17 July 2012

The Scottish Football Association: Negligent, Incompetent & Corrupt

by Andy McKellar | Contributor

Since it was announced that Charles Green had purchased the business and assets from The Rangers Football Club plc there has been a seemingly endless schedule of meetings and announcements.

All three governing bodies of Scottish football have been locked away in their Hampden boardrooms, thrashing out proposals and counter-proposals, not to mention Stewart Regan’s secret and corrupt plot to parachute Rangers into SFL1 in order to benefit the Premier League clubs who decided that we weren’t wanted.

Yesterday however it seemed as though the constant faffing around had been dispensed with when the SPL announced that Dundee would take the place of Rangers FC in the SPL and that all three bodies would now look to facilitate Rangers’ entry into Division Three of the Scottish Football League, as agreed in principle last week.

At last there was light at the end of the tunnel, and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who allowed my mind to wander into the not-so-distant future when we could once again return in our thousands to Ibrox Stadium to cheer on our heroes in blue.

As Charles Green alluded to however, it isn’t wise to expect the expected with Rangers.

There has been a stumbling block placed in our way, another hurdle that we must overcome. Despite the positive tone of the SPL press release, it seems that the Scottish Football Association have other plans.

As things stand Rangers Football Club are now only 11 days away from their first competitive fixture in the Ramsden’s Cup but yet we find ourselves without the necessary SFA membership. Not only does this mean that we are not yet eligible to play in that match but we currently cannot sign any players and cannot arrange any friendly matches.

Given the timescales involved I find that nothing short of disgraceful on the part of the SFA. It is negligence of the highest order, not that we should be surprised by that in the slightest.

In what I am sure is an unprecedented move, the Scottish Football Associated have filled Rangers’ membership transfer form with just about as many sanctions and punishments as they could fit onto the sheet.

Quite crucially, Charles Green has been told that he MUST accept a registration embargo which would prevent him and Ally McCoist from bolstering their much depleted squad to any sort of respectable level & running the risk of relying of inexperienced youth players to gain promotion. Even if the rumours that this ban will not kick into action until 1st September, it still leave two years worth of work to be completed in the space of little over a month, hardly ideal.

The Rangers fans have been outraged by this and I am sure I am not the only one who immediately felt like sticking two fingers up to Regan & Co and demanding that such proposals are scrapped.

Such an approach however does come with considerable risk as it is conceivable that this would result in the membership transfer being rejected and there being no football at Ibrox for at least another year, possibly more.

It seems to be the classic ‘stick or twist’ scenario but with the added concern that either choice could carry very serious consequences for our football club. I certainly don’t envy Mr Green in having to make such a decision.

What should also be noted in amongst this fine mess is that Lord Glennie & the Court of Session ruled that the judicial panel acted outwith their powers in imposing the original registration embargo last season.

You may also remember Stewart Regan saying that if their rules or punishments cannot be upheld by the law then they cannot be enforced by the SFA following the late Paul McBride QC forcing a rather significant backtrack with their punishment of Neil Lennon. Conveniently however Mr Regan seems to have abandoned that principle and may well be in contempt of court by refusing to adhere to the judgement handed down a few months ago.

UEFA have also been forced to abandon any plans to use transfer embargoes to punish those clubs who do not adhere to their Financial Fair Play rules due to the potential illegality of the sanction.

Such illegality however does not seem to worry the SFA Chief Exec as he attempts to blackmail Rangers FC into competing with both hands tied behind its back.

There is without doubt a considerable bloodlust from fans of other clubs, particularly those in the SPL, but I’m afraid it isn’t Regan’s job to satisfy such contemptuous feelings. Instead he is there to apply and govern the Scottish game fairly and evenly and I don’t think it will shock many when I say that in that respect, he has been nothing but a complete and utter failure.

Almost every club in Scotland has completely lost its faith in Mr Regan. It doesn’t take a genius to see why.

We must now wait nervously as Charles Green attempts to persuade the SFA to see reason and put an end to the ridiculous conveyor-belt of sanctions that keep coming our way.

Apparently it is the view of some that being removed from the SPL & forced to enter Division Three is not a punishment in any way, shape of form. Frankly, I couldn’t disagree more, and I share Mr Green’s sentiments in saying that in fact it is the ‘ultimate punishment’ other than the unrealistic notions of suspension or termination of course.

To put things into perspective Juventus for example were found guilty of match fixing through the corruption of match officials. The scandal also included AC Milan, Fiorentina, Lazio & Reggina. Only Juventus however were relegated, and only by one division, with the rest receiving rather minimal punishments considering the nature of the offence.

Rangers on the other hand have been guilty of nothing more than financial mismanagement with David Murray and Craig Whyte, both possibly facing criminal charges for their roles in our downfall.

I have heard many fans rambling about dual-contracts and apparent cheating but yet, as far as I can see, our only crime thus far has been entering administration and now forming a newco, all of which seems far less of an issue in other countries around the world.

Anyway, I digress, for in this country apparently such a thing is unthinkable. It is so immoral and abhorrent that our SFA have been determined to pile sanction after sanction onto new owners, fans and players, all of whom are innocent victims of the tragic chain of events caused by Messrs Murray & Whyte.

I would also like to highlight that the original Judicial Panel used a legal precedent from 1972 to justify their punishment of Rangers FC, as an entity, rather than Craig Whyte, despite it being made abundantly clear as to who was really responsible.

Their concern with legality however remarkably diminished when they decided to impose an unlawful registration embargo and it should also be noted that both HM Revenue & Customs and the Procurator Fiscal both strongly disagree with their view on just where the guilt lies in this case, as their pursuance of our two previous owners, possibly amongst others, indicates.

However let us not let facts get in the way for it wouldn’t suit the SFA to simply blame Craig Whyte for this mess, despite the clear justification of doing so. Perhaps we should ask Mr Regan or the members of the Judicial Panel just why they are taking a differing view from the other authorities. I certainly wouldn’t hold my breath in waiting for a reasoned explanation.

Anyway, here we stand, uncertain and unsure of just what lies around the corner. Our relief in believing that we could look forward to the football once again was short-lived as we must now await the outcome of discussions between Green & Regan.

At this point in time I am not aware that anything has been formally confirmed but I certainly wouldn’t be surprised if we found ourselves back on the doorsteps of Hampden, gathered in our thousands to protest against the negligence, the incompetence and the corruption of the Scottish Football Association.

All together now …