The Super League debate has come at a time when Celtic fans are trying to get Dominic McKay interested in looking at some of some of the issues arising from the 2012 liquidation or Rangers, and that period before it when they were using EBT’s.
The Super League debacle is not finished yet, not by a long way. UEFA and the national associations are scrambling to find a way of punishing the clubs involved; it’s just not clear that any mechanism exists for actually doing so.
Because, after all, what exactly did they do?
They announced an intention to do something, of that there is no doubt, and they might even have proceeded further down that road to see if there actually would be sanctions … but you can’t discipline somebody for something they might do later.
You can only do it for something they’ve actually done.
On the night when the Clyde 1 panel seemed to want to compare Dubai with the Ibrox Five case it’s little wonder that this is a hard point for some to grasp.
It makes me think of the Resolution 12 case, which is back in conversation amongst our fans because those behind it wants our new CEO to take a fresh look at the issue, which is only to be expected as their anger was mainly directed at the outgoing one.
It remains to be seen whether or not they succeed … but if we can move this debate forward a notch one of the critical elements of it will be to bring some much needed clarity to what the issue is actually about.
It’s never been “about Rangers” although our enemies and some inside our own club have been determined to frame it as if it is.
The targets of this campaign are the SFA.
It’s always been about the SFA.
Right from the start, the guys behind Resolution 12 have been saying that and there are two things which confirm that this isn’t about Ibrox.
The first is that even if UEFA could have banned Rangers from Europe over the license issue, they’d still have played in Europe in the year in question.
The second issue is one we all understand but for some reason not in the context of this matter; Rangers died.
The famous Traveso letter, which you’ll all have heard about, confirms that UEFA’s stance on investigating the case is that the club died and therefore no punishment was possible.
That’s the critical thing here … the club died. No punishment was possible.
Whereas the Super League hasn’t actually broken any laws, and there is nothing in the rulebook permitting punishment for those who state an intention to, there is nothing in the rulebook about how you punish a club that no longer exists.
These simple points are still unclear to a lot of people, in the way this matter is promoted as being an “anti-Rangers” issue … the club itself could not be less important.
This is about governance, or failures of governance if you will. The SFA either completely failed in their duty to protect the integrity of the game by doing their proper due diligence or they conspired with Ibrox in a cover-up of the matter.
Neither is a good luck. Someone almost certainly committed a fraud here.
Craig Whyte’s Ibrox operation certainly misled the governing body, but to what extent did the SFA allow themselves to be misled? To what extent did weak regulations allow the Ibrox club to slip through a loophole?
Was the SFA incompetent, or were they co-conspirators?
I can hardly think of more important questions.
Yesterday, I read something which actually shocked me and I know it shouldn’t have. A UEFA report on national associations and their licensing policies from just a couple of years back listed Scotland as one of those nations whose standards and practices are woefully short of the standard required.
I’m willing to bet that precisely nothing has changed on that front.
Whyte was not a remarkable character in the history of the Scottish game.
Yes, he almost certainly lied to the SFA over that licensing period, but Murray was lying about bigger things than that and there have been a parade of these dodgy geezers at clubs because we don’t have fit and proper person’s criteria worth a damn.
We also don’t have any scrutiny of how clubs are paying their bills.
Ibrox floats on a sea of soft loans and equity confetti and I’m betting that not one circular has been passed around Hampden wondering just who is really writing the cheques.
The Super League fiasco shows what happens when owners with no connection to the clubs or the communities they are in decide that the regulations don’t apply to them, and that fan opinion does not matter.
Resolution 12 shows us what can happen when the governing bodies are in thrall to certain clubs and let them away with anything and everything.
We need to learn the lessons of both; we need better and more robust guidelines on these issues and we need to know what happened in the past so that we might guard against it happening again in the future.
Our regulatory framework in this country is weaker than Eskimo piss and we’re kidding ourselves on to pretend that it’s a healthy way to be.
You cannot punish people for what they threaten to do, just as you can’t punish a club that has spent its way to oblivion and cheated and lied all the way.
What you can do is make sure that club licensing and fit and proper person rules, ownership regulations and financial guidelines are solid enough that you never wind up in these situations to start with.
Aside from fixing our team for the coming of this campaign, the most important job Dominic McKay has is in cleaning up the SFA. He has to want to and he has to be committed to it.
This doesn’t just protect the game, it specifically protects Celtic.
No other club suffered as much from Ibrox’s previous shenanigans. No club pays so high a price for what they are getting up to right now either. This is self-defence.