I received updates direct from last week’s Scottish Football League meeting shortly after it concluded. My information was that Neil Doncaster in particular was given a torrid time and that the mood among clubs was firmly against agreeing to place Sevco into the First Division.
Within a couple of hours it was clear that many in the media had been given a different impression and that if the vote was taken then, a ‘healthy majority would vote in favour’. To a degree I think we are all susceptible to messages we want to hear but it has been a feature of this debacle that executives from the national bodies have given clear guidance to the media that ‘Newco’ would be voted into the SPL, as it was, or now into the First Division.
On more than one occasion I’ve heard “You might have heard different, but Neil Doncaster told me….”
There is no shortcut for legwork and attention to detail. On this subject, credit to STV, who present informed information on how Friday’s vote is likely to pan out, with references. Of the 30 clubs in the SFL, the report 14 have declared an intention to vote against plans to plant Sevco into the First Division, one will abstain and one has (incorrectly) been told they are ineligible to vote. Another 14 are yet to declare.
It seems likely that the SFL vote will go the way of the SPL vote. There is a desire to retain the sporting element to our game among clubs, if not among administrators.
In a statement yesterday Clyde FC nailed several of the myths behind threats made to SFL clubs:
“We have obtained a copy of the Settlement Agreement signed up to by the SPL and the SFL in April 1998 – it is clear that the agreement is not ambiguous in this regard and there is no scope for the SPL to fail to meet the obligations to the SFL except by deliberately breaching the agreement… We have concluded that it defies credibility that the SPL clubs would instruct the SPL to deliberately breach a legal agreement.
“The matter is made worse because of the extent of uncertainty which hangs over Sevco. There is no need to prepare an exhaustive list of the issues as they are well publicised, however the extent of outstanding sanctions that may or may not be levied against a club which has yet to obtain SFA membership, together with the increasing number of possible commercial and legal challenges to the transactions to date simply presents a significant risk to the ability of the club to fulfil its fixtures in any league. Given that some of these matters are in the hands of the governing bodies it seems inexplicable that they are left hanging.”
In short, the Scottish Football League has a binding contract with the SLP which they are entitled to enforce. Clyde also refer on the matter we have discussed here for many weeks, Sevco are trying to buy a SFA membership which has significant outstanding disciplinary issues against it which could see the membership suspended. Instead of providing clarity, the SPL and SFA have refused to set deadlines of proceed with hearings.
We can speculate if SFA chief exec, Stewart Regan, will inform SFL clubs in person on Friday of plans to disband judicial oversight from our game instead of asking Lord Carloway’s panel to reconvene.
Despite the valiant efforts of many football fans and clubs, our game has been ruined by years of destructive, self-serving, leadership.