As this season draws towards its conclusion, rumours continue to swirl about all manner of dirty deeds behind the scenes. These stories would be ignored in some parts of the football world, but in Scotland they can’t be.
They have to be treated seriously.
A few months ago, I wrote an article about certain practices in English football which have been exported from Germany, and there they were exported from cycling. I make no bones about saying I’m referring to doping in some of its various forms. I traced that line from scandals in cycling to those in European football and from there, to Ibrox.
That’s the job. Prior conduct from the clubs at Ibrox makes the theory an easy one to believe in.
So too do recent events, where we know that the Ibrox operation has been more relaxed about pandemic regulations than they ought to have been. A club that behaves so recklessly is capable of anything.
Everywhere you look online, there are references to test and trace regulations being either violated at Ibrox or ignored completely.
From the start of this pandemic I’ve believed that there was a glaring blind-spot in football’s regulations, which was ripe for exploitation; when test and trace gets in touch with you, they assume you’ll be responsible enough to tell them the truth about all your contacts so that everyone can be isolated.
But what if you think other goals are more important than public safety?
What if you decide to fudge the issue?
On top of that, what if you’ve outsourced your testing regime to friends with whom you have an understanding?
I’m not saying it happened … I’m saying that it could have happened because the regulations, as per usual, contain a lot of holes for anyone who considers them an inconvenience and makes a conscious decision to put other priorities first.
Are there any clubs out there who are either unscrupulous enough or who were desperate enough to have made that call?
We all know the answer to both of those questions is yes.
We also know that those inside Celtic keep a close watch on what goes on elsewhere, so they are probably aware of certain rumours and stories that are going around. They will also have some basic understanding of what the facts are. If there’s something to be concerned about, they will be at least partially aware of that.
But as E-Tims reminded us this morning, Scottish football has 42 clubs in it, not just ours and theirs. Things like this are a matter of concern for the whole game, or at least they should be.
I think if there’s something wrong a lot of clubs will know about it.
If that’s true, why didn’t they act?
Well, here’s the question; what do you think would have happened if one club had been caught gaming the system here?
I’ll tell you exactly what would have happened, the whole of Scottish football would have been shut down immediately and all of us would have paid the price.
This is the real consequence of dealing with people with no morals at all; they don’t mind putting others in such an invidious position. But as usual, the forces on which they rely don’t stay constant.
Their hold will weaken over time.
The season’s almost finished, and things that might have worried clubs six months ago will be less of a concern than they would have been for clubs when we were in the beginning to middle stages of the campaign.
Silence at one point, for “the sake of the game” and for their own bottom lines, doesn’t necessarily mean that there will be silence forever. I do believe that a lot of things which have been ignored will eventually come to light.
The question is, what then?
A reckoning, sure, but we’ve heard that before.