Football: Celtic win Farry fight

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The Independent Online
JIM FARRY'S football career is effectively at an end after the Scottish Football Association chief executive was yesterday suspended over the Jorge Cadete affair. Celtic have claimed for three years that Farry delayed the processing of the transfer of the Portuguese player in time for the Scottish Cup semi-final against Rangers in 1996. Celtic lost the game 2-1, but yesterday they won the war against the most powerful figure in the Scottish game.

The SFA has offered Celtic a written apology as well as agreeing to pay compensation and meet Celtic's legal fees, and Fergus McCann, the Celtic chief executive, yesterday wasted little time in condemning the part played by Farry. "It has taken Celtic and its supporters three years to receive justice on the issue of the SFA's chief executive Jim Farry's failure to properly register Jorge Cadete.

"It is deplorable that a prominent member club should be disadvantaged in this way when on several occasions the SFA's chief executive had the opportunity to make the correct decision. Mr Farry's failure to properly and timeously register Jorge Cadete 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. This case demonstrates clearly that Mr Farry cannot be allowed to hold and exercise such powerful authority."

The issue recently went to arbitration with the SFA admitting liability before proceedings could finish. Clearly angered by the whole situation, Celtic are demanding the dismissal of Farry, who has held the top job at the SFA since 1990 following 10 years as secretary of the Scottish League.

In the last nine years he has been frequently criticised for his dictatorial attitude which at times appeared out of tune with the ordinary supporter. He insisted on Scotland playing a European Championship qualifier on the day of the funeral of Princess Diana only to back down in the face of severe pressure and criticism.

Farry's motives for delaying the Cadete transfer remain unclear and although Celtic supporters will interpret his actions as indicating a pro-Rangers stance McCann refused to be drawn on the topic. "I'm not claiming there was malice but there was intent. There was a failure on his part despite the advice of Fifa and Celtic. This is a matter that goes beyond Celtic Football Club, it's a question of somebody who has failed to follow the rules of football."

McCann intends to hold discussions with the other clubs in the Scottish Premier League and his frustration with the powerbrokers at the SFA could prove the motive towards a shift of power towards the new body who would effectively run the elite body of Scottish football. In the meantime Farry has agreed to co-operate with an SFA investigation into his actions.