In his Christmas Day message last year, Uefa president, Michel Platini spoke in the firmest terms possible about many of the issues facing Scottish football right now.
He told us that 2011 was “one of those years where one feels the weight and magnitude of one’s responsibilities, but which equally serves to provide greater strength. Because, the just cause – however difficult it may be – is all the more obvious.”
This is a strong statement of intent. Platini fully understands the position of president is not ceremonial, it has weighty responsibilities. If he believes these specific words, “the just cause – however difficult it may be – is all the more obvious”, he must take an immediate active involvement to protect the game in Scotland.
M Platini goes on to say, “To be a president is not to have an organisation at one’s service, but to be at the service of an organisation, of a game, of football.”
Scottish FA president, Campbell Ogilvie, who has been inextricably linked to the on-going improper registration of Rangers players allegations his organisation declined to investigate, would do well to consider these words. He is in place to serve the game yet he has offered us no information on the subject.
Michel then added, “It has been a year which has underlined the importance of our organisation [Uefa] as one of the guarantors of the values, stability and equity of this sport.”
Uefa guarantee the values, stability and equity of football. They do not work towards equity, they ensure it is imposed, you have the president’s word.
“It has been a year in which certain of our national associations have had to take courageous decisions to preserve the justice and integrity of our sport.”
Here, Michel could be speaking about the SFA, who have to take courageous decisions to preserve justice and integrity in the face of gross charges of financial and regulatory doping on a scale not seen anywhere in Europe.
His most important comment, which reflected on 2011, was:
“A year in which we have also had to remain solid and defend our values – sometimes alone – to guarantee the respecting of the rules and the equity of the competitions, and to prevent football becoming a hostage of a few for their own profit and interests.”
“Respecting… the rules and the equity of the competitions”. This includes player registration rules.
More importantly, “to prevent football becoming a hostage of a few for their own profit and interests”.
This is where we are today. Football in Scotland has become a hostage of a few who will follow their own interests, not those values Michel Platini holds dear.
The president goes on to say that 2011“has been a year in which, unfortunately and at the expense of certain agonies, football has emphasised its need for transparency and governance, aspects which are so important in relation to the respect which is so dear to me.”
There may be other countries in Europe more deserving of M Platini’s intervention, but the crisis in Scotland is acute and urgent, and the SFA appear overwhelmed. We need the oversight only Uefa can provide and its president promised in his Christmas message.
For an extended synopsis of how we got to where we are, catch up on Saturday’s blog.