UEFA’s latest communique to the national associations, and their instruction that this season has to be completed, is proof positive that Scottish football’s own leadership is not the worst by a long way. The governing body which rules the continent is even more incapable of facing up to reality.
Which should worry every single one of us.
Bad governance has dire consequences. You only have to look at those countries which laughed off the threat of the global health emergency and are now paying a momentous price for that, with the United States out in the lead. That country could lose a million citizens before this is over, because their leadership has been dreadful.
How many football clubs will we lose because UEFA cannot see the writing on the wall?
Had they given clear guidance to national associations a month ago, when it became obvious that football across the continent was going to grind to a halt with no prospective re-start date anywhere on the horizon, then we’d be in a place now where the key issues would be settled and clubs would already be far down the road to knowing how they’d cope.
But these guys didn’t even take the decision – inevitable as it was from almost the start – to cancel Euro 2020 until 17 March.
By that time almost every country was in one form of lockdown or another.
The level of disconnect it takes to imagine that a global pandemic would have been brought sufficiently under control by their start date for a massive trans-continental sporting event to take place boggles the mind.
Only the IOC are worse; their decision to cancel the Olympics took another week, which shows either breath-taking arrogance or stupidity too great to fathom.
UEFA’s mind-bending letter to the national associations – which was leaked online almost as soon as it was sent – says that ending leagues “prematurely” should be a “last resort.” It amazes me that they cannot see exactly where we are, and the longer it takes for them to sign off on an end to this campaign the harder things will be for clubs just trying to survive.
The SFA and the SPFL might have been working their way towards a resolution of these matters; all the signs point to them being on the brink of taking an inevitable decision. But UEFA’s latest “guidance” is a joke, and does nothing good for anyone.
It does not bring us one step closer to resolving these matters at all. It also gives another alibi to those in our own governing bodies who lack the backbone to do what’s right here, letting them slither off the hook of taking a decision themselves, hoping that UEFA does it for them later.
European football is in paralysis, with only the Belgians so far willing to take the initiative.
The decision they’ve taken might not be popular in some quarters, but God damn … it’s a resolution.
It’s what the moment required.
It’s leadership we can only dream about elsewhere.
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