Readers Note: usually when I cover a court hearing I prepare a full note for interested parties which contains information that cannot be published for legal reasons. However as today’s proceedings at Edinburgh’s Court of Session have no such restrictions I have decided to reproduce it here in full.
Monday 24 November, Court of Session, before Lady Wolffe
MASH Holdings V The Scottish Football Association (SFA)
On the benches:
For MASH-Mr Sanderson For the SFA Mr Bodine . Counsel for Dave King was also present.
When proceedings began at 11am Mr Sanderson, for MASH rose to tell the court he was formally submitting two petitions. The first of these was a request for a judicial review of the decision by the SFA to grant the current Rangers chairman “fit and proper status,” to serve on the board of a Scottish football club. The second was to ask for a review of a £ 7,500 fine imposed on Mike Ashley by the SFA for having an interest in two football clubs, Rangers and Newcastle United which is contrary to the associations rules.
Referring to the draft arguments put before the court Counsel for the petitioners stated that the SFA had put “no positive case,” for their position and instead had argued that the court had no jurisdiction or justification for undertaking the review. He asked the judge to instruct the SFA to “put forward a substantial position,” in advance of a full hearing to be heard in Febuary.
The petition is believed to have objected to Dave King being allowed by the SFA to become chairman of Rangers on a number of grounds. It is understood that, while that the association’s rules prevent anyone from being a director of a member football club if they had ever been sentenced to more that two years in prison, King’s conviction in South Africa for tax evasion is a breach of that. There is also the matter of a judgment by a South African Judge that stated King was a “mendacious witness,” and a “glib and shameless liar,” which may be considered relevant.
Another issue that the court may consider was that King had been a director or Rangers PLC (“Oldco”) when it went into liquidation . Would Ashley would have invested £750,000 in shares of the new company if he had known King would be returning to the board? King has also, it may be argued have created legal problems by breaching a legal injunction over the confidentiality of the Rangers’ merchandising agreement during an interview with the Sky Sports TV channel.
Responding to the petition counsel for the SFA, Mr Bodine, said that he sought an early hearing in December to dismiss the petitions. Counsel noted: ” I hardly need to remind you of difficulties Rangers, and Scottish football have faced” adding that “this uncertainty must end.” Bodine said that in his view the SFA had: “no duty to provide explanations” to Mike Ashley arguing “”what is the standing of a 9% shareholder to challenge an SFA decision?”
Counsel for Dave King then rose and said he was “happy to adopt the SFA motions” and asked for “an end to uncertainty” and “expedited hearings”
Lady Wolffe then ruled against a December hearing and instead told the court she would hold a full two day diet in Febuary 2016 as requested by Counsel for MASH.
Court then adjourned.