The wheel turns again for Resolution 11/12 at Celtic AGM

The going-round-in-circles case of Celtic shareholders’ attempts to have Resolution 11 – formerly Resolution 12 – adopted by their plc board spun round yet one more revolution at the latest, virtually-held, club agm.

Celtic chairman Ian Bankier arrives for the club's 2020 'virtual' AGM. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)
Celtic chairman Ian Bankier arrives for the club's 2020 'virtual' AGM. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)

Yet, despite the fact the motion for Celtic to refer the SFA to UEFA over their club licensing administration practices was defeated, as it has been every year since 2013, Celtic chairman Ian Bankier sought to strike a conciliatory tone to a group that has pursued the issue with zeal.

The origins of Resolution 11/12 lie in Rangers obtaining a licence to be Scotland’s representatives in the 2011/12 Champions League qualifiers. The Ibrox club, a year before suffering liquidation, did not meet the criteria for obtaining that licence since they had an overdue payable to HMRC from March 2011 – a £2.8m sum relating to the ‘wee tax case’. By rights, 2010-11 top flight runners up Celtic should have had the opportunity to earn the £12m bounty from the Champions League the following season.

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Bankier seems to accepts that the requisitioners of Resolution 11/12 have legitimate concerns - as did the SFA in raising a notice of complaint two years ago, before this year dropping plans to put it before CAS for what they said were cost implications – but maintains that these are not served by passing the motion.

“The board acknowledges that this is an important issue for a number of shareholders,” he said. “The board has spent a significant amount of time considering this subject over a number of years. We have taken professional advice from external advisers. We have engaged with interested shareholders and reflected on the wide range of factors and potential courses of action. The requirement to consider the view of shareholders has been at the forefront of our minds when deliberating this matter.

“It's worth noting that [chief executive] Peter Lawwell raised this matter with the Scottish FA in 2011 and again in 2012, before the resolution was brought in 2013. Since 2013, we have worked with shareholder representatives and the matter has been reviewed by the board on a regular basis. The board is satisfied that the club executives involved have acted properly and in the best interests of the company at all times.

“Following the conclusion of the court proceedings in 2017 [related to oldco Rangers’ use of EBTs being declared unlawful], in the light of information made available during those proceedings, the club called on the Scottish FA to hold an independent review of all matters, including the licensing process followed in 2011. The SFA declined to hold such a review.

“The club remains of the view that an independent review by the Scottish FA is the best way forward but that's a matter the board can't control. The Scottish FA started disciplinary proceedings regarding the 2011 licensing process in May, 2018. In May 2020, the Scottish FA determined not to continue to progress those proceedings. That was surprising. We all agreed that this situation is disappointing. Ultimately, this is a matter that relates to the licensing process of the Scottish FA as applied to another club in 2011. Since 2011, the rules of the Scottish FA, the SPFL and UEFA have developed and evolved. The rules that stand today are considered to be fit for purpose.”

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