The news that yet another greedy, money led initiative by the so-called “super-clubs” has failed at the only hurdle that matters – recognition by FIFA – should come as no shock.
These sorts of plans have been touted for years, and none has ever come to fruition nor has the slightest chance of doing so.
There is one constant at the top of the sport, no matter who sits in the executive offices, no matter how much graft and corruption exists there, and it is this; access to continental competitions and to international football tournaments must be based on merit.
Merit. The idea of “closed shops” is scare-story stuff for the children.
I think those at UEFA and FIFA genuinely do believe that football should be a meritocracy, but let’s not underestimate the power dynamic at work here as well.
The power these organisations wield lies in their control over the elite competitions, and the minute they cede control to self-interested “businesspeople” with only the bottom line in mind that power is gone.
They might as well close their organisations down entirely.
FIFA’s statement today, where they have scotched this latest idea by telling clubs they will not be eligible for continental football, that the competitions won’t be recognised and that no player who takes part will be eligible to play for their national sides, comes as no surprise whatsoever.
They’ve said it before, many times.
I know there are people at Celtic who cling to these ideas nonetheless, and the media speculates endlessly on them. They seem almost breathless at every new development, up until the inevitable moment when it’s ruled out and then they seem shocked.
What’s shocking is that in light of all this we continue to let Scottish football drift.
The imperative to reform our sport is clear. Instead of clinging to fantasies of us getting out of this league entirely we ought to have focussed on fixing the game we’re in.
I did a lengthy piece at the weekend – you can read it here – on the five key areas where we’ve failed to do this since 2012. At least one of the reasons why we don’t is that we continue to pin our hopes to these crazy ideas.
It’s another example of our club not thinking things through.
That so many of our directors continue to talk about European leagues and Atlantic Leagues and the invites to England that never seem to come is crazy when you consider the stuff that needs to be sorted out right here at home.
It’s another example of how we’ve lost focus.