Not for Robert Kitson, of The Guardian, any sugar-coating of the scandal at Saracens which saw English rugby’s biggest side hammered yesterday by their national league body; he has made it clear that he and others must now consider their recent titles tainted.
He even used Paul Larkin’s famous example of the asterisk next to each one of them.
He called it “financial doping” too.
He called it the “spectacle of a sport robustly applying its rules, regardless of a club’s power and pedigree.”
Does that sound familiar?
Perhaps from the blogs; certainly no newspaper up here would have written that line.
Tony Rowe, the CEO of Exeter, said yesterday that Saracen’s should be relegated.
He considers the title they won last year – with Exeter in second – to be tarnished beyond recovery. “It leaves a sour taste in your mouth,” he said, “when we just didn’t have the firepower. And that’s because we didn’t break the salary cap and fill our side with international players.”
Those who obey the rules are always at the mercy of those who do not.
This is precisely because this is the case that we have governing bodies in the first place.
It’s why they enforce salary caps and financial fair play.
It’s why they have “robust” rules and regulations.
And just in case the governing body itself is corrupt or behaving that way, the media is there to keep an eye on things, uncover the truth and report on the facts.
Don’t ever believe that our anger should only be focussed at the SFA and the clubs who failed to pay proper attention to what was being done in their name.
The media here has been complicit in all of this too.
As E-Tims helpfully reminded us this morning, this was the guy who was loaning himself out to Craig Whyte whilst the “Motherwell born billionaire” was at Ibrox … we know he was attacking Paul Murray on the occasion which has come to light. What we don’t know is what other little favours he was doing for the Ibrox club or has done for them and others down through the years.
The press up here has failed lamentably in taking Scottish football’s governors to task.
When Sevco was being shoe-horned into the league system the press went on the attack on behalf of those who were trying to work the con. Editorials hammering the club chairmen who were standing up for the sport’s integrity were commonplace.
Some of them were quite disgraceful too.
But this is what our press is, and what our press does; they are not there to challenge authority, they are there to parrot its views. The odd argument with the SFA over the standard of refereeing – which they don’t want to change per se, just moan about – and the national coach do not equate to holding people to account.
It’s window dressing.
Are the media as responsible as the SFA for the shame heaped on our game?
These people had a responsibility to make sure that everyone was on the same page. Instead of being the guardians of sporting integrity back in 2011, they actively conspired against it. They sided with those who had corrupted the game here … and they’ve been on their side ever since.
The media in England does things a little differently.
They care about the sports they care.
They care too much to see them fall into ruin and scandal.
I wish we had even half of their integrity and passion up here.
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