Neil Doncaster has challenged Rangers to supply evidence justifying calls for his suspension as Chief Executive of the SPFL.
The Ibrox side have called an EGM of Scotland’s 42 clubs to seek an independent investigation into a vote to end the lower league season early and pay out prize money.
Rangers also want Doncaster and legal advisor Rod McKenzie suspended pending the outcome of an external probe, promising to circulate evidence of impropriety to clubs before the meeting on May 12.
Neil Doncaster has challenged Rangers to supply evidence justifying calls for his suspension
Claiming that an investigation by Deloitte investigators effectively cleared him and McKenzie of any wrongdoing or undue influence on the vote, however, Doncaster insists he has nothing to hide.
‘I think it’s unacceptable for there to be vague allegations against myself and Rod Mckenzie allied to calls for us to be suspended without there being any shred of evidence of any wrongdoing presented against either of us,’ he told Sportsmail.
‘There has been an independent forensic investigation by Deloitte into the chronology of events surrounding the Dundee FC return and it found absolutely no evidence of any improper behaviour by me, by Rod McKenzie, or any member of SPFL staff despite all the SPFL telephone records, email, information and text messages being made available.
‘I have an entirely clear conscience. I believe absolutely that myself, my staff and the board of directors of the SPFL have acted with total integrity and in the best interests of all 42 clubs at all times in a very difficult and unprecedented crisis that we find ourselves in.
The Ibrox side have called an EGM of Scotland’s 42 clubs to seek an independent investigation
‘If there are continuing allegations then people have a duty to bring those forward, be specific and say what wrongdoing -if any – any of us has been accused of and let those specific allegations be investigated by the chairman.’
Allegations of undue influence, bullying and coercion have surfaced following the appearance of private Whats App messages between a group of SPFL Championship clubs. Rangers have obtained support from Hearts, Stranraer, Falkirk and Aberdeen into their calls for an independent investigation and insist they won’t allow the SPFL to mark their own homework by handing over what they have.
Insisting he is in the dark as to what wrong-doing he stands accused of Doncaster added: ‘No, I do not know. These are allegations which are three weeks old.
‘Me and Rod McKenzie are being blamed for things when we have no idea what these alleged incidents of wrongdoing is meant to be.
‘There are vague assertions of bullying and coercion. Les Gray has gone on record saying it is hysterical the idea that I would bully any clubs.
‘If anyone feels bullied by me or Rod or anyone on my team they should be specific and say what it is, when it happened and bring it to the attention of the chairman.’
Rangers have obtained support from clubs like Hearts, Stranraer, Falkirk and Aberdeen
The SPFL have warned that the appointment of QCs and an independent judge to investigate a process they believe to be clean would deprive clubs of a six figure sum.
Responding to accusations that the SPFL would agree to the investigation if they had nothing to hide the former Norwich City CEO says: ‘No, absolutely not.
‘That’s precisely what the Deloitte investigation was designed to do. They had full access to emails, calls and text messages and found no evidence of improper behaviour whatsoever.
‘It has clearly not satisfied a number of people and you now have to question whether anything would satisfy people if a clean bill of health keeps being delivered.
‘Ultimately if people have allegations they wish to make, they should make them, they should be specific and they should be investigated.
‘We operate in a democracy and three clubs are entitled to requisition an AGM. That has now been called for May 12 and it will be up to the members to democratically decide if they wish for the time of the executive team and their own money to be used for this purpose or whether they don’t. The Board will abide by any decision the members make – we are their servants.
‘We spent a huge amount of time working through all the scientific and medical and governmental advice available and came up with a plan to the benefit of all 42 clubs. That plan was put to the members and over 80 per cent of them agreed that it was the right plan to take us forward.
‘It’s telling that in the three weeks since that Resolution no one has come up with any viable alternative.’
For an Independent Investigation to be commissioned 75 per cent of Scotland’s clubs across all four divisions would require to vote in favour of the Rangers resolution. The Ibrox club have promised to give full sight of their evidence to all chairmen before the vote.
The resolution needs only four clubs to vote against it in the Premiership and a similar number in the Championship to spike any EGM. Addressing the notion that a failure to hold an investigation will leave a cloud of suspicion over the league’s actions for some time to come Doncaster added: ‘I think what has been done by Deloitte, with us being interviewed and all that information being made available to them, proves that what we said happened has been unequivocally proven to be the case.
‘There is nothing there I am aware of – at all – that gives me any cause for concern. Ultimately, however, it will be up to the members to decide what they want done. That is the nature of a members’ organisation. And as guardians of the rule book it is imperative that we play by the rules.
‘It is now down to the 42 members to decide whether they wish their time and money to be spent on an open-ended and lengthy investigation to be carried out by a QC or whether they want us to focus on doing our best to save the game in this country.’