Scottish football needs crisis


It was only in February this year that the proposed Russia-Ukraine joint league first reached the stage of formal meetings between clubs to discuss the viability but tonight a showcase tournament between top clubs from each country gets underway tonight.  It is hoped the formal joint league will start this time next year when the top nine teams from each country will form the Unified First League.

Despite discouragement from Fifa, Uefa have insisted only that proper procedures are followed to give their ascent to the league.  Gazprom, the Russian energy giant and Uefa Champions League sponsor, has underwritten the project with a commitment of 1 billion euros per annum.

As we know, in football, money talks, and the Russian and Ukrainian clubs, together with their national associations and Uefa, have been talked happy to make change possible.

In order to become competitive with their rivals in the west while meeting Uefa Financial Fair Play rules, Russian and Ukrainian clubs need to increase income, which the Unified First League would go a long way towards.  Uefa president, Michel Platini, has long accepted that regionalisation was a viable way forward for domestic leagues, while former powers in smaller leagues have become disenfranchised from the game’s top table.

What does it mean for us?

Well, we don’t have a Gazprom, not yet, anyway, but once Gazprom’s financial and political muscle establishes the principle of regionalisation, that principle is available to all.  Former Yugoslavia countries are already in talks, while Scandinavian countries have already had a few abortive attempts at (underfunded) regional cup competitions.

The British region.

Welsh football has managed to retain its national identity, provide an infrastructure for provincial and community clubs, while federating with the FA in England to allow their larger (sic) clubs to find their competitive level.

The model is already established for Scottish football, which has realised living with one (or two for that matter) massive club which completely invalidates their league competition as a ‘competition’ is no longer the best way to order their affairs.

Financial recklessness caused the collapse of one club a year ago while the recklessness of a Lithuanian bank has put another in jeopardy.  A handful of other top-flight clubs now realise their financial commitments, not to mention sporting objectives, are no longer viable, with or without the crumbs from the table thrown in their direction when TV cameras and a few thousand fans arrive a few times per season.

Federate with England, just as the Welsh did.  It will bring ‘competition’ back to our competitions, put thousands of everyone’s gates and provide access to viable commercial contracts.

Why are our leagues and Association not speaking to the English about this right now?  The Football League in England is every bit as much a basket case as Scottish football right now, they also need to change the structural model and, unlike the equally lunatic (English) Premier League, appear to be self-aware in this respect.

Go talk to the Welsh FA, Cardiff City, Swansea, Wrexham or New Saints FC (!) and ask them what organising their game along the lines of the Scottish model would do to them.

Scottish football must federate or it will die.  As such, if we stand on the precipice of crisis, let’s make it a good one.  It’s the only thing which will get things moving.

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  1. Phyllis Dietrichson on

    There’s only one way that Celtic will be invited to join an English league, and that is if the most powerful man in English football – Rupert Murdoch – decides that he wants it to happen.

  2. starry plough



    With ma nae hair and Celtic shorts, Celtic top I will just tell them I am the King of Paradise.


    Just for you mate on a KevJ way am off oot tae get dragged about Clydebank for some last minute holiday shopping. Oh the joys.


    P.S This last minute shopping will go on all weekend.



    Later mo chara








  3. I don’t think you can underestimate the role of Gazprom. And that is something we do not have and will almost certainly never have.



    Unless it opens up the door for further regionalisation and it’s something that many bodies are pushing for in unison it’s not going to happen. Celtic alone pushing for something will not make a difference.



    Our alternatives are to push together with Ajax, Feyenoord, Benfica, Sporting, Anderlecht etc. for a regional league – and I mean a concentrated, organised effort. Or to hope that we can gain access to the English lower leagues.

  4. emusanorphan



    Thanks mate, so he is our lawyer and secretary, he would be the one to ask then if the club and shareholders have a legal right to remuneration should it become a criminal case of corruption in our game?

  5. ArranmoreBhoyLXV11 on




    You know yer tribute team is garbage, when the bus gets the headlines…



    Be interested to know who supplied the bus.. Like they paid for it..



    STV will run a feature on it. The Herald will have it on page 3..



    Comedy gold




  6. Kilbowie Kelt on




    12:24 on 27 June, 2013



    Bhoys URGENT REQUEST…….. Does anyone know a bookie taking bets on the next Queen of the South manager?? HH





    If you find such a Bookie, Hutchy, I would be obliged if you would let me know where to locate him.


    I have been looking for him for more than 60 years. :¬)))



    Good Luck.

  7. kikinthenakas on




    Have I been picking up the king of Switzerland? Am I the kings chauffeur?


    Hope you, mrs starry and the girls are well….miserable weather here today!




  8. time for change on

    Good article Paul.



    I think that over the period of time the Champions and Europa cup will become the new leagues played on weekends with the Champions league being replaced with an international flavour eg top teams from leagues in South and North America, Japan and Africa playing midweek as we do now. Travel so much easier now and tv rights. (just my thoughts)



    tv on Fridays is aimed at rangers not Celtic….find it funny how they’re still flaunting all the rule and laws of football and the land…building the team on such poor foundations (£1m per month losses can only go one way).



    Happy to see WiFi being made available (not just to the press memberswho spend as musc time abusing our club) something I have been contacting the club about for a couple of years now.



    When was the mandate given to Longmuir, Bryson and one other to rewrite registration rules re triallists inbetween the formation of a new league body?



    Can I take this opportunity to say well done to my youngest Paul aged 10 who voluntarily had his hair shaved off yesterday to raise funds for the fight against cancer. It was his choice and I’m just proud that he shows such awareness of others at such a tender age. I’ll not put any links to any donation sites however continued respect to the time and generosity often dsplayed on these pages. Myself and three colleagues will be getting ours shaved off as part of the Movember campaign this year (will need a new hat then…)



    hail hail

  9. An expanded CL format that has games played every Wednesday of the football season.



    Redistribution of the income based on stadium capacity/season books/attendance averages etc



    Two CFC teams………One for real competition in Europe on Wednesday evenings…..and one just strong enough to win the SPL adfinitum.



    EUFA/SFA retain their corrupt and grubby little parochial bowling club business model and CFC obtain greater revenue streams allowing us to be where a club of our stature should be.



    Its a win win for CFC…….



    Kind of obvious really….?????

  10. I’ve previously expressed my concerns regarding an upgraded wifi system being put in place at Parkhead.



    The atmosphere is poor enough already, out with section 111, without more supporters spending the duration of the game scrolling the net for lower league English results.

  11. kikinthenakas



    Aye I like to keep it quiet Nakas don’t want a fuss doon the street in Hamilton!



    The Starry girls are well, freezin here as well Mate, we had the heting back on last night.



    Was talking to my old dear last night looks like I will be back over at the end of August to help her with a few things, be staying a few weeks this time, be good to have a wee CQN grub up somewhere and a game of course..



    How’s tricks in the Shire, no that you’re there much!!

  12. as i thought….. Yes i do but by the time i post this the ‘cat will be out of the bag’ :-(

  13. Paul67 et al



    The bottom line is that the EPL do not want us.



    Imo, our best bet is to try and be part of a Regionalised cross-border league with the other ‘big fish in a small pond’ – Ajax, PSV, Feyenoord, Benfica, Porto, Sporting, Anderlecht, Brugge…



    Logistical problems?



    Possibly – but not insurmountable.



    It will happen!






    Then one day we will be playing in a fully-fledged European Super League!







  14. the long wait is over on




    Q “Why are our leagues and Association not speaking to the English about this right now?”



    A. 1. Because they might have to surrender their precious wee blazers.



    2. Because their beloved wee club might not now be given the same equal status as the big club they loathe and fear.

  15. as_i_thought on




    Sorry, had a look for you but couldn’t see anything. Oddschecker.com is quite good for finding fairly obscure bets but no luck. Noticed as I was looking that it was almost certainly McIntyre.




  16. Starry



    I’ve changed my mind about winning the Lotto,it turns you into a denizen of ole Hamilton.


    :O) hh

  17. Before anyone complains about the Fixture change V Cliftonville, just consider the fact that I am travelling to Le Touquet on July the 17th and will now be able to go to the second leg in Glasgow. A big Thenk You to The Board. Fans First is the new motto.





    PS The `e` was accidental but I quite like it 0:-)

  18. So CL games switched. That’s frustrating as I’m in Scotland when Celtic are coming over to Belfast. Oh what delicious irony!!!



    As soon as Cliftonville won the league I said to my wife that I bet you we draw them in CL and that belfast game will be when we are on holidays. Should have put some money on it.




  19. Mort


    Save you the worry of that time warp drive from Inverness to Glasgow.




  20. From no to new club please read click link and print off. Cheers.




    Letter to the Scottish Football Association


    Below is the text of a letter I will be sending to the Scottish Football Association, addressed to Chief Executive Stewart Regan.



    I would urge anyone who agrees to print off their own copy, sign and send it in by post.



    Do email the letter if you prefer, but I think it shows more committment to actually print it, put it in an envelope, put on a stamp and get down to the post-box to post it.



    I also think it is less likely to be ignored if posted rather than emailed.



    This is an opportunity for you to do something. The more of these letters Stewart Regan receives, the harder it will be for him to ignore it.



    It’s not Earth-shattering, but it’s a start and remember from small acorns mighty oaks grow!









    Dear Mr Regan,



    I write to you as a concerned supporter of Scottish football regarding the SFA’s handling of the issues surrounding Rangers FC.



    I appreciate that you have publicly expressed your desire to, “move on,” from what has been a traumatic period in the history of our game, but many people feel that this will not be possible until several issues have been resolved.



    I believe that one key declaration by the Scottish Football Association would enable supporters of all clubs to feel that a line has been drawn under the issue and, as you wish, “move on.”



    The plunging of Rangers FC into liquidation in June 2012 should have brought a resolution to the problem. We could have then accepted that many questionable actions had been carried out by both Rangers FC and the Scottish Football Association (dual contracts, improperly registered players, the granting of a UEFA license to Rangers for season 2011-12 despite overdue tax payments etc), on the basis that Rangers FC was no longer with us.



    What has made “moving on” almost impossible for many people since then, is the Scottish Football Association’s handling of the new Rangers FC.



    The rules of the Association were not applied “without fear or favour,” with regards the new Rangers FC.



    To give but one example, the SFA’s Articles of Association, 6.3 states:



    A club or association desiring to qualify for full membership of the Scottish FA must



    first be admitted as an associate member. A club cannot be admitted as an associate



    member unless it meets, and commits to continuous compliance with, the Membership



    Criteria and amendments thereto as shall be promulgated by the Board from time to



    time in connection with the membership of the Scottish FA.





    You do not need me to point out that Rangers FC has not been given associate membership of the SFA, but full membership.



    Article 6.6 goes on:



    An associate member which has been an associate member for 5 complete successive



    years may apply at the expiry of that period to become a full member. All applications



    for full membership shall be considered and decided by the Board and the Board’s



    decision on the matter shall be final.





    It seems clear therefore that Rangers FC should not be eligible for full membership of the Scottish Football Association until the beginning of season 2017-18.





    I know you will protest that Rangers FC were not granted a new membership, but rather the SFA transferred the existing membership to Sevco Scotland, who were to become, in the SFA’s words, “the new owners of The Rangers Football Club.”



    Here we come to the crux of the matter.



    The Scottish Football Association has attempted to rewrite Scots law on incorporation, under which a football club is indistinguishable from its corporate identity.



    For whatever reason, the SFA has allowed an ambiguity to grow over the status of Rangers FC. Are they recognised by the SFA as a football club founded in 1872 with a long list of honours won? Or are they recognised by the SFA as a new club, founded in 2012 with one Scottish Football League 3rd Division title to their credit?



    The first position is incompatible not only with Scots law, but with UEFA statute. I refer you to UEFA’s Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play Regulations (2012 Edition), specifically Article 12:





    Article 12 – Definition of licence applicant



    1 A licence applicant may only be a football club, i.e. a legal entity fully responsible



    for a football team participating in national and international competitions which






    a) is a registered member of a UEFA member association and/or its affiliated



    league (hereinafter: registered member); or



    b) has a contractual relationship with a registered member (hereinafter: football






    2 The membership and the contractual relationship (if any) must have lasted – at



    the start of the licence season – for at least three consecutive years. Any



    alteration to the club’s legal form or company structure (including, for example,



    changing its headquarters, name or club colours, or transferring stakeholdings



    between different clubs) during this period in order to facilitate its qualification on



    sporting merit and/or its receipt of a licence to the detriment of the integrity of a



    competition is deemed as an interruption of membership



    This article presents the Scottish Football Association with several problems if it recognises Rangers FC as a club formed in 1872.



    First of all, if the club and company are separate, then Rangers FC is not a legal entity. Indeed, in his Reasons for Decisions of September 2012, Lord Nimmo Smith said of “clubs”:



    “This is not to say that a Club has legal personality, separate from and additional to the legal personality of its owner and operator. We are satisfied that it does not…”



    Rangers FC therefore cannot be granted a UEFA license, as it is not a legal entity.



    Secondly, as it is not a legal entity, Rangers FC is incapable of being a member of the Scottish Football Association.



    Thirdly, as it is not a legal entity, Rangers FC is incapable of entering into a contractual relationship with the SFA member, The Rangers Football Club Limited (formerly Sevco Scotland).



    In relation to The Rangers Football Club Limited, if we are to accept that it constitutes the football club, then it is a different legal entity to the original Rangers FC (The Rangers Football Club plc), now known as RFC 2012 (in liquidation).



    Article 12.2 cannot be used to claim an interruption of membership for Rangers FC, because the original Rangers has not changed its legal form, it is in liquidation. Only the assets of the original club belong to The Rangers Football Club Limited, not stakeholdings.



    Returning to the Scottish Football Association’s Articles of Association, I draw your attention to article 3.1:



    3. The Association is a member of FIFA and UEFA. Accordingly, it is itself obliged to:-



    (1) comply with the statutes, regulations, directives, codes and decisions and the



    International Match Calendar of FIFA, UEFA and the Court of Arbitration for Sport



    and the Laws of the Game issued by IFAB;





    The Scottish Football Association has a statutory obligation therefore to abide by all UEFA rules. Clearly, any recognition by the SFA of The Rangers Football Club Limited as being a club formed in 1872 is in conflict with Article 3 of its own Articles of Association.





    To come to my point, I believe that despite the unhappiness, even anger, that the SFA’s handling of the Rangers situation has engendered, things can be resolved very quickly and easily by one, simple statement from the SFA, to the effect that the SFA member club, The Rangers Football Club Limited, is a new club with no claim on the history and honours of The Rangers Football Club plc (in liquidation).





    The original Rangers won numerous honours over a period of two decades from 1986, on the back of completely unsustainable spending. From at least the turn of the century, this was aided by questionable tax schemes, which are still the subject of appeal by HMRC.



    The original Rangers spent money they could never afford to pay back in pursuit of trophies and titles, and the inevitable result was liquidation.



    It is unpalatable for most Scottish football fans therefore to watch the new Rangers hold celebrations of their “140th anniversary,” and claim to be, “the most successful club in Scotland.”



    A declaration by the Scottish Football Association that Rangers FC is a new club would allow us all to, “move on.”



    Please advise me if it is the intention of the Scottish Football Association to make such a declaration.



    If the Scottish Football Association does consider Rangers FC to be the club founded in 1872, please advise me of the basis for this recognition, and how it relates to Scots law and UEFA statute.



    I look forward to hearing from you.



    Yours Sincerely



    Letter to the Scottish Football Association http://t.co/9fWDoDWHvT via @wordpressdotcom

  21. Jungle Jim



    Aye, every cloud has a silver lining :-)



    Speaking of which, can anyone recommend a good bar (Celtic one off course) in Inverness where I can watch the match?




  22. voguepunter



    Ah but Vogue if you won the lottery you widnae behave like an Orc!!



    You could even move upmarket to Hamilton or some other salubrious place in the Shire!

  23. Mort


    Even more galling for you is that an ICT eleven play Arbroath on the 23rd of July so you will miss that as well.


    Anyway, I hope all is well and that you enjoy your time in Inversnecky.







    As some of you know I attend pretty much every Celtic domestic game home and away. I rarely get to European away games due to cost an the inability to take time off from work.



    My normal source when I don’t get tickets directly from Celtic has just told me there is absolutely no chance of him getting spares.



    Hence, I’m imploring if anyone can help me out with a ticket for the game on Belfast.



    Thank you in anticipation.

  25. HT


    Speaking to my dad last night and he said he received a call from Belfast asking him to get a ticket for one of the bhoys over there.

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