Scottish Football: Where The Rules Don’t Work

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Neil Doncaster

Scottish football rules. What can we say about them?

Are they designed with flexibility in mind? Just enough leeway so that, if the authorities chose, no-one could be held liable for anything?

Or does this grey area exist specifically to benefit the club that plays out of Ibrox on any given day?

I think it’s a fair question, because it does appear to me as if they are untouchable.

I am anticipating, as I think we all are, the club being “cleared” over the sectarian singing of its supporters.

We all know the fans did it. It was on TV, and the delegates report refers to “sustained” abuse.

Neil Doncaster, instead of waiting until after his disciplinary committee had finished with the case, has decided to comment on it early, dropping a very big hint as to what is to come.

He used the lee-way built into the regulations to hide behind … which is precisely why it’s there.

Before he’s even seen the report itself, he’s already on record with the likely verdict.

“It remains the SPFL’s position that if it can be established that clubs have done everything required in overall management of the event pre-match, during the game and post-match, then they have no case to answer,” he said in a statement.

So, there it is. If, as expected, he comes out and says that the club has done all it can the issue will be punted down the field until the next time it happens.

Then, in another outburst of phony outrage, he will repeat the same old tired condemnation but take no appropriate action.

But it begs a question, one I don’t expect the SPFL to answer or the media to ask;

What exactly has Sevco done to prevent this kind of thing?

The League Cup final at the start of the month saw an outrageous display of sectarian bile from the Sevco support.

For the Sevconian’s, many right out of the gutter, who posted on the last article, demanding I explore the behaviour of Celtic fans, well I covered the banners in my last article on this site, which I’ll link to at the bottom of the piece.

I also wrote a lengthy – and overdue – post on the Celtic fans songs in my last one for On Fields of Green (posted last night), and I’ll link to that as well.

Check them out, if you think I’m ignoring the issue.

But you won’t like what you read. (Too bad.)

This isn’t whatabouttery. The Celtic fans weren’t breaking the law, and their own songs and banners, whilst not to everyone’s taste, were not in any way sectarian.

The moral equivalence argument doesn’t stand up for two seconds flat.

There’s no need for whatabouttery on the Celtic end, and I am sick and tired treating this debate as if it involved two guilty parties.

It has one, and it’s as simple as that.

A section of the Sevco support purely and simply refuses to civilise or grow up. It wallows in hatred, and the rest of their fans can’t seem to free themselves from this appalling minority.

In this, they are wholly let down by a club that knows who butters the bread.

With attendances at Ibrox plummeting, there’s a fair argument that the club will not do anything which isolates and alienates what remains of its “core support.”

The bad element in that “core support” could be separated from the herd and rooted out, if the club so chose.

It would rather not, and that’s why the SPFL defence is not going to stand up.

The League Cup final was an all-ticket affair. Allocating those tickets fell to the clubs themselves, and if the Sevco board wanted to find out who the directors of that 90 minute sectarian karaoke were they only had to study CCTV footage to see who was sitting where.

In three weeks, have they done that?

The answer is no. Of course not.

The same applies to the supporters who disgraced themselves, the club and Scotland at the game at Starks Park.

They, too, got their tickets from the club … and finding the bad element should, and would, be childs play.

In the days since that game, have they started such an investigation?

The answer is no. Of course not.

In fact, the club has yet to make a statement on either incident.

There’s been no condemnation at all, as if none of it actually happened, despite Stan Collymore highlighting it to the world on Twitter, and numerous English based newspapers running stories in the aftermath of the Hampden match and since Friday.

The club, in short, has done the sum total of zero here.

There has been no effort on their part to take this bad element on. They continue to give match tickets to people who shame them, who disgrace their name, who are not fit to be let out in normal society. They make no effort to trace those responsible for the worst excesses.

The abandoned Hearts match was well over six weeks ago.

Have any of the people fighting in the stadium that night been identified? No.

The Hibs game is wedged in between the League Cup semi and the disgrace at Starks Park.

Elements of the home support attacked the away fans.

Have the people who did it been identified? No.

You have to ask yourself, if this is what the SPFL hides behind – this assertion that the club has done all it can – then you have to conclude that it’s the governing body itself who ought to be held responsible for the next deplorable series of events.

Toothless, gutless and witless … these are the people who run Scottish football.

We won’t improve the game here until these people are run out of office.

To read my article on the Celtic fans banners, click on this link.

To read On Fields of Green, on the Celtic fans and the “Irish issue”, click on this link.

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  • Charmagh says:

    Just a wee correction- due to sevcos lobe of a rubber cheque old Turnbull sold the RR tickets straight to the govanites.

    So I don’t think those particular tickets came through the clumpany.

    But it wouldn’t make an iota of difference.

    Let’s enjoy where the wee runkers are right now. Isn’t it great that they think singing bile filled hate songs will help their current position or their new clubs team on the park.

    We hold all the cards, let them wear themselves out.

  • Gerryj67 says:

    if Sevco have done all they can and it hasn’t had any effect then for the sake of football in Scotland the SPFL must take action. Thing is they might listen to Slug Keevins and ban the Irish from Celtic Park.

  • K McAllan says:

    The spfl should come down hard on any club breaking its rules, also the police should enforce the bloody law ffs. Now, you won’t like the next bit, I am a Partick Thistle fan, or according to the many celtic fans who entered the thistle end at FIrhill an effing Hun bast you get the picture ..don’t get me wrong ive been called a bead rattling so and so from the club formerly known as Rangers, upon reporting this to the police and stewards at the game yep you guessed it … Nothing was done about it ! How can we expect to fix it if nobody does anything about it! This was an ideal opportunity to lay down a marker but, instead a precedent was set, that it’s ok to sing sectarian, racist and the glorification of illegal terrorist organisations. Btw how you can claim that some of the songs celtic fans sing are acceptable is completely beyond me. Maybe if they didn’t add words into the songs they may be ok but not in that format.

  • Patrick says:

    The big question has got to be what are Police Scotland doing about this wholesale breaking of the law.

    Down South we see the police there using CCTV to identify those potentially involved in breaking the law. Here we have tens of thousands breaking the law but apparently nobody caught on camera. How can this be?

    Perhaps one of Scotland’s finest has left the lens cap on—-or would that be too much of a co-incidence?

  • Inter no 7 says:

    Why are the police and the establishment so frightened of sevco and it’s band of racist bigots and sower rats

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