Seasons greetings to all who read our musings and ramblings. Hope the rivalries and competitiveness have all given way to peace and togetherness until the next kick-off.
We hadn’t intended to put any articles up over the festive period, but we received a somewhat unexpected Christmas present that we’d like to share. It appears that the Scottish Football Supporters Association have nominated us for a football writers award. The award has been won by Tom English and the hilarious OldFirmFacts in recent years. We’ve no expectations of winning, but it really is an honour to have our work recognised in this way.
You can read more about the SFSA awards here, but while you are there please do think about signing up to an organisation that’s really built by fans, for fans. It operates in all our interests as opposed to the SFA sponsored and influenced Supporters Direct. If we are going to demand more of a say in how the game is run, strong and independent voices are needed.
You can record your vote here and we certainly hope you’ll use it regardless of who you vote for.
In other Christmas related news, it seems Ian Maxwell’s belief that the SFA would reach a decision on action relating the UEFA license application process for the 2011/12 season turned out to be untrue.
Back in July 2018 it was reported that the SFA would need to go to CAS in order to bring charges against Rangers as the Five Way Agreement prevented the SFA from acting. After pontificating for a year, in June 2019 Ian Maxwell declared that a decision would be made “soon” adding that he expected an announcement by Christmas.
Reporting by the Daily Record at the time of the June 2019 announcement indicated that proper disclosure of the liability in the process would have saw Celtic enter the Champions League qualifiers the following season, though that appears to be contradicted by a Rangers statement indicating the SFA charges relate only to the monitoring period: a period conveniently outside of the SFA’s scrutiny and potential blow-back. Regardless, the Celtic Board appear to have no appetite for action outside leaving it to the SFA to resolve despite concerns first surfacing in the 2011/12 season and precious little action to date.
Whether it has been Stewart Regan’s aborted press release on the issue, abandoned plans to bring charges, refusals to commission an independent enquiry even when requested by member clubs and the league body…. the SFA seem determined to kick this into the long grass and forget about it. We can’t help but feel that is because there is something very embarrassing to the SFA about the issue that they’d rather was kept within the Hampden corridors. They were after all culpable for the lack of risk management that allowed the whole crisis to unfold on their watch that made that season a gamble that might either save Rangers as a going concern or make insolvency all but guaranteed. An issue we wrote about at length in our Stigma series.
This time of year also marks the first full year of our work trying to get a better deal for Scottish Football fans as a body. We started up at the tail end of 2018 but only really got going as 2019 kicked into life. Since then (in addition to the Stigma series mentioned) we’ve:
- done a whole series on bigotry in football, running through the evolution of how UEFA treat the issue;
- began a series on the Child Abuse scandal in Scottish football which will continue this year;
- researched and presented results of fan views on the possibility of Financial Fair Play in domestic football given high profile concerning financial results once again. We wrote (twice) to the SPFL requesting they consider putting it to clubs to vote on
- began a series that will continue this year advocating greater representation for fan bodies both within the running of our clubs and within the regulator itself;
- proposed an alternate model of football governance where myriad club self interests are replaced with a socio style fixed term democratic mandate to break the committee deadlocks and represent all stakeholder interests;
- broke the news that the SFA had been using old training gear effectively providing free sponsorship as the deal had expired rather than either negotiating new deals or using it as a platform for charitable work; and
- Provided plenty of ad hoc financial analysis on issues relating to Scottish football.
Our most popular item over the course of the first year though has been the SFA Failure Montage. A feature that will surely regular benefit from new material until we have a governing body fit for purpose.
However it all goes, we sincerely wish everyone a prosperous and joyous 2020. If we have our way it’ll also be one where fans of all clubs get a better say within their clubs and within the governing body. Have a belter everyone and thank you everyone who has helped us to date and in future!