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'Dossier of evidence' claim

Rangers launch bid for external probe into vote

Ibrox stadium

Demand: Rangers are unhappy (pic: SNS Group)

Rangers want a general meeting of all 42 SPFL clubs as they bid for an external inquiry into the vote to end the lower-league season.

The move comes after football chiefs say an independent investigation by Big Four firm Deloitte found “no improper behaviour” from the governing body in the handling of Dundee’s vote to call an end to the season.

The Ibrox club, though, want to take the matter further and with “other Scottish football clubs” have submitted a members’ requisition to the governing body.

“We have received the SPFL’s open letter referring to the narrow scope of their investigation which alarmingly failed to examine wider fundamental issues,” a club statement said.

“Rangers have made it very clear that we have a dossier of evidence which we will make readily available to an independent investigation.”

Championship club Dundee were the last of the 42 clubs to cast a vote on the motion, missing the 5pm “deadline” on 10 April by several days before crucially voting to support the plan.

Clubs in the Premiership, which could end on a similar points per game basis if required, and those in Leagues One and Two had already passed the motion.

Amid speculation that Dundee had been encouraged to change their vote from an initial “no” vote, and following calls for an investigation from Aberdeen, Rangers and Hearts, the SPFL employed accountancy Big Four firm Deloitte to look into the matter.

Objectors called for the suspension of SPFL’s chief executive Neil Doncaster and SPFL’s legal counsel Rod McKenzie in relation to the resolution that enabled the payment of nearly £2 million to Championship, League One and League Two clubs.

There were calls for Neil Doncaster to be suspended

In a letter, authored by the league’s independent non-executive director Karyn McCluskey and circulated today to all clubs, the auditor has concluded that “examination of phone records, mobile communications (including texts) and email data has identified no evidence of improper behaviour by SPFL personnel concerning the submission of the Dundee FC vote.”

Ms McCluskey concludes: “I hope that Scottish football will now focus on the significant issues that face our game, otherwise many clubs may not survive this period.

“We will have to be forward-thinking, and work collegiately to quickly present ideas and proposals to Scottish Government and others which will enable Scottish football to recover and progress.

“Make no mistake, this is a critical time for all clubs, and we must concentrate on what is important to the future of our game.”

Rangers highlight seven factors they believe an independent investigation must consider, including: “the decision to announce the result of an incomplete vote before all votes had been received”; “the decision to disregard the vote submitted by Dundee FC and allow them to vote a second time”; “the interaction of SPFL executives with clubs during the voting process including the disclosure to clubs of how other member clubs had voted”, and “any other matters which the independent expert considers relevant”.

SPFL sequence of key events on 10 April 2020

An SPFL Board Meeting commenced at 17:00 on Friday 10 April 2020. At the start of the meeting 38 returns had been identified as received, and 1 further return was received during the meeting at 17:10, bringing the total number of returns to 39.

Ladbrokes Premier: 10 returns in favour, 1 against

Ladbrokes Championship: 7 returns in favour, 2 against

Ladbrokes Leagues One and Two: 16 returns in favour, 3 against

It was noted during the meeting that one vote remained outstanding from the Premiership, one from the Championship, and one from Leagues One and Two.

The board meeting concluded at around 17:15.

At 17:15, Neil Doncaster called Dundee FC Managing Director, John Nelms, and left a message asking whether Dundee FC intended to submit a return.

At 17:39, Neil Doncaster had a conversation with John Nelms and confirmed that as far as he knew, no vote had been returned from Dundee FC. John Nelms thought Dundee FC’s vote may have been returned, but would make enquiries.

At 17:50, Eric Drysdale (Dundee FC Club Secretary) spoke to Iain Blair (SPFL’s Company Secretary and Director of Operations) asking whether Dundee FC’s return had been received. Iain Blair confirmed that it had not.

At 18:00, a text was received by Iain Blair, from Eric Drysdale, intimating that the Dundee FC vote should not be considered as cast.

At around 20:30, Ian Blair accessed the SPFL’s email quarantine system (which is a feature of the email system operated by a separate third party) at the suggestion of Rod Mackenzie and identified an unread email from Eric Drysdale that had been sent at 16:48 on 10 April 2020. Iain Blair released the quarantined email and it appeared in his SPFL email inbox at 20:55. Prior to identifying the quarantined email at around 20:30, no one from the SPFL had seen the email from Eric Drysdale

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