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Football, Moral Integrity

SFA/SPL Letters: Neil Doncaster’s ‘I thought I was out but I pulled us back in’ SPFL Merger

Neil Doncaster letter SPL

We have come across a number of genuine letters that were communications in 2012/13 between a conscientious MP and Scottish football authorities regarding the possibility of a paedophile ring operating at Celtic/Boys Club. 

Firstly we will examine the SPL Neil Doncaster’s reply letter.

Neil Doncaster Letter

Mr Doncaster acknowledges in the first sentence that the offences happened

‘at Celtic Football Club in the 1960s and 1970s’.

Note he says Celtic Football Club and not Celtic Boys Club. He had the opportunity to correct the MP’s premise but did not.

This was the SPL Chief Executive verifying that Celtic Football Club, one of his teams in, the then SPL, was the locus of the offences.

No mention of a Separate Entities or maybe that ‘context’ wasn’t invented then.

As can be seen above, Mr Doncaster, quickly shuts down the MP’s inquiry saying that:

‘regarding events in 1960s and 1970s should be directed to the Scottish Football League, which was the sole professional league in Scotland during that period’

Dodged a bullet he thought. 

SPFL is the Successor Company of The SPL and The SFL

In 2013, Mr Doncaster and SPFL directors with his SFA mates, decided to make a power grab to take over the well run Scottish football authority, the 123 year old Scottish Football League. Where have we seen the willingness to destroy old structures to erect modern grey ones? 

From Companies House we see a resolution was issued on 11 July 2013:SPFL resolution 11 July 2013

Here is a paragraph from that document the Qualified Resolution:

Qualified Resolution

Note the sentence:

‘amalgamation of The Scottish Premier League and The Scottish Football League into The Scottish Professional Football League’.

The SPFL was a merger of the SPL and the SFL, which I understand now means the SPFL is in the frame for anything done either by the SPL and SFL. This consolidation will save on legal representation and negotiations both for the SPFL and any victim lawyers like Thompsons.

Who at SPL Knew What and When?

Although there must have been earlier warnings, this letter by an MP puts the stake in the ground in 2012. That was 7 years ago they closed down any inquiry although at that point Torbett was known and charged for his first period at Celtic/Boys Club in mid 1990s a hotline was setup and received 100 calls but only 3 were followed up by the police. It was known that Torbett was re-employed – how did he get a licence to be a coach again? Cairney’s touring offences were known and Cullen’s 20 YEARS collection of photographs was discovered at Celtic Park and he was charged in 2004. Lou Macari’s book ‘Football, My Life’ in 2008 said previous managers to him knew what was going on and it was shutdown to protect Celtic’s name.

Q. Did Mr Doncaster discuss with his SPL board the risks of ignoring such warnings from an MP? Either each individual member or by the board in a board meeting?

Q. Did Mr Doncaster discuss with his SPL member clubs including Celtic, the letter above?

Perhaps members of the media can verify what may have been discussed 2012-2013 regarding these inquiries by an MP?

Who was on the SPL board in 2012:

Iain Blair

Duncan Fraser Aberdeen

Michael Johnston Kilmarnock

Eric Riley Celtic

Stephen Thompson Dundee Utd

Ralph Topping SPL chairman

Conflicts of Interest on Current SPFL Board When Discussing Celtic/Boys Club Offenders

Murdoch MacLennan SPFL chair

There is a conflict of interest in the current SPFL board in the form of chairman, Murdoch MacLennan who is an employee of INM Plc currently controlled by Celtic shareholder Denis O’Brien and Celtic controlling shareholder Dermot Desmond.

Peter Lawwell SPFL dir

Peter Lawwell is the current Commercial Director on Celtic Board

Due Diligence in the 2013 Merger of SPL with SFL

With the discussions with SPL members and the SFL member clubs regarding the proposed merger of the two footballing authorities were risks highlighted of possible legal damages cases being raised either against member clubs or either the SPL or the SFL? Not to do so given the letter above would leave the SPL board liable if risk was known.

With Auditors in the SPL annual report did Mr Doncaster raise the risks to them of possible damage cases related to abuse due to the merger with the SFL? Would it have been negligent of Mr Doncaster given the letter above not to have raise this issue? Similarly with the lawyers drawing up the merger resolution and articles of association. Maybe there is some small print in there due to the letter?

Mr Doncaster Maybe Like Michael Corleone Wanted to Go Straight But

Just when he thought he was out he pulled himself back in.

He’s not the first who has tried to evade responsibility for this issue and will not be the last.

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