Date: 1st June 2016
It’s a thorny issue, sponsorship is. I have no doubt that there are many people who sit in the Toni Macaroni Stadium and think, really? Of course next season anything paid onto Livingston’s coffers, as they try to get back into the Championship will not be questioned as to its providence – or should it?
The announcement the other week of the new sponsor in Scottish football which has led to the Betfred Cup as opposed to the Scottish League Cup might not raise too many eyebrows. This is principally because, with the parlous state of finances, fans just want to see cash flow in and entertainment flood out and onto their pitches – the equation between cash rich and product plenty is so well accepted by some that it makes me despair…
That despair aside we now have a new format which has been drawn and looks fairly decent, if a little “old school”, and a new deal with BT Sport so we now have innovation to add to finance in the League Cup – what could possibly go wrong?
Well firstly in a country where gambling has been an issue for many families taking a blue – chip (pardon the pun) betting companies’ money might be seen as a tad hypocritical. On top of that, a game where betting enjoyed by players is not just frowned upon but banned outright has suddenly bought a get out clause. Ironically whilst the SPFL get it in the neck for not being able to negotiate good sponsorship deals, they have just got one with a company whose activities are BANNED by the SPFL within its fellow members. You have to admire the chutzpah!
Accompanying the news were good hearted and believable comments form SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster, Betfred chief executive John Haddock and Simon Green, head of BT Sport. As always they were delighted to be in partnership and encouraged by the fan’s response to the new way of doing things – which smacks of the old way of doing things – so we should all be happy… Shouldn’t we?
Well the game needs cash and when a beggar, choosing is a luxury so this is a welcome investment. We are unable to allow our morals to cloud the scruples so we get some good clean cash. The major question then comes as to where it should be spent. Should it go to clubs who fall out the competition early, go to the eventual winner or be sent into that pot called youth investment; or all three? One things that the SPFL are really not great at is transparency and whilst the SFA may be in charge of things like Youth Academy Scotland the supposed new relationship spawned between the SFA and SPFL which is all apparently about collective responsibility for our game, ought, surely, to mean that any money coming into the game would flow to where it was needed most… Then again I just woke up there with a bizarre image of Neil Doncaster and Stewart Regan and don’t want to have to think about it again…
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