Celtic Diary February 15: Time For A Government Inquiry Into The SFA
The SFA are about to face increased business rates for Hampden Park, the white elephant built in the nineties so that they could have somewhere nice to work.
The press are reporting that it could mean Scotland will no longer use the ground , and quite possibly , the showpiece cup games will move away as well.
Of course, this is nonsense. The supporters will be asked to stump up the difference, in increased ticket costs, or perhaps even the clubs will be forced to contribute, which in turn, means the supporters will be asked to stump up the difference , in increased ticket prices etc..
Enough surely has to be enough.
The SFA, the SPFL and anyone else who has a hand in running the game are notoriously slow to allow the paying public any glimpse into their world.
In fact, they’d all rather we just ignored what they do and just turn up to watch the games, or pay the tv subscriptions.
There is no avenue for accountability. Its simply a case of the beaks telling us what will be, and the support doing as they are told.
As a public body, they should be open to scrutiny.
Not just over this, but over a number of other issues that have occurred over the years, for as with other organisations, especially public funded ones, there are certain safeguards in place to prevent abuse.
Not in football, however.
Recent allegations about events in 2012 when one of the games biggest clubs entered administration, and subsequently, liquidation have been ignored. Nothing has been learned, and no safeguards were put in place to prevent or help other clubs from going down this path.
Since then, the clubs have largely cleaned up their own operations, most operating within strict European financial rules.
The SFA and SPFL, however, have stayed silent on this issue. Then again, they stay silent on every issue which could potentially show them in a bad light.
In England, a parliamentary select committee asked questions about third party ownership of players, and other issues brought to light when Sam Allardyce spoke a little too freely on camera whilst enjoying a brief spell as England manager.
Allardyce was only telling the world what we already knew. The games rotten to the core. The money available down south is obscene, and when money is available, all sorts of unsavouries come charging to the door.
In Scotland, no one wants to delve into the way things are run. Despite having a few of our own unsavouries chancing their arm and running off with a few quid. When the new Rangers raised millions of pounds to kickstart their club, it all just disappeared.
And that, by the way, was fans money…
As the club is no longer on the stock market, no one is asking questions, and no rules can be enforced.
No one wants to look at how the SFA operates, no one questions the SPFL and even if they do, there are no answers forthcoming.
Our own media sort of accepts that, which is in itself shameful.
For instance, why were Gretna allowed to spend beyond their means before going under ?
Why were Rangers allowed to fold, owing millions ?
Why did the SPFL pay a broadcaster to show lower league Scottish football ?
What is the five Way Agreement ? Is it a reference to five different ways to fleece the support ?
Thats just the financial issues, there’s an even bigger one which needs to be investigated..
Why were children exposed to individuals with less than good intentions, putting their safety at risk ? Is it still a problem ? What has been, or is being, done to prevent a repetition ?
There are a multitude of questions, to which neither media or supporter can get an answer to.
Its time for Holyrood to open up a dialogue with those who run the country’s most popular sport. Whilst the money is not on a par with that available down south, its still quite significant.
down south, the police are investigating historic abuse.
It’s all rather quiet in the north.
A select committee to look into the affairs of those who run the game would be a start. They could explain, for instance, why the major sponsors are all bookmakers, yet participants are forbidden to use them. Are there safeguards to prevent abuse and match fixing ?
I mean real safeguards, with real punishments.
As we are often told when we face new powers of investigation, if we’ve nothing to hide, we’ve nothing to be afraid of.
This should apply to the SFA as well.
Unless, of course, they do have something to hide.
The child abuse allegations , if it had been in any other public sector, would have prompted calls for an inquiry.
The financial irregularities and claims of collusion would have prompted calls for an inquiry, again, though, not in football.
Its time for the government to accept there are problems, and time for them to prevent any further sidestepping of several major issues.
First Minister Sturgeon needs to forget about independence and Brexit just for a moment, and have a look at a couple of scandals that are a little closer to home. There’s a need for her to ask questions, if only becuase she’s got a better than average chance of getting an answer.
As the game down south becomes murkier, we need to be able to point to our own and say we’ve fixed it.