Own Goal Time in Scottish Football?

112
11164

In these difficult Covid 19 dominated times with no apparent roadmap for escape we are all on the cusp of financial pressures that will only get worse for our clubs and football communities.
Ahead of writing this I spoke with a couple of club insiders this morning looking for extra insight.

No surprises that both are genuinely disturbed about the current crisis and especially fear the financial implications.

Both commented without much prodding that we have never more needed leadership from the SFA, SPFL, UEFA and also the government.
“Making it up as they go along” and “Playing Peter off against Paul” were interesting quotes on the current plans to bring a partial end to our season.

There was in particular a lack of support for what they have been asked to cast a vote on tomorrow and how it has been packaged.

For those who have been gorging on Netflix here is an extract that summarises the SPFL position and plan.
the SPFL has therefore today circulated a written resolution to its 42 member clubs recommending that SPFL clubs approve:

  • the immediate termination of Season 2019/20 for the Ladbrokes Championship, League 1 and League 2, without the remaining fixtures in the League being played;
  • all play-off competitions being cancelled; and
  • final season placings to be determined by the number of points per game earned by each club in the matches they have played. This would result in the following final divisional tables for Season 2019/20 in the Ladbrokes Championship, League 1 and League 2:

if approved, this would result in the promotion of Dundee United, Raith Rovers and Cove Rangers, and the relegation of Partick Thistle and Stranraer.
if the resolution is approved, the SPFL has also committed to consulting with clubs over the possibility of league restructuring ahead of season 2020/21.

It Doesn’t Have to Be Like This

The Scottish Football Supporters Association Board (all volunteers) is a mix of fans of different clubs, some big and some diddy. No club or club attitude dominates our thinking in any way.
As a group of fans we have been discussing the deepening crisis because the moment lockdown came into place all football fans suddenly became faced with a different world.

  • Not just no football to watch.
  • Maybe clubs disappearing.
  • And a very uncertain future when things start happening again.

None of us know how much things will have changed if, or rather when, new normality returns but it is not difficult to challenge the SPFL proposals in tomorrows vote.

To us as a group they are perhaps well meaning to get closure but deeply misguided and will potentially drown in unintended consequences and hubris.

Our SFSA board member Henry McLeish is probably most proud to be an ex East Fife semi-pro, but also a well respected ex Scottish First Minister and also author of the insightful (but mostly ignored) McLeish Reports outlining where change was most needed.
Henry said that in his view there is no merit in going ahead with Friday’s vote as it currently stands.

His main reasons are it is confrontational between member clubs some with vested- interests. Furthermore it will damage the whole ethos of our burgeoning and vibrant football pyramid.

Maybe worst of all it is ultimately open to on-going expensive and damaging arguments and litigations because of financial claims and counter claims.

Time for Cool Heads and Clear Thinking

The Scottish Football Supporters Association don’t profess to have all the answers and have no vested interests but here we have created a 3 point strategy that we feel will help guide Scottish Football to best ride this crisis and allow the real planning and budgeting at all clubs ahead of whatever is coming our way.

Parameter 1
This is Not a Time for Own Goals.
Covid 19 and the aftermath will cause enough financial hardship and stress to clubs and fans.
This is not a time to pitch clubs vs clubs or fans vs fans. And not a particularly good time to offer a possibility, of a possibility, of a possibility of reorganisation in time for Hearts and others not to get unfairly relegated.

Parameter 2
We Need an Interim Plan Where There Are no Losers

This could be a 1 year’s solution, possibly 2 at most, where every club (and fan) gets a positive post Covid 19 start allowing the best possible financial move into the new season 2020 – 2121 for all.

See our plan starter for ten below (insights and other plans welcome)

Parameter 3
Scottish Football Desperately Needs a Re-launch (But not in a manic rush)
How best should we set up our league structures to help our domestic and international game move into the future?

How do we look at an updated list of McLeish insights and incorporate them?

How do we involve the Scottish Government and the real stakeholders, the fans?

How do we capitalise on our football community for the greater good?

The recent surge of clubs coming into the fairly new pyramid system both in the Highland area but especially in the central and southwest regions is screaming out for a new and fairer framework.

Any long-term solution is likely to be evolutionary rather than revolutionary and grounded but it must be fit for purpose and fair for all from day 1 for all the members.
It has to work and be seen to work top down and bottom up.

How Might an Interim Plan Look for 2020-2021?

Here is a starter for ten that doesn’t change very much from what works today and incorporates the following.

  1. No relegation for season 2019-2020
  2. No need for play-offs.
  3. No Covid-driven negative vote on Friday 10 April

Scottish Premiership 2020-2021
14 Clubs (This year’s 12 plus the top 2 in the Championship)

Scottish Championship 2020-2021
14 Clubs (The 8 remainers from this year’s championship plus the top 6 from the current first division)

Scottish Division 1
16 clubs (4 remainers from current division 1, + all ten clubs from division 2 + the champions from Highland and Lowland Leagues.
Current number of senior clubs 42 Number in interim plan 44

Looking Ahead
League Reconstruction season 2021 onwards in a wide and open process involving the clubs, the Scottish Government and the fans and looking at how to best run professional and semi professional men’s football across Scotland.

In Summary
Times are and will become hard enough
All 42 Clubs and Fans Should Be Working Together

Together We Can Stop the Own Goal Vote

Andrew Smith

112 COMMENTS

  1.      Celtic fans will miss out on the adrenaline rush of sorrows and joy, in the run up to what will be a record equalling league tally, (previously held by ourselves), of 9 in a row. Only a fool would suggest Celtic will not, or would not, have triumphed. A semi-final and potentially a final, of a never to be equalled quadrebel is in the pipeline, with the first of those trophies already in the bag. 

        Cup games are cup games, but a betting man would only be discouraged by the low odds on offer.

       With money in the bank, a more than able board-room of directors, substantial income from outside sources, and a sizeable credit rating, we are in a good place, (excepting the virus related issues). 

        Probably the only club in Scotland least persuaded or tempted by "Self-interest".

        Celtic's only self-interest, if it can be called that, is ensuring as many, and as high a quality of-competitors remain.

       Having a board-room of business acumen unequalled in our wee country, and a couple of genuine billionaires in the back/ground, is exactly the kind of thinking people to advance our game, and see it through this crisis.

        As a mere fan, I will be disappointed to miss out on what may have been the glory run of all glory run-ins, to the end of any season's campaign ever. 

        So lets leave it to a relatively speaking tin-pot Dundee to decide…….Lets allow Sevco to steer the narrative. ……D'Oh !

        I'm all for Sevco's wish to give the season every opportunity to complete, but am acutely aware that clubs need money now. 

       The loan idea?…..Absolute bonkers !…..Clubs may go bust anyway, and it is money lost from the game. There are numerous ways for these loan funds to be abused and disappear. 

        Instead, how about the SFA just issue a cover note, to the tune of the expected league dividend due.

    Whack the league pay-out money into an escrow account, and clubs can forward invoices, and purpose of invoice, to the said account, The lawyers handling the account can then inform clubs when they are maxed out. 

        If and when the season can be completed, the invoices can be settled, and the remainder, if any, paid to the clubs on their pro-rata portion. This will provide comfort to those owed.

        However, if a club goes bust due to debts exceeding their escrow portion, the portion allotted  is relinquished back into the account, and none of the debts of the over-stretched club will be honoured.

       Because that will be their own fault. Not the fault of the escrow. 

       Fair enuff?

         

       

        

        

  2. Macfurlgy. The only deal on the table Proposed is.

    14 teams . Play home and away =26 games. Split.

    play home and away 12 games. 38 games total as now.

     

  3. CO , tinpot Dundee is very harsh. The league is not decided by one game.

    This vote is not decided by one club.

     

     

  4. I still say those who abstained should now have their vote scrapped they had their chance and for whatever reason decided not to cast it. To now let them have say another 25 days is ludicrous and will give rise to thoughts of corruption whatever way they now vote I smell sh++e. The laugh is only Hearts had the bottle to cast their no vote in the top league. The null and void screamers abstained and their fans were blaming Hearts for not voting on the loony tunes forum yesterday you really could not make this up.

  5. watcher 11th April 2020 at 12:14 

       CO , tinpot Dundee is very harsh. The league is not decided by one game. This vote is not decided by one club.

     -=====================================

       Maybe harsh, but I did say relatively speaking.

       I get that Dundee are not the deciding factor in the vote, but they are the delaying factor. The potential for some clubs to unnecessarily suffer due to this delay is immeasurable at the time being. however almost every club forfeited their 28 day resolution time-frame, in recognition of the urgency required. 

       I could have worded it better. Apologies.  

        

  6. Sorry I may have screwed up that last bit about Hearts I was sure I read late yesterday that Ann Budge had said that Hearts had voted no but I can't find it anywhere.I may be going slightly mad as I have been in lockdown for a couple of weeks before the official 1 started my work was done in as soon as the very first cases started to appear works deciding they would not let their people travel. I only get out now to walk the dogs so I apologise if I got it wrong.

  7. Hearts did vote no so did sevco so was actually 10-2 saying now Hearts were late with the vote I said before you could not make this up. Well I will give it a rest for a while dog walking time stay safe everyone.

  8. Watcher @ 12.07

     

    when you say “only proposal on the table” can I ask,

     

    what?

    how?

    where?

    when?

    who by?

    obviously I will fill in my own “why” blanks as appropriate.

  9. Can emails sent not be received? Surely that can very quickly be independently checked?

    (current point on Sportsound)

  10. Would it not have been possible to pay the clubs now the minimum payments they could expect in prize money from the league , if it's perceived as a financial problem ? In the Premiership , the top six is finalised  so all can be paid sixth-place prize money with the rest distributed when final standings are achieved . Bottom six all get twelfth place money , and so on through the leagues .

  11. Wow.  Don’t know if anyone’s listened to the last hour of sportsound.  If not well worth a download.

  12. John Clark 11th April 2020 at 14:13

    If I am sending an email that I have to confirm arrived, and when, I simply chose the options to get a delivery receipt and a read receipt.

     

    Also

    If the vote requires 75% YES (of all clubs able to vote, as opposed to those votes received) then if a vote is not received then it is effectively a NO. So if someone was voting NO anyway then it wouldn’t make any difference. It’s only YES votes which would be missed.

  13. The latest statement is out

    https://rangers.co.uk/news/headlines/rangers-football-club-statement/

     

    Saturday, 11 April 2020, 15:00

    by Rangers Football Club

    WE have been presented with evidence via a whistleblower that raises serious concerns surrounding the SPFL’s processes relating to its stewardship of the voting on the resolution presented to member Clubs.

    Rangers’ Interim Chairman, Douglas Park, attempted to discuss this evidence with SPFL chief executive, Neil Doncaster, who initially refused to do so. The SPFL followed up that call with an e-mail, which we believe was a thinly disguised attempt to silence legitimate concerns.

    Rangers will not be bullied into silence. We believe it is in the interests of all Scottish clubs and supporters that the evidence, which is alarming, be addressed as quickly as possible.

    The voting debacle and the evidence we possess raise serious questions concerning the corporate governance of the SPFL.

    Mr Park said: “The lack of leadership and responsibility from the SPFL as a members’ organisation has shocked me. If ever there was a time for complete openness and transparency, it is now. Crucial decisions are being made on the issues of promotion and relegation behind closed doors and without proper time for consideration or debate.

    “The farcical conduct of this affair seems to me to bring the corporate governance and business operations of the SPFL into sharp focus. It is an example of an undemocratic culture, which has existed within the SPFL for far too long.

    “As a member club, we are disturbed by the evidence that has been presented and feel there is no choice but to call for an independent investigation into this entire matter. Each member of the SPFL board has a duty to its members to ensure that such an investigation is instructed without delay.

    “All we ask for is equality and respect. In the past few days, we have become alarmed at a seeming lack of even-handedness and fair play from the SPFL. This is surely unacceptable and, if substantiated, must be remedied.

    “Other member clubs, who have seen the evidence we hold, share our concerns.

    “We call for the suspension of the SPFL’s Chief Executive, Neil Doncaster and its legal adviser, Rod McKenzie while an independent investigation is conducted.”

  14.  Ha! The wolf bites the hand that fed the 5-Way Agreement: Park calls for suspension of Doncaster and Rod mackenzie!

    Oh, the irony.

    Oh the “rats in a sack” syndrome.

    And gombeen man says ‘forget about the rules’ ……… oh, he said that in effect in 2012!

     

  15. “Mr Park said: “The lack of leadership and responsibility from the SPFL as a members’ organisation has shocked me. If ever there was a time for complete openness and transparency, it is now. Crucial decisions are being made on the issues of promotion and relegation behind closed doors and without proper time for consideration or debate.” 

    Without proper time for consideration or debate?   

    It’s been spoken about for weeks now!

     

    And once again fellow member clubs have been in consultation with their spiritual leaders?  

    “Other member clubs, who have seen the evidence we hold, share our concerns.”

     

    Having said all that I’m happy too see Doncaster & McKenzie suspended for whatever reason by whomsoever!  Who knows what will come out in the wash by bitter betrayed men!

     

     

  16. One thing that is worth mentioning which doesn’t seem to be.  I do have a degree of sympathy for Dundee (tin pot or not!) in so far as they were the “Club 12” that were given what, 5 days notice that they’d be a premiership Club in 2012.

     

    but they’ve not been shed in the best light in the last hour or so!

  17. Rangers latest statement makes interesting reading. Who are they after here and why? If this evidence against the SPFL is so damning then why are other clubs not speaking out? After all, siding with Rangers will present them with no issues at all. They would be on very safe ground. 

    On another note we should not forget not one single person on that Rangers Board has ever said Rangers illegal tax evasion was wrong. They also railed against an independent investigation into how the SFA handled it. None of them get to hold the moral high ground on anything. 

  18. Re the Doncaster 'witch hunt' by Sevco…

    …They could just have opened there own can of worms! 

    The canary that sang?

    Plus … wtf is Robertson all about?

  19. I hate to say I told you so…..

    BUT blush
     

    what’s noticeable in the Sportsound discussion I referenced before is Celtic, Dundee Utd, Raith Rovers and Cove Rangers weren’t mentioned once I don’t believe.  It appeared very much to be case of differentiating between money distribution, relegation and subsequent reconstruction.  Awarding trophies “as is” doesn’t seem to be exercising them at all.

     

    I do wonder if all clubs share that view mind.

  20. Let’s not get the current matter conflated with the wrongs that were done in 2011-2013.

    There are serious issues and accusations being made about the conduct of officials at the SPFL regarding their recent proposals and subsequent vote. If they are correct then there should be no hiding place and I believe that everyone on this blog should support the independent investigation requested by TRFC.

    Please don’t let the tribal rivalries get in the way of calling out the wrongs within the football authorities and hold those responsible accountable for their actions. It was (and still is, I hope) one of the key aims of the blog.     

  21. Smugas 11th April 2020 at 15:47

    I hate to say I told you so…..

    BUT blush

    what’s noticeable in the Sportsound discussion I referenced before is Celtic, Dundee Utd, Raith Rovers and Cove Rangers weren’t mentioned once I don’t believe.  It appeared very much to be case of differentiating between money distribution, relegation and subsequent reconstruction.  Awarding trophies “as is” doesn’t seem to be exercising them at all.

    ==================================

    It was interesting to hear from Ross Graham, the Forfar chairman. He said that it was not about the money they were due (c. £3.6k).  That point was picked up by Willie Miller. 

    However, what Willie and the others didn't pick up on was that he went on to say that Forfar wanted to plan for next season with some certainty, with two visits each by Falkirk and Partick, which would bring in around £75k, rather than have visits from Cove Rangers and Edinburgh City if reconstruction was on the cards.

    Bottom Line: It's all about the money for Forfar too, not immediately, but over the next 12 months.  

  22. Could a less conflated motion be passed – one that does not call the leagues but does distribute 75% of the prize money based on current league positions?

    The balance could then be distributed if and when the remaining games are played or the leagues are called.

    Clubs need cash now.

    Scottish Football needs strong management at this time.

  23. Given all of the voting shenanigans I can’t get rid of the image in my head of drowning sailors climbing on each other shoulders to try and save themselves. Never has Aulheid’s long spoon allegory  been more apt.

  24. EJ, you are correct about the eschewal of tribalism, but the messenger does matter.
    We should approach everything on a ‘true facts’ basis.
    Immorality is no stranger in any boardroom in Scottish football, and we can do little about it. Breaking rules however is something else.
    A wide ranging review of the entire game is more appropriate than the narrower one championed by TRFC.
    In fact it is entirely arguable that the handling of the 2011 crisis has led directly to the games ability to deal with thus one.
    I hope we don’t cherrypick our crises.
    Interesting though to see if the SFA dance to the Rangers fiddle after running a mile from the last request.

  25.        Would that be a Dog-whistle blower?……Well, we won't know until we see this "evidence", as witnessed by other clubs. Who are these clubs?. 

          Is anybody going to resign in protest, from the SPFL board?

  26. I'm with EJ here. If the SFM stands for anything, it's the integrity of the game in Scotland. If Rangers are the victims for once, rather than the villains, then we should be on their side. Some of us may feel the need to hold our noses but it's the institutions ultimately responsible for the Scottish game who should be in our sights.

  27. Big Pink 11th April 2020 at 16:20

    EJ, you are correct about the eschewal of tribalism, but the messenger does matter.
    We should approach everything on a ‘true facts’ basis.
    Immorality is no stranger in any boardroom in Scottish football, and we can do little about it. Breaking rules however is something else.
    A wide ranging review of the entire game is more appropriate than the narrower one championed by TRFC.
    In fact it is entirely arguable that the handling of the 2011 crisis has led directly to the games ability to deal with thus one.
    I hope we don’t cherrypick our crises.
    Interesting though to see if the SFA dance to the Rangers fiddle after running a mile from the last request.

    ==============================

    I agree with much of what you say, but if an investigation results from today’s allegations, it may lead to the wider inquiry and review of football governance that you, I and many others desire.

    Re the “true facts”, I don’t think that Douglas Park would make such serious allegations without having some substance to back up his claims. If they were false, then his credibility could be seriously damaged and would potentially have an impact on his business interests outside RIFC.

    I’ve seen excerpts from Whatsapp conecersations circulating on social media, that at least back up the timeline that Scot Gardiner (ICT CEO) laid out on Sprortsound. 

  28. Big Pink 11th April 2020 at 16:20

    '.In fact it is entirely arguable that the handling of the 2011 crisis has led directly to the games ability to deal with thus one.'

    $$$$$$$$$$$$$$

    I've said previously that of course covid-19 is not all down to any malfeasance by TRFC. That already struggling club has no more to be disadvantaged financially than any other because of circumstances away beyond its and everybody's capacity to have foreseen.

    But it is manifestly the case that having so seriously abandoned sporting integrity possibly ( and in great secrecy) in 2011 and certainly in 2012 ( knowledge of which came to hand relatively quickly), our Football Governance bodies left us with no alternative but to believe that expediency has a priority over truth and principle as it when it suits them.

    No club knows that better than TRFC, the inheritors and direct beneficiaries of the corrupt 5-Way Agreement and the continuation and propagation of the lie that they are RFC of 1872.

    It  is not surprising therefore that TRFC will exploit what they know to the weakness of the moral authority of the SPFL ( and SFA, when it comes to it), in the hop that that exploitation will save them from the consequences of their own inexplicably poor stewardship of their resources.

    TRFC are entitled indeed to precisely the same helpful arrangements as may be arranged for all other SPFL clubs, but only on the same terms and conditions as apply to the others, and are in absolutely no position to dictate terms or make unsupported allegationa/accusations in order to seek support.

     

  29. So…

    Doncaster is ‘Humpty Dumpty’, whom Sevco are wanting to see  having ‘a great fall.’

    Unlike in the fairy tale, ‘all the KING’s horses and all the KING’s men’ will help put Scottish football together again – if the clubs just trust them to lead the charge! We’ll start from scratch lads.

    In other words, this massive disruptive deflection, riddled with all the horrible traits of the WATP mentality (arrogance, superiority, ‘divine right’ etc etc) is (I believe ) one last major throw of the dice to stop ten in a row.

    There is no altruism in the SEVCO psyche.

    If Doncaster has to go, then so too has Robertson.I certainly wouldn’t want him in the trenches with me!

  30. BP – ‘A wide ranging review of the entire game is more appropriate than the narrower one championed by TRFC.’
    Can’t agree I’m afraid. ‘Wide-ranging review’ is ‘move along – nothing to see here’ territory. Nail them on a single, demonstrable issue if you’ve got the evidence; the other stuff can follow later. It’s the same principle as jailing Al Capone for tax evasion.
    Once you’ve got them bang to rights for something then you’ve got real leverage to go after the bigger stuff.

  31. easyJambo 11th April 2020 at 15:51

    ================================

    Whilst I agree with what you say to a large extent, I will remember who is doing the talking if that's OK.

    Dave King may have just left the building as a director, however he is still there as the main shareholder, still has many contacts on the board (at the very least his concert party) and no doubt still has a lot of influence.

    So whilst a convicted fraudster and proven liar is still so closely associated with them, I will be extremely cautious about anything they say, and their motives for saying it.

     

  32. Since I’ve been harping on about the distinct lack of leadership coming from the SPFL CEO, it would be remiss of me not to comment on my own team, CFC.

    Like many supporters, I was perturbed back in 2012 and afterwards, about the continued silence from the CFC Board about all the dodgy goings on at Ibrox and Hampden.  

    Like many, I felt they were keeping their powder dry until the most opportune time to speak up on behalf of all CFC supporters – and possibly on behalf of the vast majority of Scottish football supporters.

    However, that time never came. 

    The handling of Res.12 by the CFC Board has been hugely disappointing and doesn’t seem to align with the founding values of the club, IMO.

    And today we seem to have another leadership vacuum in Scottish football.

    Again, the CFC Board may feel it is prudent to remain silent.

    It’s not their ‘fight to pick’, so to speak.

    But, the biggest club in Scotland could choose to step up and show Hampden some leadership qualities during this time of  crisis – for all of Scottish football’s benefit.

  33. A longer post was prepared but I realised it boiled down to just my distaste at the faux outrage of TRFC. Whatever the rights and wrongs, that institution has no grounds whatsoever to be the evangelical cheerleader of justice. I agree with EJ regarding this blogs raison d’etre but we must question the motivation of ALL the players involved in this almighty clustef’ck.

    Edit: I note Homunculus’ earlier post and am echoing that sentiment.

  34. I meant to add in my post that the distribution of "prize" money is conditional on the acceptance that the league will not be "null and voided" .

  35. A parcel of rogues the lot of them. And people wonder why fans fall out of love with the beautiful game.

    Scott Gardiner (ICT) seemed to be taking a very honourable stance in terms of their vote and you just wonder how big a peg he has to put on his nose when he meets up with those folks from the SPFL, SFA and Ibrokes. A sniff test indeed.

    Scottish Football needs a strong Arbroath.

  36. spikeyheid 11th April 2020 at 16:40
    I’m with EJ here. If the SFM stands for anything, it’s the integrity of the game in Scotland. If Rangers are the victims for once, rather than the villains, then we should be on their side
    ………….
    If the ibrox club championed the bit back in 2012 and challenged the integrity of the game and the making up of the rules by the governing bodies as they went along and did not know what they were doing,
    Yes i would have been right behind them. They don’t get to pick and choose when to challenge the integrity of the game.
    We all knew this rabid dog at ibrox would come back to bite the governing bodies, if they had applied the rules back then there would be no dogs barking from ibrox today.

  37. easyJambo 11th April 2020 at 16:44
    Re the “true facts”, I don’t think that Douglas Park would make such serious allegations without having some substance to back up his claims. If they were false, then his credibility could be seriously damaged and would potentially have an impact on his business interests outside RIFC.
    …..
    Homunculus 11th April 2020 at 17:04

    1

    0

    Rate This

    Statement Ping Pong

    This is a twitter message from Jordan Campbell, purporting to be reporting the position taken by Murdoch McLennan.

    https://twitter.com/JordanC1107/status/1248999383372349442

    ………..
    Let’s see who is telling the truth.

  38. TRFC has demanded the SPFL CEO suspension, plus an investigation.

    Yet, Stewart Robertson is still on the SPFL Board?

    His resignation should have been announced simultaneously.

    Does Park not talk to Robertson?

    Just weird, IMO.

Comments are closed.