Celtic Update London Stock Exchange, free legal advice for Hearts and a Dundee v Inverness Caley Premiership Play-off

CELTIC PLC today updated the London Stock Exchange on various matters including the confirmation that a Ninth successive Scottish title has been won and also on the impact that COVID-19 is having on the football club.

And the update cleared up what was something of a grey area – whether Celtic executives and senior staff, football management and player agreed to a pay-cut AND wage deferral to asset the club through the lockdown. The wording on Celtic’s statement at the time was somewhat ambiguous, although The Celtic Star’s information, as we told you at the time, was that reductions had been agreed swell as deferrals.

That was indeed the case. And indeed in the note to the London Stock Exchange Celtic are very clear that the reductions were substantial and they were volunteered by those involved, so credit where it is due.

“Measures include the Club’s Chief Executive, Manager, Non-executive Directors, first team squad, executive team, and background staff, including Academy and Football Operation executives volunteering to take significant reductions in salaries as well as making deferrals on a significant proportion of earnings,” the Celtic COVID-19 Trading Update to the London Stock Exchange confirmed.

Financial expert David Low, also chair at the Celtic Trust, posted the release earlier today. With all the hysteria and outpouring of 9IAR celebrations among the Celtic Support around the world, it would be easy to overlook such a technical matter, but this is at the core of how Celtic with not just survive but thrive as we move back towards playing football at the end of July.

Neil Lennon in his interview with Sky Sports this afternoon confirmed that the Celtic players will return to training on 10 June and the SPFL stated last week that they were working towards play resuming (now of course, the new season starting) at the end of July.

The Trading Update also confirmed that the Club will celebrate today’s title win at the appropriate time and thanked the supporters, players, staff, commercial partners and the stakeholders for continued support during this uncertain time.

The measures taken mean that the club regard the impact from the pandemic as being ‘short term’ while advising that the Club expects to publish full year accounts in the autumn of 2020.

Meanwhile a word on Hearts and their threat to pursue legal action against the SPFL after today’s announcement that the season is over, Celtic are Champions and Hearts are relegated and no restructuring can be agreed for the new term.

A leading Edinburgh solicitor, well versed in dealing with Judicial Reviews, who has previously told The Celtic Star that he/she was surprised by the decision of Celtic fans not to pursue a similar action against the Scottish FA regarding the Lord Nimmo Smith decision after the Supreme Court found that the Rangers EBT tax scheme was unlawful, has given us an opinion on what Ann Budge is threatening today.

It’s worth noting what the senior legal professional has told The Celtic Star today. (We never asked but were sent the opinion anyway! Oh thanks is due for the help in defeating the Null and Voiders).

“Heart’s fans ready to pledge ‘serious money’ for legal battle,” our brief noted.

“The amount of money raised, serious or otherwise, is not as important as the merits of the legal case and it’s prospects of success. The Court’s permission is required to proceed with a judicial review and they will take into account 2 issues: whether there is ‘sufficient interest’ in the subject matter and whether there is a ‘real prospect of success’. It is also worth asking if this case raises an important matter of public policy which will inform future actions and decisions? Or is it a one off situation…a once in a hundred year event?

“Besides, ‘success’ will not necessarily give Hearts want they want…the Court will not impose a different decision or outcome, to that of the SPFL. Success means that today’s SPFL decision may be quashed and the SPL will have to make. the decision again, taking into account whatever defect in law was identified by the Court. That more often than not means the same outcome.

“Lawyers’ often say that, in judicial review cases, there are no wrong answers, only wrong questions. So ‘success’ likely to be SPFL reaching the same answer via a different question.

“Or maybe it is one way for Hearts to go to Europe this year..assuming they make it before Brexit transition period expires.”

As soon as play was stopped, The Celtic Star argued that Celtic, 13 points clear and with a superior goal difference of 25, would be worthy Champions and no-one could argue with that without sounding bitter and twisted. Step forward Alex Rae, then the coordinated attempt at forcing Null and Void through – a plan that died in the spam folder at Hampden on Good Friday.

By Easter Sunday it was The Celtic Star who exposed the plot in an exclusive with our green fingers pointing North to the Highlands and the brown brogue wearing Inverness CEO Scot Gardiner. How accurate our story was wasn’t fully appreciated until later. Over 90,000 people read that article – truly astonishing and our source was informed and very reliable.

We also stated that relegating Hearts would be unfair and the same goes for Partick Thistle. While they have acted respectfully in recent weeks, right at the start their manager Ian McCall was on BBC Sportsound arguing for Null and Void. Shaft Celtic to save their own skin was never going to have our support.

Increasing the league to 14 teams next season just seems sensible, fair and reasonable, in the same way that naming Celtic Champions if the league could not continue, was fair given the massive lead we had established on the park.

Of course the big downside of that is that Inverness could benefit by getting promoted. Wouldn’t it be delicious if the SPFL clubs voted for reconstruction to a 14 team league but with a play-off for the 14th spot between the blue nosed Highlanders and third placed Championship side Dundee, who changed their vote after the spam filter killed off the Ibrox plot to Null and Void the league.

Imagine if Dundee stuffed them! Would be tremendous. If Inverness get themselves promoted, the games against Celtic will be interesting. Very interesting indeed.

About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor, who has edited numerous Celtic books over the past decade or so including several from Lisbon Lions, Willie Wallace, Tommy Gemmell and Jim Craig. Earliest Celtic memories include a win over East Fife at Celtic Park and the 4-1 League Cup loss to Partick Thistle as a 6 year old. Best game? Easy 4-2, 1979 when Ten Men Won the League. Email editor@thecelticstar.co.uk

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