Today all of Scottish athletics is virtually united in condemnation of Russia’s cheating during the 2012 Olympics in London.
Notorious Sevco fan Lynsey Sharp, who’s offensive tweets including one about the great Jock Stein have enraged Celtic supporters and made her a national embarrassment has tonight railed against the Russian cheating saying how “sick” it makes her feel.
Her latest tweet reads “You can’t beat the feeling of competing clean.”
It’s difficult to disagree with her rationale in this case.
Another Scottish runner, Lee McConnell, has called what they did “fraud”, and discussed not only the sporting consequences of that but of how it carries financial consequences too.
She and others have been cheated out of more than just medals and that’s often forgotten about in the talk about “sporting integrity.”
This stuff costs people their livelihood in some cases.
Whenever cheating is uncovered in professional sport it is punished harshly, most often with the stripping of titles and honours.
There appears to be a growing consensus across the sport that this is what should happen to Rangers.
Ironically, Connell’s comments came during STV’s evening news where one of the other headlines stories was Sharp’s club, Sevco, asking for Scottish football to “move on” and maintaining that they will not be losing any honours as a consequence of the guilty EBT verdict levelled on Rangers this last week.
I am in full agreement with them too.
This matter was not the fault of their club.
Their two lower league titles should not be at any risk in the ensuing investigation.
Any punishment that is levelled should be restricted to OldCo Rangers, the club that was placed in liquidation on 31 October 2012.
Those titles and trophies – 11 in all – will need to be stripped from the OldCo if the game in this country is truly to “move on” from these events.
Otherwise the sport isn’t clean.
It will be seem forevermore as having been run by leaders who allow cheating to take place, and who have advertised themselves as being either unwilling or unable to stop it.
Dave King is on the record as having admitted much of this.
Indeed, he said that the club he was once director of owed Scottish football an apology.
We’ve yet to have even as much as that, and he’s currently on the board of a club that is refusing to pay a fine in relation to EBT use.
I think he should continue to resist that fine, and we should all be supporting him in that stance.
The notion of his current club being forced to pay for the sins of the OldCo is a disgrace and the decision to impose it one of the more ludicrous and contradictory events in the recent history of the game here.
Keith Jackson said this morning that Scottish football has been “scarred” by this saga.
He’s referring to the damage that has been done since it was uncovered, not the damage a decade of cheating inflicted on it.
That damage is what matters and the suggestion that we can “move on” from that without there being consequences is outrageous.
As is Sevco’s laughable assertion that stripping titles from the OldCo ought not to happen because “Scottish football has suffered enough.”
That’s a little like a criminal telling a court that the process only inflicts further misery on the victim.
It won’t fly.
It’s not on.
Justice has to be done here, it’s as simple as that.
Either the game is clean here or it’s bent.
And if it’s bent why are any of us bothering to pretend otherwise?
Treat it like professional wrestling, as something pre-determined and where the rules are whatever you care to invent on the day.
See how many fans turn up to watch it.
Our governing bodies have one almighty decision to make.
The world is watching.
This is one of the biggest scandals in sport.