Interesting times

Date: 24th September 2021

Our latest SFSA blog provided to you by Donald Stewart

“Of the twelve at the top, five seem to have broken cover.

Or at least from the outside that would appear to be the case.

The big two in Edinburgh, the New Firm and the other club in Dundee want to know if there can be change. It adds to the review being held by The Scottish Football Alliance as they have engaged Deloites to look at how the game is governed.

Two reviews into the one game?

Should there not just be one, uniting the people behind it and not dividing focus? Should there be a simple approach taken, after all it is a simple game? Does it not make sense, when there are other pressures upon the game in Scotland to ensure we do not divide and conquer hee haw in the way that we try and approach change. Significant change.

Most people agree on a lot of things; and most people disagree on most if not all of the others.

Scottish football is not well enough run.

That is not to say that it is badly run but it is not exploited to the level it could be.

Barry Hearn tellt us that. It’s a few years since a man who heads a giant sports company came north, cast an eye and even as the Chair of Leyton Orient could see where things were going wrong. We had the McLeish Review, his update in Requiem or Renaissance, countless hours of pontification on radio programmes and summits that have happened to produce the hee haw previously mentioned  and now? Will we look at how Iceland have infrastructure, Holland have access, Spain have ticky tacky or the fans have expectations?

We are riding high in a win against Austria, have got to a major tournament at last, have a decent manager at the helm of our men’s national team and seen the women triumph in Hungary. Our teams may still have a European blind spot, but we at least have a game that is in some way flourishing.

No matter what you think about the way that the pyramid structure works or play offs are designed, they are an innovation. The league cup and the other cup are changed to try and give us a bit of variety so what could possibly be wrong with the game in Scotland?

It is not everything.

But it is a significant something.

That the five, without Rangers and Celtic, are willing to challenge the status quo is good. If they bring about change all the better but they could start with democratising the game and removing the top two having an effective veto over change by making the quality of the argument the watchword rather than the power of their financial interests.

Then there is the utter shambles of the Cinch deal. Rangers may be guilty of behaving like a spoilt child over the BBC ban but their approach to the Cinch deal needs serious looking at. I am no whizz kid when it comes to commercial deals but negotiating one where the return is in jeopardy as due diligence is not seen to be done in a member’s led club? That’s serious issues right there, that is.

And then there are fan’s issues. The customers. The life blood of the game. The funders by over 50% of the revenue of the game itself.

If we unite the two reviews into one, then they simply get lost. We need a fan led review. We need a peak behind the curtain in the hope we do not find the Wizard of Oz. It would be fantastic if the SFA and SPFL were open to making a wholesale and fearless inventory of their processes available to both reviews. It would be utterly fantastic if they were as democratic as a member’s led club should be and say, come on in guys, the sharks are friendly.

I presume they shall argue with one and undermine the other with justifications. And then?

Think we might get a think tank. Possibly even a pilot. There could even be a welcoming. Will there be change?

Scottish football is not well enough run. That is not to say that it is badly run but it is not exploited to the level it could be.

What do you think?

“The Scottish Football Alliance is in the process of conducting an independent review of all aspects of the game in Scotland.

Our objectives remain focussed on producing a far-reaching set of proposals that will focus on modernising the game. There are no doubt many challenges that the game in Scotland faces. However, the need for better governance of the game and ensuring that football supporters and the grassroots activists in the game have a voice are themes that are universal across these islands.

Henry McLeish from the Alliance said, “ It has long been recognised that football clubs are not ordinary businesses. They play a critical social, civic, and cultural role in their local communities that they serve across Scotland. They are iconic community assets that need to be protected and cherished.”

“Our work continues and and we are ready to engage with Deloittes as part of their review of football in Scotland and hopefully ensure that the key stakeholders are front and centre of discussions no matter the commercial benefit that might accrue “.”

Why not tell and join the Alliance?”


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