Where to turn to?
The following is an updated version of a response given to a Celtic supporter on the Scottish Football Monitor blog who in respect of the Celtic Boards management failings that put Celtic so many points adrift asked “ surely there must be a group of shareholders who have had enough and have the clout to take action? “
This is the updated response.
The fact is that there isn’t a group of shareholders with the capacity to take on The Board. The nearest we have is The Celtic Supporters Trust but they have a single string to their bow strategy, i.e. acquisition of shares or proxy votes which will obviously take time, so the strategy lacks immediacy and whilst their numbers have grown as result of poor football performances that may well slow as supporters realise the CST are as powerless as the single supporter is in the short term to effect meaningful change at Celtic.
The CST had an opportunity which they declined to at least show a willingness to confront Celtic by picking up the baton where Res12 left off, but that might change because there is the possibility that they may have misinterpreted what the actual outcome of the 2020 AGM was in respect of Res 12 under Res11 and that they are realising that not doing so is not in tune with the mood of the support. To explain the complication a bit of background is necessary first.
Background to Resolution 11/12 on the Celtic 2020 AGM Agenda
The Res11/12 outcome issue was a complicated one so a bit of slack is worth allowing, particularly if it leads to a change of mind on the merits of adding a manageable second string to the CST bow by holding Celtic to their word that they will engage with relevant authorities on the SFA failure to conclude their own judicial process rules that Celtic were depending on to resolve the UEFA 2011 licencing case. As Res12 shareholders argued in their AGM Notice statement – you cannot have a game of sport where the rules are not applied and it is wrong to expect supporters to pay to watch such a game. Celticplc_AGM_Notice_2020_061120.pdf (celticfc.net) pages and 9.
That statement embedded into Res11/12 came as result of tardiness on Celtic’s part in not responding to a new Resolution condemning Celtic, not just on the UEFA License 2011 issue but also failure to challenge the LNS Decision when provided with documentation to do so in 2014 and 2019 but because that condemnation was deemed defamatory in making allegations against individuals it was inadmissible as drafted under Company law, and so it could not be placed on the AGM agenda.
This news 7 weeks after more than 100 resolution requisition forms had been delivered in early September gave little time for shareholders to revisit and redraft the original resolution to remove any dubious references and stick only to the facts (so no defamation) some of which were in the original resolution but there was no time discuss then redraft and overcome the logistical problems of delivering another 100 plus signed revised requisition forms so an agreement was reached between Celtic and the shareholder that they would make a statement of their concerns to be published on the AGM notice to which Celtic would respond although that response was not known to the shareholders until the AGM notice was published.
The shareholder statement took the form of a follow up to the 2019 AGM which asked Celtic take the investigation into the 2011 UEFA Licence case from the SFA to UEFA as at that time the SFA Judicial process had stalled as the SFA were considering taking the matter to CAS as result of a clause in the 5 Way Agreement having in 2018 assured Celtic who passed it on at the 2018 AGM that the matter would go to CAS.
However a year later the position remained unchanged so a new Resolution was also numbered 12 was tabled but voted against by Celtic who were content to leave the unfinished judicial process with the SFA.
In May 2020 The SFA confirmed they would not take the case to CAS (possibly because CAS might have judged the 5 Way Agreement itself was damaging to sporting integrity as it has arguably been proved since 2012).
As a result the shareholders statement picked up where the 2019 left off pointing out in essence that you cannot have a game without rules that will not be applied.
Here is where the complication comes in.
The technical expertise to take Res12 (2013) out of adjournment lay with Celtic’s Company Secretary and in line with the language first used in response to Res12 2013 the words “unnecessary ” were used. Quite understandable in the circumstances as those words related directly to Res12 2013 via Res11 (as a statement ) at the 2020 AGM. Not being a lawyer it might actually be a term of normal legal usage.
What Celtic undertook in writing on the AGM 2020 Notice to do was to engage with relevant authorities but with fuzziness added in terms of being in the Company’s interest, no timetable and who would they actually report back to and when the 2021 AGM?
By making this “commitment” Celtic were justifying not acting on Res12 2013 because they said they would take over from the Res12 group the task of bringing the SFA to account because that is what engagement would be (and in line with a core aim of Res12 in 2013)
Not too complicated.
That comes from the voting form itself because it left Res12 shareholders with two options, trust Celtic would do as they said and vote AGAINST Res12 2013 or FOR Res12 2013 because the Board were not to be trusted and their fuzzy response in the AGM Notice and refusal to answer questions seeking clarifications did nothing to allay suspicions.
In the circumstances of mistrust given Celtic had kicked the Res12 (2013) can down the road for 7 years, the Res12 group voted FOR Res12 2013 (that asked UEFA to investigate) as did the CST in support once what box to tick was clarified.
Of course the block vote AGAINST Res12 2013 was passed overwhelmingly which did end Resolution 12, which was also no longer necessary as the Resolution 12 requisitioners had done the investigatory work that Resolution 12 in 2013 had asked UEFA to do AND had passed their findings to a UEFA Integrity Unit on the basis the SFA (not Rangers) have questions to answer. The documentation supporting non compliance and possible fraud the SFA had missed was accepted and passed into the UEFA system but since July 2020 there has been no activity from that source who are one of the relevant authorities Celtic may engage with should it no longer be in the Company’s interest to avoid doing so.
What was then put to the CST but appears to have got lost in translation was in effect to make sure Celtic carried out their undertaking in the AGM notice and kept their word to shareholders.
Hopefully with some of the reasons that led the CST to decline to keep Celtic to their word clarified, the CST will revisit the matter.
Even if for reasons of other priorities, lack of resources, although that can and will be found from new CST Members with an interest in seeing the rules applied, a decision based on a fuller understanding of the actual outcome of Resolution11/12 at the 2020 AGM will give satisfaction to the Res12 Group of shareholders that their voice has been heard.
Note: The biggest barrier to meaningful action is Peter Lawwell but I cannot see him being in charge for much longer, his mishandling of Res12 2013 is becoming part of a bigger renewal issue along with a growing number of supporters dissatisfied with the Celtic team’s managed decline and the unwise Dubai decision. All are bad for the bottom line and the brand, which is important to Dermott Desmond.
Only the amount of severance pay will be an impediment but then there is a cost to Celtic if PL remains and support shrinks as a result and the SFA carry on being selective in the rules they apply or don’t apply.
The above was provided by Auldheid.
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