Scottish Football Needs An Independent Regular And Celtic Should Support It.

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The Super League saga has focussed the minds of many in English football on some much needed reforms of the sport down there, and a few of them would be applicable up here too and are exactly the sort of things we should be doing.

Fit and proper person tests need to be tightened up as a matter of urgency; that’s a given.

There needs to be a reform of ownership at clubs and the government needs to legislate towards some form of German system.

The Celtic Trust would certainly support such a move, and there are a couple of clubs in this country being run more or less on those lines.

The most important change being proposed in the aftermath of the Super League fiasco is that English football should be put under the control of an independent regulator, and this would be a game-changer for Scottish football if we followed suit.

Look, we’ve seen through the last couple of years that allowing football up here to govern itself is a mess.

Football is incapable of doing it for starters, there are too many vested interests in the game.

What’s worse, we have two clubs up here which the governing bodies have declared “too big to fail” which is a dangerous place to be, and especially when one of them rose from the ashes of previous rule breaking and tax evasion and debt dumping, and the current one has opaque sources of funding which nobody seems in any great hurry to get to the bottom of.

It’s the debt dumping matter which convinces me most that Scottish football needs a regulator, because the SFA’s disgraceful policy on that cannot be allowed to go unchallenged, as it has been for the past decade.

It is a recipe for disaster and an invite to organised crime gangs and other predatory “investors” to buy Scottish clubs, leech them of every penny and run them into the ground, leaving creditors holding nothing but worthless paper.

A regulator should be able to scrutinise any club, anytime they want.

They should have access to everything.

Major shareholders should not be able to hide behind PO boxes or corporate fronts.

Sources of funding should be crystal clear and a version of Financial Fair Play introduced.

On top of that – and this would really shake things up – clubs should be able to take complaints and issues and problems to the independent regulator; even the threat of that will make the SFA a better organisation because they fear what independent scrutiny will bring.

This is an area where our club will have to work with the Scottish Government, but I think fan opinion at all clubs would be on the right side of this and I can’t see any reasons why politicians would not want to bring football under some form of control.

Football clubs require licenses to operate.

The SFA has traditionally been trusted to hand out those licences, but their practices and procedures and the regulatory framework itself is hopelessly lax and it’s no longer fit for purpose.

This matter should either be taken out of their hands, or an independent agency allowed to examine the ways in which they do it and whose interests they actually serve.

What’s happened over the Super League is a warning shot across all of our bows.

Football fans in Scotland should be alert to the involvement of corporate interests at our clubs and the damage they can do and the governing bodies should be considering how they can keep those interests from acting in ways that are detrimental to the good of the game.

An independent regulator is nothing for us to fear.

As the SFA is scared of taking certain clubs on even they should welcome it.

An independent regulator wouldn’t be.

English football is almost certainly going to be forced to accept this. It is high time our game did. Indeed, it should have happened a decade ago when it became clear what our association was willing to allow.

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