It was John Fogerty who wrote, “I see a bad moon rising. I see trouble on the way.”
I thought of that when I saw Newsnow earlier.
According to CQN this morning, the SFA Professional Game board came together yesterday and a decision has been made on the SPFL’s call for an inquiry into the running of the game here. He claims that the SFA will try to find out how much support there is in the press for doing exactly nothing.
He claims that the cover-up is now in full swing.
I have no reason to disbelieve this story; indeed, I have good reason to believe every word. There are no surprises here; we know the SFA has no wish to open the can of worms. We know what’s inside the can. We know they are the worms.
But Paul67 is correct to assert that this time they’ve gone too far. Any attempt to ignore the SPFL’s clear call for an inquest would be the greatest act of self-harm in the history of the sport. The type of inquiry the SPFL was calling for – toothless, a paper shuffling exercise – was not the one any of us wanted or would have been prepared to accept, but that the SFA would attempt to dodge even that level of scrutiny is telling.
I’ve said to a few people this week that I understand how we could have got here; it starts off, maybe, with someone hearing that a certain football club is having financial problems and that their collapse would be bad for the game. Could a rule be bent or even overlooked, just to help them along? Or perhaps an administrator walked into Hampden one day and told shocked fellow admins that he had something to confess, an enormous scandal involving tax dodging and side contracts, and that he was worried about the impact it would have on the sport if such a scandal were to ever come out and its full implications be realised.
People in those circumstances might decide, they might even genuinely believe, that some clubs are “too big to fail” and that it’s in the interests of the whole game not to see them suffer the full weight of consequences which would accrue to a lesser team. And in those circumstances, people who were convinced, or could convince themselves, that they were doing the right thing might have … made mistakes. With good intentions.
I can see it. I can even sympathise with it a little.
I read Nick Leeson’s book Rouge Trader when it first came out, and what struck me most about it was how easily and smoothly he slipped from a place where he was a guy who was sitting on a few hundred thousand in losses on the banks account – grounds for firing, nothing more – to the point where he was tens of millions in the hole and forging documents to fool the auditors … a much more serious situation, where he was facing jail time and the bank itself was in serious peril.
I get how it could happen.
But it doesn’t make it right.
It doesn’t mean these people should get away with it, and as with Leeson what started out, perhaps, as something fundamentally wrong in itself but relatively minor in the grand scheme of things has morphed into something much bigger, something potentially criminal, something dark. Rule breaking is never alright, and there’s no excuse for it whatever the motives … but had these things been faced up to a long time ago people might have understood.
We might have got past it.
Lies have been laid on top of lies.
Cover ups have been launched to hide previous cover ups.
You don’t make that go away by adding more layers.
The media is now being asked to play its own role, and it’s not the one they were supposed to have.
They are being asked to lend a hand in keeping this thing from being examined in full. If they carry that out they are damned for eternity. When the media actually takes part in a campaign who’s intention is to hide evidence of wrong-doing then there’s no coming back for any of them.
Is that what these people got into the profession for?
To assist in a cover-up? Where are their balls? Where is their professional integrity?
I know some of the hacks read these blogs; think on this, you lot.
Doesn’t it make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up when you’re being asked whether or not you would make a stink if a regulatory agency decided not to commission an independent investigation into itself?
Doesn’t the mere asking of the question suggest that there’s something they don’t want to find?
As a media professional, doesn’t the presumption implicit in the question offend the shit out of you?
Because if you and your colleagues were respected, would they even dare to ask you such a thing?
It’s time to decide what your press cards are worth.
For the clubs, they too have a decision to make. They might not support the whole notion of title stripping, but they wanted answers as to what the Hell has been going on in our sport these past 20 odd years. They wanted an inquiry to get to the bottom of it all.
And they too are being ignored, their wishes spurned.
It’s time they asked themselves why.
Why are the governing bodies so afraid of scrutiny? What don’t they want you to know? What the Hell have they been up to that they would push our game, as they have here, to the brink of its own constitutional crisis, rather than allow light to shine through the window?
Even the clubs cannot accept this.
Regan and his board have just lit the fuse on an all-out war for the soul of the Scottish game. At least one club will push this as far as it needs to go; that club happens to be the biggest one in the country, with the heft to take it all the way.
Fans are no longer prepared to sit on the side-lines and play a role as mere observers, the fact some are planning a judicial review should scare the living daylights out of those at Hampden, whether they think they have a legal case or not. How many other national associations have been taken to court by fans?
The very act of filing it does untold damage to the SFA.
And it’s only the beginning.
As Paul said, this will go to UEFA. It will go to the courts.
When the media in England finally sits up and notices that this is the enormous story some of us have been telling them it is then we’re really off to the races.
And yes, this will go to government, to the Westminster one, not the one in Holyrood which hates football fans and is already preparing its next assault on them.
There is no hiding from this.
The people who brought our game to the brink will be held to account.
The dominos will fall.
Past sins will be acknowledged, and paid for in full.
Nothing I’ve seen and heard these last few weeks suggests otherwise.
The SFA has one last chance to do the right thing; call a full inquiry, let it go where it needs to, let it levy sanctions it feels are appropriate and let the game move on.
And in that case, believe me, “there’s a bad moon is on the rise.”