Monday 20 August 2018

Calls for investigation into business ties between Murdoch MacLennan and Celtic shareholder Dermot Desmond rejected

Chairman Murdoch MacLennan pictured at the Independent News and Media AGM at the Westbury Hotel.
Pic Steve Humphreys
Chairman Murdoch MacLennan pictured at the Independent News and Media AGM at the Westbury Hotel. Pic Steve Humphreys

Donal O’Donovan

The body that runs club soccer in Scotland has rejected a call from the chairman of the Rangers Club for an investigation into possible business ties between Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) chairman Murdoch MacLennan and Dermot Desmond, who is Celtic’s single biggest shareholder.

Celtic and Rangers are long standing and at times bitter rivals in Glasgow.

As well as chairing the SPFL since June last year Mr MacLennan was appointed as chairman of Independent News & Media (INM), which publishes Independent.ie, in March. Dermot Desmond is a minority shareholder in INM.

This week, Rangers chairman, Dave King, issued a statement on the club’s website demanding the suspension of Mr MacLennan as SPFL chairman, pending the outcome of an investigation.

The SPFL rejected the Rangers’ demands, and a spokesman told the Telegraph newspaper that the league had been kept fully informed when Mr MacLennan took up his position with INM.

“The members of the SPFL board were each informed of Murdoch’s appointment on January 19th 2018, the same day it was publicly announced in a press release from Independent News & Media plc.

“That release was also circulated to the entire SPFL board that day. The appointment was widely reported in the national media at the time, including in the Sunday Times, Belfast Telegraph and Sunday Independent. No director raised this issue subsequently and it was not the subject of any board discussions.

“To be definitive, a non-executive position on a plc does not constitute a business relationship between that individual and a minority shareholder in the company and therefore no investigation is warranted.”

Online Editors

Business Newsletter

Read the leading stories from the world of Business.

Also in Business