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Rangers chief Douglas Park accuses Sturgeon of lack of leadership and dereliction of duty as he demands – The Scottish Sun

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http://www.thescottishsun.co.uk/sport/football/6795649/rangers-douglas-park-sturgeon-leadership-dereliction-fans/

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THE full text of the letter written by Rangers chairman Douglas Park to first minister Nicola Sturgeon is in the public domain.

And in it, the Gers chairman hits back over Deputy First Minister John Swinney’s criticisms of the leadership shown by the club as their fans broke Covid-19 regulations as they celebrated the club’s first title in ten years.

Rangers chairman Douglas Park

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Rangers chairman Douglas Park

Instead, he accuses First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and her government officials of showing a lack of leadership and derelicting HER duty – and demanded clarification of those comments.

The letter cites the “behaviour from the other half of the Old Firm outside Parkhead in December” as one factor which indicated to police intelligence that fans would gather after the title was secured.

Park wrote: “Police intelligence indicated that some fans would congregate in groups given the fact that is not only a historic achievement but also due to the behaviour from the other half of the Old Firm outside Parkhead in December.

“It would have been a lack of leadership not to proactively engage on this matter.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon

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First Minister Nicola Sturgeon

“I must reiterate my concern and displeasure at the claims of the deputy First Minister that there is a lack of leadership at Rangers Football club.

“I think this is particularly disingenuous given the fact we have outlined the timeline above and more importantly the fact you have failed as a constituency MSP to engage with us directly on this matter.

“That to me is a lack of leadership and a dereliction of duty.

“I trust that both you, the deputy first minister and the Justice minister will clarify remarks in light of the facts now presented to you.”

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The letter reveals the full timeline of the correspondence between the Ibrox side and Scottish Government officials as the days counted down to their imminent coronation as Scottish Premiership champions.

This began as early as 22nd February, and included comments from manager Steven Gerrard in his press conference ahead of the meeting with St Mirren.

The letter says that the club were left waiting for a response from Justice Minister Humza Yousuf and the police and also claims that there was agreement with Police Scotland and the Government that it was ‘arrogant’ to make major statements on the matter before the title was mathematically confirmed after Celtic’s draw with Dundee United on the Sunday.

In apparent reference to the vandalism of benches in Glasgow’s George Square, Rangers also said: “We cannot understand that after police intelligence clearly highlighting that a celebratory crowd would gather, street furniture was not removed as is standard practice.”

Rangers fans celebrate their 55th title

Fallout following Rangers fans’ celebrations in Glasgow

The letter continued: “It is particularly disappointing that there has been a lack of acknowledgement from the Scottish Government to the wide range of efforts we undertook in recent weeks to limit public safety issues.

“These are not only in relation to general public safety but with an acute focus on the Covid-19 pandemic and the Government guidance.

“It is also particularly disappointing that Mr Swinney has chosen to lambast Rangers publicy, given the fact we had proactively initiated engagement with Police Sccotland, the SPFL, and the Scottish Government as well as the local Member of Parliament.

“To brand us as ‘disgraceful’ is indeed a ‘deep element of concern’ for Rangers as we believe this narrative is not only unfair but crucially, totally inaccurate.

“On 6th March during our game v St Mirren, our managing director agreed to endorse a form of words from Police Scotland the Scottish Government.

“We offered that our communications department would liaise with counterparts within both organisations. The Justice Minister said he would follow up with the police but we did not hear from him again.

“I am at a loss as to what more Rangers Football Club could have done to limit the reaction to winning our historic 55th league title.

“It has been widely accepted amongst the football family that this is one of the greatest modern day sporting achievements and I believe that his should not be downplayed.

“We agreed that it would have been arrogant to use any public statement regarding celebrating a victory prior to us securing three crucial points versus St Mirren.

“Additionally it would have been distasteful to agree a form of word prior to 2pm on Sunday as the mathematical victory depended on a result beyond our control.

“This point was fully acknowledged by both Police Scotland and the government.”


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Moment reckless Rangers fan sets off firework at packed George Square almost hitting fellow supporters

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