Investigation finds no SPFL wrongdoing over Dundee vote as Rangers call for independent inquiry

An investigation has found no evidence of wrongdoing on the part of the SPFL in relation to the submission of Dundee’s vote on the resolution to end the lower leagues in Scotland.

Independent non-executive SPFL director Karyn McCluskey has written an open letter to clubs and supporters, outlining the conclusions reached by auditing firm Deloitte following an investigation into the timeline of events on April 10 when Dundee’s vote went missing, before they changed their voting intentions the following week.

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But Rangers have reiterated their calls for an independent investigation into the vote.

Rangers, who have written to the SPFL board to support a proposal by Aberdeen to attempt to finish the Scottish Premiership season behind closed doors, had previously called for the suspension of CEO Neil Doncaster.

Karyn McCluskey’s letter in full

Open letter to all SPFL clubs, the media and supporters of Scottish clubs

Dear All,

You will all be aware of reports in the press, calling for an independent investigation and for the suspension of SPFL’s chief executive Neil Doncaster and SPFL’s legal counsel Rod McKenzie in relation to the resolution that enabled the payment of nearly £2m to Championship, League One and League Two clubs.

The focus of the questions raised in the press concerned the events of the evening of Friday 10 April, when Dundee FC attempted to return a voting slip to the SPFL in connection with the resolution.

In order to ensure complete probity and independence during this process, on Thursday 16 April, Deloitte LLP, a leading global provider of audit and assurance services, was appointed by the SPFL’s independent non-executive directors to carry out a comprehensive and independent investigation into the factual chronology relating to Dundee FC’s return.

Deloitte has completed its forensic investigation and the findings confirm the following sequence of key events on 10 April 2020. Sequence of key events on 10 April 2020:

1. An SPFL Board Meeting commenced at 17:00 on Friday 10 April 2020. At the start of the meeting 38 returns had been identified as received, and 1 further return was received during the meeting at 17:10, bringing the total number of returns to 39.

Ladbrokes Premier: 10 returns in favour, 1 against

Ladbrokes Championship: 7 returns in favour, 2 against

Ladbrokes Leagues One and Two: 16 returns in favour, 3 against

It was noted during the meeting that one vote remained outstanding from the Premiership, one from the Championship, and one from Leagues One and Two.

2. The Board meeting concluded at around 17:15.

3. At 17:15, Neil Doncaster called Dundee FC Managing Director, John Nelms, and left a message asking whether Dundee FC intended to submit a return.

4. At 17:39, Neil Doncaster had a conversation with John Nelms and confirmed that as far as he knew, no vote had been returned from Dundee FC. John Nelms thought Dundee FC’s vote may have been returned, but would make enquiries.

5. At 17:50, Eric Drysdale (Dundee FC Club Secretary) spoke to Iain Blair (SPFL’s Company Secretary and Director of Operations) asking whether Dundee FC’s return had been received. Iain Blair confirmed that it had not.

6. At 18:00, a text was received by Iain Blair, from Eric Drysdale, intimating that the Dundee FC vote should not be considered as cast.

7. At around 20:30, Ian Blair accessed the SPFL’s email quarantine system (which is a feature of the email system operated by a separate third party) at the suggestion of Rod Mackenzie and identified an unread email from Eric Drysdale that had been sent at 16:48 on 10 April 2020. Iain Blair released the quarantined email and it appeared in his SPFL email inbox at 20:55. Prior to identifying the quarantined email at around 20:30, no one from the SPFL had seen the email from Eric Drysdale.

Deloitte’s examination of phone records, mobile communications (including texts) and email data has identified no evidence of improper behaviour by SPFL personnel concerning the submission of the Dundee FC vote.

I hope that Scottish football will now focus on the significant issues that face our game, otherwise many clubs may not survive this period.

We will have to be forward-thinking, and work collegiately to quickly present ideas and proposals to Scottish Government and others which will enable Scottish football to recover and progress.

Make no mistake, this is a critical time for all clubs, and we must concentrate on what is important to the future of our game.

Investigation ‘alarmingly failed’

Rangers responded to the findings of Deloitte’s report by saying it “alarmingly failed” to address wider issues, calling for a further independent investigation into others factors surrounding the vote.

The club said they had requested a general meeting of all 42 members clubs to consider an investigation into factors including the decision to announce the result of an incomplete vote; the decision to allow Dundee to change their vote; and the interaction between SPFL executives and clubs during the voting process.

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