction as either a deterrent or an upholder of sporting integrity.

It came to our notice last week that FIFA have created a web site at


that tells us that FIFA have implemented a regulatory framework which is intended to ensure that all statutory rules, rules of conduct and internal guidelines of FIFA are respected and complied with.

In support of that regulatory framework FIFA have set up the above site as a reporting mechanism by means of which inappropriate behaviour and infringements of the pertinent regulations may be reported.

FIFA say that their jurisdiction encompasses misconduct that (1) relates to match manipulation; (2) occurs in or affects more than one confederation, so that it cannot adequately be addressed by a single confederation; or (3) would ordinarily be addressed by a confederation or association, but, under the particular facts at issue, has not been or is unlikely to be dealt with appropriately at that level.

Discussions arising from the previous blog on TSFM, “Gilt Edged Justice”, which was published after Lord Nimmo Smith (LNS) ruled on the registration of Rangers players who had contractual side letters that were not disclosed to the SFA as part of their registration, suggest that there may be possible unfortunate consequences for football arising from the evidence presented by the SFA to the LNS enquiry that informed its findings on registration and consequent eligibility. There is also a question of the propriety of the SFA providing evidence on an issue which could have had a negative impact on them had it been found that they had failed to carrying out their registration duties with due rigour over a period of ten years when the existence of EBTs was known to officials within the SFA.

On the basis that the LNS findings require that registration rules be clarified by FIFA and rewritten globally if necessary to remove any ambiguity and under clause 3 above, this appears to be an issue that the FIFA should examine and that the SFA cannot address.

The following report has therefore been submitted by TSFM on behalf of its readers to FIFA drawing on the content and debate following the “Gilt Edged Justice” blog in respect of the possible footballing consequences of the LNS enquiry.

The hope is that by speaking for so many supporters, FIFA will give the TSFM submission some weight, but individuals are free of course to make their own points in their own way.  We await acknowledgement of the submission.

The report Submitted to FIFA is as follows;

This report was prepared on behalf of the 10,000-strong readership of The Scottish Football Monitor at https://scottishfootballmonitor.wordpress.com/
It is our belief that FIFA general rules of conduct were breached by the SFA and their employees in both creating and then advising The Lord Nimmo Smith (LNS) enquiry into the non disclosure of full payment information to the Scottish Football Association (SFA) by Rangers F.C during a period of player registration over 10 years from 2000.

We believe that although the issue has been addressed by the SFA the particular facts at issue suggest that it has not been dealt with appropriately and we therefore ask FIFA to investigate. The facts at issue are that the process and advice given failed to uphold sporting integrity, and that a conflict of interest was at play.

We believe the advice provided and the enquiry set up, where SFA both advised and is the appellant body, breaches not only the integrity the registration rules were intended to uphold, but also totally undermines the integrity of the SFA in breach of General Conduct rules 1, 2 and 4. (See below.)

1.  Firstly we believe that the advice supplied to LNS that an incorrectly registered player was eligible to play as long as the registration was accepted by the SFA however unwittingly, undermines the intent of the SPL/SFA rules on player registration and so undermines the integrity of football in three ways.

• It incentivises clubs to apply for a player to be registered even if they know that the conditions of registration are not satisfied, in the hope that the application will somehow ‘slip through the net’ and be granted anyway (in which case it will be valid until revoked).

• A club which discovers that it has made an error in its application is incentivized to say nothing and to ‘let sleeping dogs lie’ – because it would be in a better position by not confessing its mistake.

• And most importantly, it incentivises fraud.  By deliberately concealing relevant information, a club can ensure that a player who does not satisfy the registration conditions is treated as being eligible – and therefore allowed to play – for as long as a period as possible (potentially his entire spell with the club). Then, if the club is no longer around when the deception is finally discovered, imposing meaningful sanctions may be impossible.

2.   Secondly we believe the process followed was inappropriate due to a Conflict of Interest. Had the LNS enquiry not ruled on the basis of advice supplied by The SFA, they and those persons advising the LNS enquiry, could have been subjected to censure and the SFA to potential compensation claims had LNS found that the players were indeed ineligible to play and results then been annulled as was SFA practice when an ineligible player played.

3.  Finally we contend that a law should not be applied according to its literal meaning if to do so would lead to an absurdity or a manifest injustice or in this case loss of football integrity.
See http://glasnostandapairofstrikers.wordpress.com/2013/03/07/gilt-edged-justice/

4. We therefore ask FIFA to investigate both the process used and advice given to Lord Nimmo Smith to satisfy themselves that FIFA’s intentions with regard to upholding the integrity of football under FIFA rules have not been seriously damaged by the LNS findings and also to reassure Scottish football supporters that the integrity of our game has not been sacrificed by the very authority in whose care it has been placed to promote the short term cause of commercialism to the games long term detriment.

General Rules of Conduct (These are taken from the FIFA web site itself and can be found as part of completing the submission process)

1. Persons bound by this Code are expected to be aware of the importance of their duties and concomitant obligations and responsibilities.

2. Persons bound by this Code are obliged to respect all applicable laws and regulations as well as FIFA’s regulatory framework to the extent applicable to them.

3. N/A

4. Persons bound by this Code may not abuse their position in any way, especially to take advantage of their position for private aims or gains.

Excellent food for thought which we thought worthy of inclusion…

Glasnost (and a Pair of strikers)

Fiat justitia, et pereat mundus
(Let justice be done, though the world perish)

Picture the scene. A wealthy old lady decides to disinherit her only son. So he kills her before she gets the chance to make a Will. What should happen to her estate? Succession law couldn’t be clearer: she died without leaving a valid Will and, under the intestacy rules, her son is entitled to inherit all her wealth. The extended family bring a legal challenge.

You’re the judge: what would you do?

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