Posts Tagged ‘companies house’

You’re only paranoid if they’re not out to get you

Monday, September 23rd, 2013

In what we hope will become a weekly ‘lengthy’ feature item in addition to the regular link-log style items, the Hostile Monkey decided to take the time to analyse today’s statement, published on the website of Rangers Football Club, regarding a complaint from the custodians of Ibrox over the BBC’s publication of a recent report which states that one of the club’s subsidiary companies – Sevco Scotland Limited (now known as The Rangers Football Club Limited) which is owned by The Rangers International Football Club Plc, filed an incomplete annual return to Companies House two weeks ago.

The BBC report states that Companies House informed BBC Scotland it would contact the company (Sevco Scotland Limited) to clarify the issues surrounding the incomplete annual return and would confirm if a second annual return needed to be filed.

Rangers waited three days from the date of publication of the BBC’s story (presumably for the club’s lawyers to get out of bed on Monday morning – although, to be fair, the story about the incomplete annual return was actually published over two weeks ago, so the club has had plenty of time to refute any claims of an incomplete annual return) then posted this statement on the club’s website, which the Monkey has dissected here:

Contrary to inaccurate reports by the BBC on Friday, September 20, Rangers Football Club confirmed today that Companies House has not raised any issues or questions with them in relation to the Annual Return that was filed recently for Rangers Football Club Limited.

Interesting use of the word “inaccurate” here. If the story is wrong – and you are absolutely certain – it is usually favourable to say so and remove all doubt. “Inaccurate” leaves room for doubt.

Also, the BBC report makes no mention of Companies House having made contact with “Rangers Football Club” or exactly when any such contact would be made (presumably because the BBC was not told this by Companies House, or any timescales that were given were non-specific) – only that Companies House “would raise the issue with Sevco Scotland Limited” (the former name for The Rangers Football Club Limited).

It should be noted that the Rangers International Football Club plc has engaged Capita Registrars to provide company secretarial services for its group.

It is not entirely clear why should this be “noted”. It could be an attempt to shift blame for the incomplete annual return from the “company” to Capita Registrars, but equally could simply be for clarity. It is also interesting to note this first mention of “The Rangers International Football Club plc” in the statement.

The Annual Return for Rangers Football Club Limited was completed and filed by Capita Registrars in accordance with their normal procedures.

Note: “their normal procedures” – i.e. Capita Registrars’ normal procedures. Not The Rangers Football Club Ltd’s “normal procedures”, or The Rangers International Football Club Plc’s “normal procedures”. Capita Registrars’.

Do not express surprise if Capita Registrars later accepts responsibility for having incorrectly filed the annual return.

Companies House have confirmed to the Company that they have accepted and filed the Annual Return for Rangers Football Club Limited and have not raised any queries in relation to it.

Which “Company” is being referred to here? Sevco Scotland Limited? The Rangers Football Club Limited? The “Club”? The Rangers International Football Club Plc? Capita Registrars? It’s not quite clear – but it is important.

The BBC reported that Companies House were to contact Rangers’ subsidiary SEVCO Scotland Ltd over an incomplete report and also confirm if a second Annual Return would need to be filed.

Yes. This is exactly what the BBC reported. Everything that precedes this sentence is “inaccurate”.

However, Rangers’ lawyers have been informed by Companies House today that Companies House do not normally make public comments or issue official statements to the press in the manner reported by the BBC.

Note the use of the word “normally” here. This would suggest that Companies House can – and do – make public comments or issue official statements to the press regarding companies. It’s baffling as to why Rangers’ lawyers would be required to “confirm” this – the information is freely available on the Companies House website; Companies House employs a four-person team which responds to media enquiries about information stored in its files concerning UK companies.

Companies House also pointed out they have no record on file of a conversation regarding Rangers Football Club Limited and its Annual Return last week.

Note the word “conversation”. Perhaps it was a letter? Or an email? Or Morse Code? Maybe the information was conveyed by smoke signals?

“Conversation” implies a phone call or a face-to-face discussion. Companies House may be telling the truth here – as far as they are aware.

Indeed, it was confirmed by Companies House to Rangers’ lawyers that the Annual Return has been accepted for filing and that Companies House had not contacted and did not expect to be contacting the Company in relation to the Annual Return.

Indeed, these lawyers are doing an awful lot of “confirming”, but the BBC report says otherwise. So, the Rangers statement is asserting that the BBC is lying, but it seems highly unlikely that the BBC would jump the gun about something like this without possessing all of the information necessary to produce the story.

Whatever you think of the BBC, its standards are particularly high.

Once again the BBC have been inaccurate in their reporting of Rangers and this latest example of their unsubstantiated coverage comes hard on the heels of one of their presenters describing Rangers as the ‘old club.’ This despite the BBC Trust’s ruling in June which stated clearly that BBC Scotland’s journalists should not use the terms old and new in relation to the Club.

There’s that word again: “inaccurate”. It’s getting to be a habit.

The complaint about the broadcaster and journalist Jim Spence making an on-air reference to the club as having “died” and the BBC Trust ruling concerning BBC Scotland’s use of the words “old” and “new” in relation to Rangers have absolutely no relation to the news story Rangers are complaining about in this particular statement (ie. the incomplete annual return filed with Companies House), but the inclusion of these extraneous complaints serves an important purpose: it attempts to link all three stories with a single (albeit entirely unrelated) cause, and frees Rangers to pursue the notion that the BBC is out to get them.

This part of the statement also uses the words “unsubstantiated coverage”, which asserts that the BBC’s most recent story was not supported by any evidence. However, the evidence is right there in the report:

“Companies House told BBC Scotland that it would raise the issue with Sevco Scotland Ltd.”

Many Rangers fans believe there are those within the BBC determined to damage this Club and inaccurate, shoddy reporting which ignores their own Trust’s guidelines does nothing to dispel the notion that some journalists are unwilling to accept this Club is on the road to full recovery.

The BBC’s report about the annual return did not “ignore their own Trust’s guidelines”. The BBC Trust does not issue guidelines; it holds the BBC to its own editorial guidelines. The author of the statement appears to have either mistakenly (or, more likely, deliberately), confused the two issues; this recent report makes no mention of “old” and “new” Rangers – but the attempt to link the two is duly applied.

Oddly – and ironically – this is almost identical language used by the BBC’s Jim Spence when describing the corporate structure of Rangers; “some people will tell you the club, well, the club that died”; “many Rangers fans believe”.

The BBC report makes no mention of the “Club” being in a state of poor recovery, yet the Rangers statement makes specific reference to this. Why would this be?

The answer is simple: to strengthen the notion that the BBC (in fact, all of the Scottish media) is out to get Rangers.

The entire statement is very badly-written – almost certainly by someone unaccustomed to discussing or reporting on business matters, but who is more familiar with sporting terminology – where collective entities, such as football clubs, are generally referred to using collective pronouns (“they”, “them”, “their”, “have”) instead of the singular form normally used for corporate entities (“it”, “its”, “has”) – although, to be fair, where football clubs are concerned, the two are often interchangeable.

The wording switches usage from “Companies House has” to “Companies House have” halfway through, and refers to “the BBC have been inaccurate in their reporting of Rangers” as opposed to “the BBC has been inaccurate in its reporting of Rangers”, which would be correct.

On the whole, it conveys a sense of having been written by at least two individuals (possibly more) – the first of whom drafted the basic sentiments of the statement (ie. the BBC’s story is a lie), while the second gave it some pep – which came much later in the text when the so-called “facts” began to dry up and rhetoric was required (ie. the BBC is out to get Rangers).

Ultimately, the two main purposes of the statement are simple: to encourage the club’s sizeable constituency of customers and fans to bully the BBC into submitting to its collective will, while attempting to convince the world that that the public service broadcaster is out to get them.