ROY McGregor, the Ross County chairman and major shareholder, has appealed for “peace to reign” in Scottish football following the SFA’s decision to reject the SPFL’s call for an independent inquiry into the financial collapse of Rangers.
Stewart Regan, the SFA chief executive, defended the governing body’s refusal to support a review into the events which led to the liquidation of Rangers oldco back in 2012 on Monday.
Regan revealed that Celtic – who have called the move a “failure of transparency, accountability and leadership” – were the only one of their 108 member clubs to have contacted his organisation asking them to look into the affair.
The Parkhead club would like to see the Ibrox club’s extensive use of Employee Benefit Trusts during Sir David Murray’s reign examined further in the wake of the UK Supreme Court judgement on their legality.
The SPFL board, who announced back in July that no further disciplinary action would be taken against Rangers and none of the titles they won between 2000 and 2011 taken away from them, had called for an independent review into the saga. They will discuss the latest development in the ongoing stand-off at a meeting next week.
However, Stewart Milne, the Aberdeen chairman, last week called the bid to pursue the matter further “unhealthy” and urged other Ladbrokes Premiership clubs to move on and stop “dwelling on the past”.
Hibernian released a statement on Monday revealing they did not support the SPFL board’s appeal for a judicial review and questioning the merit in spending “significant sums of money and huge reserves of time and energy to challenge already lengthy and detailed legal advice”.
Now McGregor, whose Dingwall club only won promotion to the top flight in the 2011/2012 season, has admitted he would like to see the leading clubs in this country concentrate fully on ensuring a prosperous future.
“I don’t have any particular stance on it one way or another,” he said. “It’s a matter for the clubs who were involved at the time. We weren’t in the Premier League when it happened so I don’t have a particular view.
“I’m not one to judge one way or another. I don’t know the rights and wrongs of it. It would be wrong for me to make a judgement on it as we weren’t there at the time. We got into the Premier League after it happened. They (the SFA) have gone through the process and taken legal counsel.
“But I do think we have had so much pain and so much distress in Scottish football that it is just time to move on. I would like peace to reign. Scottish football has been through enough turmoil.”
Rangers were fined £250,000 in 2013 after an independent commission chaired by Lord Nimmo Smith found they had failed to properly disclose side-letter payments to players contrary to both SFA and SPL rules.
Regan this week expressed doubt the handling of the Rangers financial crisis by the SFA, SFL and SPL five years ago would ever be accepted by everyone in Scottish football even if the SFA agreed to an inquiry.
“I think it would be really difficult to convince those who believe in conspiracies that there isn’t a conspiracy at play,” he said. “Some stakeholders won’t ever get closure.”
McGregor, a successful Highland businessman who is also the chairman of the Global Energy Group, also feels that an independent review would be expensive, time-consuming and would ultimately achieve little.
“We could argue about this for another 10 years and I’m not sure one side or another would be satisfied with the outcome,” he said. “It is not going to heal anything.”
The fact the SPFL board called for an independent review when it has subsequently been shown that only one of its 42 member clubs – Scottish champions Celtic – has been in touch with the SFA about the matter has raised eyebrows.
However, McGregor revealed he had no issues with the board, which comprises Les Gray of Hamilton Academical, Ann Budge of Hearts and Stewart Robertson of Rangers from the Ladbrokes Premiership, acting on behalf of every senior club in the country.
“I wasn’t involved in this decision even though I am involved at a club,” he said. “It was decided by the SPFL board, it wasn’t decided by the clubs.
“The clubs are there to play football. These are governing body issues. This is a matter for the powers that be. That’s why they (the board) were voted in.”