Yesterday, the SFA’s Professional Game Board met to discuss the SPFL’s request that they hold an inquiry into the goings-on in Scottish football, following The Supreme Court’s ruling last month on the legality of Rangers EBT use. The League, which represents all 42 senior clubs in the game, wants the national association to investigate the most serious governance events in the sport’s history.
You would think the SFA would be obliged to investigate, right?
Instead, the SFA are getting the band back together. They will sit down with Darryl Broadfoot, now the Association’s external PR, to calculate whether they can carry enough media support to get away with doing nothing at all.
Apparently, the SFA would rather solicit backing for inaction than carry out the wishes of their professional league. This is Scottish football in 2017. It is actually happening, right now.
Governance standards are non-negotiable. No national association can ignore the will of its professional clubs, on an issue as serious as governance, without major repercussions. If the acute situation we have witnessed in recent years is not bad enough, this lack of action puts the SFA on the verge of complicity and cover-up.
Some of the recent most senior office-holders of the Association itself are implicated in the scandal, both as administrators and financial beneficiaries. The question before members of the Professional Game Board isn’t just, ‘Do we do the right thing?’, it’s ‘Do we expose some of our friends and colleges to scrutiny? And if so, how far does the contamination spread?’ Those watching from within the game know, once Pandora’s Box is open, the actions of many others could be open to scrutiny. Don’t think evidence presented to Lord Nimmo Smith was not thoroughly rehearsed and approved by ‘the band’ before being put to the SPL Commission.
The SFA will instruct a cover-up in the coming days to protect their cronies, and in doing so will become complicit in the subversion of the level playing field in Scottish football.
The stink goes as high as the recent past-president of the SFA, Campbell Ogilvie, who worked with those on the Professional Game Board, and had administrative responsibility for contracts and licensing at Rangers during their EBT period. He was also a financial beneficiary of an EBT. The SFA will refuse the request of the SPFL to investigate these matters and attempt a cover-up.
When you have prima facie evidence of a governance issue, presented by your own league, involving your own past-president, you are obliged to open up to independent analysis. Failure to “promote and protect ethical standards and good governance” put the Scottish Football Association in breach of their duty as a member association of Uefa.
Fans will not accept anything less; clubs will not accept anything less. The matter will go to Uefa. It will go to government. It will go to media in England and beyond. It will go to court; those turning their heads today will be called to account. It cannot and will not be accepted. It will not go away.
There will be no cover-up to protect the guilty.
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