Two nights ago, on BBC Sportsound, Jim McInally revealed that he’s had a warning letter from the SFA threatening him with disciplinary action for an off-cuff remark he made about referees in a discussion about how empty stands might impact on matches.
He said that if Celtic and Sevco played in deserted stadiums that refs would be less inclined towards bias in games involving them; he meant the bias that comes from having 60,000 people trying to influence you. He was not making any accusations.
It was perfectly clear what he was talking about, perfectly clear that he wasn’t saying anyone was guilty of anything, yet the citation duly arrived and he was pretty pissed off about it. Darryl Broadfoot was in the studio, and I thought his defence of it was embarrassing.
Equally embarrassing was his failure to explain why what McInally said is worse, somehow, than when Gerrard openly accused refs of being biased against his club. I thought far worse, though, was the obvious reluctance of the members of the panel to inquire as to why nobody at Sevco was disciplined for making far more serious allegations against the SPFL board.
What is the hold Ibrox has over some of these people? Earlier on, I put up a piece about how the BBC and other outlets are scared to confront Sevco over their clearly nonsensical statements about their finances being okay, when everyone knows that to be manifestly false.
McInally has been censured for nothing here, whilst at Ibrox the entire upper echelon of their club can push conspiracy theories and indulge in hateful witch-hunt of senior league executives and the game’s governing body doesn’t even stir.
The SPFL itself has shown weakness too, of course, in not removing Stewart Robertson from their executive committee … but it’s up to the SFA to discipline those clubs who step out of line and Sevco’s disgraceful conduct was as clear cut a case of bringing the game into disrepute as you could hope to see.
That nothing has been done about it is astonishing.
McInally must look like a fairly easy target; that’s what the SFA does.
It aims for the path of least resistance.
I am not saying the organisation is biased in favour of Sevco, I am saying that it essentially gutless and its tolerance of that club and those in it risks turning our game into a lawless environment. It undermines its own regulations. It operates a shocking double standard. It is amateurish and weak.
That is going to cost us all as time goes by.
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