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SFA reiterate opposition to independent governance review

The governing body's position remains unchanged despite requests from the SPFL and Celtic.

Explanation: The Scottish FA says it debated need for review.
Explanation: The Scottish FA says it debated need for review. SNS Group

The Scottish FA has said that it sees no purpose to an independent review of the governance of the game and its handling of Rangers use of Employee Benefit Trusts.

Scottish FA chief executive Stewart Regan wrote to member clubs last week to inform them that it had declined an invitation from the SPFL to launch a joint review of how both bodies dealt with the situation in recent years.

The letter stated that "The image of the game in Scotland can only be damaged further by 'raking over the coals' of everything that has happened in the last six years for a further lengthy period of time."

That prompted a response from Celtic, who said that the decision showed a failure of "transparency, accountability and leadership".

Celtic also released correspondence between chief executive Peter Lawwell and Scottish FA counterpart Stewart Regan in which the club repeatedly called for an independent review and criticised the attitude from Hampden.

The governing body has now released a statement outlining the reasons for the stance, saying that changes to the organisation had already been made and that independent legal advice had been sought and acted upon.

It was also confirmed that one aspect of the case was being investigated. The compliance officer will look into the decision to grant a licence to play in European football in 2011, after new information came to light during the Craig Whyte fraud trial.

Scottish FA statement in full

"The Board of the Scottish FA has considered the recent requests from the SPFL and one of our member clubs to participate in an independent review in light of the UK Supreme Court judgment on the use of EBTs by Rangers FC and its implications for Scottish football.

"Notwithstanding the Board's statement of July 5th 2017, it considered the request and explored the potential scope of any additional independent review in some detail. After a full debate, the Board's position remains unchanged for the following reasons.

"The Scottish FA has examined new information with respect to what is commonly referred to as the Wee Tax Case and the awarding of a UEFA Licence in 2011. This information came to light in the recent Craig Whyte trial and concerns the testimony in Court of two former directors of Rangers FC regarding "overdue payables" to HMRC and relating to a Discounted Option Scheme.

"The matter has now been referred to the Scottish FA's Compliance Officer for further investigation following receipt of a written opinion from Senior Counsel.

"Moreover, the events of the last six years have contributed directly to many amendments to the Scottish FA Articles and Judicial Panel Protocol to address the key learnings. These include:

• An enhanced role for the Board in our governance structure

• Stronger powers for the PGB and the NPGB

• Strengthened processes in relation to insolvency and change of control

• Bolstering the duty of good faith

• Clarity on what information is to be lodged within the context of players' contracts

• A clearer separation of powers between the executive and judicial activities of the Scottish FA and a more specific and detailed menu of sanctions.

"It is also worth noting that all relevant Scottish FA disciplinary tribunals were undertaken with senior legal advisors. Indeed, all such cases were also chaired by senior legal figures.

"In summary, the Board of the Scottish FA has considered thoroughly the implications of the recent UK Supreme Court Judgement and, furthermore, has identified specific matters from the Craig Whyte trial that require to be revisited."

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