Crisis In the SPL As Dundee Utd Points Deduction Sparks Resignation

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One of the biggest stories of this week, coming during a time when many supporters were watching other things, is the decision by the SPFL to deduct Dundee Utd three points following their decision to play an ineligible player at the weekend.

The league body convened a meeting without days and took the decision to deduct Dundee Utd three points, a quite astonishing move considering the Lord Nimmo Smith verdict and the quite pathetic excuse the SFA used as cover for it.

This is part of what we’ve been talking about, the scandalous double standards adopted by our football agencies, the way they can make allowances and find ways of twisting the rules to suit some people but not others.

They gave Rangers a “no title stripping” guarantee before the LNS inquiry sat and then found ways of making it stick. Other clubs aren’t so fortunate.

I don’t want to see Dundee Utd relegated. I think it’s a bad thing for the league. I quite like the club and I like Stephen Thompson. But I have no sympathy for them in this case.

The punishment they got was fair and just. It’s the punishment Rangers should have got for every game in which an eligible player took the field. Games should have been voided. Points should have been deducted. Titles should have been stripped. Bottom line.

Stephen Thompson has resigned from the board over this. Some say he would have had to anyway, as his team has been relegated, that his decision to go has no teeth.

It’s factually incorrect; the leagues are now one body and he would have been perfectly entitled to stay on. Yet his resignation has no teeth anyway. He called it “disproportionate” and in terms of the slap on the wrist Rangers got for ten years of the same I suppose it is.

Yet Stephen Thompson was one of several heads of clubs who said there was “no appetite” for title stripping three years ago, and contributed to the mood in which the stitch up was put in place. In short, he did nothing to help the game get the justice that it was due.

I am tired of the complaining some chairmen do about the state of our game and the direction of its governance; who is in a better position to change that then they are?

What’s the point of resigning in a fit of pique? Why not stay and rewrite the regulations? Why not fit for reform? Too many people in the game run away from responsibility rather than grabbing it by the throat.

His resignation plunges the game into another crisis, one it doesn’t need, one that’s a distraction from the bigger things going on. Who is most likely to take his place? Well, there are a couple of people who want to; one of them is Ann Budge at Hearts. I’d have no problem seeing her in place, although I’d prefer Thompson had stayed. But the other most likely candidate is Stewart Robertson of Sevco.

Which takes us a step backwards, to where we were before.

This is precisely what we’ve been trying to avoid.

It seems some of the people at the top of the game, in boardrooms, don’t like the way things work. Those at the bottom of the game – otherwise known as the fans – don’t like the way things work. We’re all concerned about double standards, about bias, about lack of transparency.

But the fans are at least trying to do something about it.

What are the heads of our clubs trying to do? They let this go on. They helped write these regulations and stood back and watched as they were bent and broken to support Rangers efforts to avoid justice. They did sod all about it. Now one has quit, and it resurrects an old danger … a certain club getting a claw on the power ladder. Once they get on there they’ll only go one way, until we’re back where we were before.

Reform is impossible until these people get out from under the bed.

This is another example of people preferring to run and hide rather than doing what has to be done.

No wonder the game is a mess.

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