The SFA have issued a letter of apology and

will make a sum of compensation

IN ONE of the most astonishing climbdowns in Scottish football history, the Scottish Football Association yesterday conceded abject defeat in their contest with Celtic over the registration of Jorge Cadete and, even more remarkably, unreservedly blamed Jim Farry for what they accepted were ''failures on the part of its chief executive'' in handling the affair.

They suspended Farry on full pay while looking further into the details of the case, which was put before John Murray QC, the

former Lord Dervaird, but it now seems impossible for the chief executive to survive. Celtic want him removed from office and are

supported by a posse of other clubs in the Scottish Premier League.

Farry himself, typically, retained his dignity when he made a statement from his home, saying: ''I have received notification from my employer that the SFA may require to carry out an additional investigation of certain issues arising from the dispute between Celtic and the SFA.

''I indicated I would be pleased to co-operate with any such additional investigation, which will be the third review since the player was registered for Celtic on March 30, 1996.

''It is normal, I understand, although it is a first for me, that when an employer notifies you of a suspension, pending the outcome of a proposed investigation, it is prudent to comply.''

The further inquiry does seem a matter of course as the

evidence of his alleged negligence, revealed by Celtic yesterday, has already been accepted by the office bearers, vice president John McBeth, second vice president Chris Robinson, and treasurer George Peat, who will make the final judgment on Farry's future.

President Jack McGinn is

precluded from taking part as he is the Celtic representative on the executive committee.

On the basis of all the facts put forward by Celtic, the chances of Farry remaining in office appear to be remote.

In their press conference at Parkhead, managing director

Fergus McCann, flanked by director Kevin Sweeney, who was club secretary at the time of the Cadete signing, and lawyer Rod McKenzie, who acted for Celtic in the tribunal called to arbitrate on the case, laid out a damning indictment of the way the

registration of Cadete had been

handled by the chief executive. He also made it clear that he believes Farry should go.

''Mr Farry's failure on more than one occasion to properly register Cadete, and the serious implications for Celtic arising, leaves the club in no other position than to ask for the office bearers of the SFA to recognise that Mr Farry's position is untenable,'' he said in a written statement.

In essence, the allegations claimed that Farry ignored advice from Celtic and FIFA, that the rules had been breached, and that there was no justification for delaying the registration of the player signed from Sporting


''I cannot see a rational explanation for his actions. I am not claiming there was any malice, but there was intent.

''In the overall interests of Scottish football, and to maintain its reputation for fairness and

justice, this case demonstrates clearly that Mr Farry cannot be allowed to hold and exercise such powerful authority.

''I would refute that there is any vendetta on my part. This was not a mistake, it was a failure to administer the rules correctly.''

In the end Cadete was registered on March 30, 1996, too late to enable him to play in the Scottish Cup semi-final on

April 7, which they lost 2-1 to Rangers.

After detailing the Celtic case which, ''regretfully, had taken three long years to reach a just and reasonable settlement,'' McCann made it abundantly clear that he and the club did not believe the chief executive should stay in office any longer.

''Frankly, I am glad it is over. I was just doing my job to make sure that Celtic were treated fairly. This is not a Celtic issue any more, it is a football issue and I am sure other clubs in the SPL will be horrified at what has

happened in this case.''

Celtic will receive compensation from the SFA, which McCann described as ''substantial'', believed to be more than #100,000, from the SFA, and their legal expenses, which will be at least as much, will be met by the association.

Celtic claim that, despite numerous attempts to have the Cadete issue resolved, including a request for an apology and

compensation at the time, which would have ended the affair, they had to go to arbitration in the end as SFA rules do not permit resort to the courts.

They point out that, due to the weight of evidence of Farry's ''negligence'', the SFA abandoned the tribunal case before any

conclusions could be reached.

Lawyer Rod McKenzie explained that the agreement to settle before the end of the

tribunal was reached on Friday after ''a senior legal representative for the SFA approached me during the course of cross examination of Mr Farry''.

Said McCann: ''I was there when he was giving evidence and his position, which was quite amazing, was that he was right, his executive committee was wrong, FIFA were wrong. He did not agree with his own assistants and he maintained that black was white. The case was going nowhere from the SFA's point of view. He did not seem to be making sense and I understood why the case was ended.

''If I had been his counsel I would have done the same thing, brought it to an end as soon as possible.''

In their letter to Celtic admitting liability, the SFA made a

profuse apology. After regretting the failures of Farry the letter, signed by Mr McBeth, goes on to say that if it had not been for those failures, ''the registration of the player would have been

given effect by not later than March 23''.

It agrees that Cadete should have been available for the cup-tie with Rangers on April 7. According to Mr Sweeney, who negotiated with Farry during the time of the signing, the simple facts underlined their case: ''The International Transfer Certificate was received here on March 7. There cannot be any conditions attached to that

certificate as was claimed. The player was not registered until 23 days later on the original basis.''

McCann insisted that questions had to be asked of the bureaucracy that exists in the running of the game. ''Who is running football in this country? Is there manipulation of material?''

He hoped that out of it all would come progress to a

different style of running football. ''The professional clubs who make the money, paid by fans, want to have a bigger say in

running the game.''

It is very clear that he does not think Jim Farry fits into that

scenario. Now, on the assumption that the chief executive will have to go on the decision of the office bearers, the search will be on for a successor. The leading candidates are likely to be Peter

Donald, currently Scottish League secretary, SFA deputy chief executive Bill Richardson and David Findlay, assistant director of administration at the SFA.

qA fight too far - Page 29

Timetable of events that led to Farry's downfall . . .

February 26, 1996

Valid registration form submitted by Celtic to the SFA plus valid contractual agreement between Celtic and Jorge Cadete. No objection at any stage taken by the SFA to the content of that form and the agreement. Since player registered with the Portuguese Football Association international clearance required under FIFA Regulations.

March 7, 1996

International Transfer Certificate (ITC) received, by fax, from Portuguese FA. Confirmed to Celtic by fax from SFA on March 8. No indication that SFA has any concerns with ITC.

March 12, 1996

Original of ITC received by post from Portuguese FA in identical terms to fax received on March 7. FIFA issue a fax to the SFA advising that the ITC was issued by the Portuguese FA under the instructions of FIFA so that the player could be registered in Scotland.

The SFA fail to process the registration of the player.

Had the SFA been following their usual procedure the registration of the player would have been given effect to from February 26, 1996.

March 12-23, 1996

Mr Farry regards the ITC received on March 7 and 12 as being invalid and will not register the player until Celtic have resolved a compensation dispute with Sporting Lisbon and the conditions which the SFA consider are attached to the ITC are removed. Celtic receive no communication advising why the SFA regard the ITC as invalid.

March 23, 1996

Celtic have entered into agreement with Sporting Lisbon and Jorge Cadete has

separately entered into another agreement with Sporting Lisbon. Celtic have to

conclude a new agreement with the player. A second set of player registration papers are submitted by Celtic to the SFA incorporating a full professional application form and the new player agreement.

March 27, 1996

The SFA fax Celtic refusing to register on the basis of the application forms

submitted on March 23, 1996 alleging that there is a clause in the player

agreement to which they take exception. A clause in substantially identical terms was included in the player agreement

submitted on February 26, 1996 and no objection was taken at any time by the SFA to that same clause.

March 29, 1996

Fax received by the SFA from FIFA advising that the ITC was valid from March 7 and that the issue of any contractual dispute regarding the player status with Sporting Lisbon was irrelevant. The SFA Executive Committee meets, ''deems'' international clearance to have been granted, and requires the player agreement submitted on March 23 to be amended by deleting the clause objected to on March 27 and a further two clauses not objected to on March 27. Celtic are given no opportunity to make representations to the SFA executive regarding the position at, or prior to, the meeting on March 29.

During a telephone conversation between an officer of Celtic and Mr Farry, Celtic advised that they would be required to submit a third application form and player agreement with clauses deleted. According to the evidence given on behalf of Celtic, an agreement was reached during the course of that telephone conversation between Mr Farry and the officer of Celtic that the registration of the player would be given effect to on March 22 on the basis of the third form which would be submitted either later on March 29 or 30.

Mr Farry denies any such agreement. Celtic require registration by no later than March 23 in order to ensure that Jorge Cadete is available for selection to play in the Scottish Cup Semi-Final tie with Rangers on April 7. No evidence that SFA executive advised of this circumstance at meeting on March 29.

March 30

Third form and agreement submitted to SFA. Mr Farry refuses to register with effect from March 22, insists on amendments to the third player agreement, which are effected that day, and proceeds to effect the registration on March 30. Celtic accept the position because the Scottish Football League registration deadline expires on March 31 and if Celtic do not accept registration on March 30, Cadete will not be available to play in any league matches in Scotland for the remainder of the 1995/96 season.

March 30 to end of

1995/1996 Season

Cadete plays in all remaining games apart from cup semi-final tie on April 7. Celtic lose 2-1. Cadete, although fit, cannot play because of the date of his SFA registration.

1996/97 Season

Cadete scores 33 goals in 43 games.

October 7, 1997

FIFA write to the SFA, following SFA inquiry, advising the SFA that any conditions that may be attached to an ITC are to be regarded as null and void and that an ITC is required to be accepted as a valid ITC from the date specified on the ITC. In the case of Jorge Cadete this was March 7, 1996.

Celtic's Position

1. On the basis of the first valid application for registration, submitted on February 26, 1996, registration of Cadete should have been given effect from February 26, when international clearance by way of the ITC was received by the SFA on March 7.

2. On the basis of the second valid application form and player agreement submitted on March 23, 1996, Cadete should have been registered with effect from March 23, since the SFA were in receipt of a valid set of player registration documents and the ITC received on March 7.

3. On the basis of the agreement entered into by telephone on March 29, 1996, Jorge Cadete ought to have been registered with effect from March 22, 1996 on submission of the third application and player agreement on March 30.

4. The SFA have now accepted that as a consequence of failures on the part of James Farry Esq., the registration process was not carried out as it ought to have been and that the player ought to have been

registered by no later than March 23, 1996, thereby enabling him to play in the Scottish Cup semi-final against Rangers.