Date: 5th May 2015
AND SO the battle rages on. It’s been dragging on for several days, maybe even weeks, who knows? There are still has a number of top-flight fixtures to play, as well as a number of play-off ties to decide who will be playing their league football in which tier of Scottish football next season.
This was the same prospect clubs were faced with last season, too, mind. Last season, it was Hibs who ‘defied’ SPFL league bosses and allowed their season ticket holders to attend the home leg of their play-off tie for free, rather than pay the admittance fee that would help line the coffers of the League authority.
This year it is both Rangers and Motherwell who have stated their intentions publicly to go against the League’s wishes and give their loyal, already paid enough, season ticket holders the chance to go to the home legs of their respective play-off ties for free.
This seems to have angered the authorities, who are yet to show any signs of backing down in their argument that each of these clubs, and the same goes for every club in Scotland, must charge fans to attend the play-off matches as the gate receipts from these matches are vital to help fund the game across the country.
However, last year Hibs let their fans in for free and were not punished, so how can the League bosses deem it fair to punish clubs this time around? The fact of the matter is that they can’t and I’m almost certain that a court of appeal would see it this way.
It feels as if, once again, the League bosses are taking the fans for granted and treating them as a cash cow that should be milked at every opportunity. This is only the latest in a string of events that has seen fans pay over the odds for football matches in Scotland.
Our game continues to be tainted by these so-called guardians of the sport, who have shown less consistency than a McDonalds sausage and egg McMuffin. Punishments are handed out to clubs and players for one offence, but not handed out to others for a very similar offence. Understandably this often causes fan fury.
The SPFL have pulled out their big guns on the matter, with League chairman Ralph Topping getting involved, saying that the ‘rule book is not a pick and mix’. Yet, it was last year on this matter. And it has been for several years when it has come to disciplinary sanctions against clubs and players.
This latest farce has only strengthened the calls for change to occur at the League management level. For too long have the governing body have taken fans for granted, as well as the clubs.
They continue to push their rulebooks in the faces of people and institutions that they are supposed to be helping reap the benefits of our game, and they repeatedly pick and mix with their Holy Grail.
Clubs are trying their best to make football matches easily accessible and enjoyable for their loyal supporters, but the football bosses above them are not making it easy.
How much longer will it be allowed to go on? It’s not right that it’s gone on for as long as it has. Hopefully it won’t go on beyond the end of this season. Hopefully.
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