The news today that the Sky deal is on the brink of collapsing is not a surprise to anyone but the most ignorant observer of the Scottish game. How can it be? This is a danger which has been telegraphed for months.
It would be amazing if anyone didn’t see it coming.
Ibrox is the problem here, of course, as we always knew that they might be, but that they have somehow managed to rope Livingston in on their wee scam is even more worrying. I don’t know what objective Livingston have, but I do know this; in a system which needs eleven votes to pass, when you have that obstructionist one vote you are in trouble.
Once Ibrox establishes itself as a certain “no” vote then every other club has to vote yes for a major piece of policy to be enacted … and it only takes one of those clubs, which wants something for itself, to threaten to side with Ibrox and suddenly deals are being re-written and people are scrambling to get agreements over the line.
Is that what happened here? We don’t know, but it wouldn’t surprise me in the least. The system, like most voting systems, are built with a certain amount of trust in mind. Nobody thought that one day you might end up with one club which sought to obstruct everything for its own sake, and thus encourage anarchy and mayhem. But here we are.
It’s not that nobody saw this coming; indeed, the Celtic sites were talking about it for long enough and viewed it as a stonewall certainty. It’s just that nobody in the governing bodies appeared to see it or, at least, take it terribly seriously.
How stupid are these people? Every time Ibrox has been allowed an inch they’ve taken a mile; this is a consistent thread that runs right through their recent history and it is an utter absurdity that the SPFL allowed them the leeway they did when they made a pretty serious attempt to pull down the entire executive of that organisation.
We warned at the time that they needed to act robustly against the board over there for bringing the game into disrepute. They didn’t do it. The cinch disgrace followed and we argued that the SPFL should deal with that robustly or invite the next disgrace.
And along came the next disgrace, and now it threatens Scottish football’s commercial deal with Sky. It doesn’t matter if you agree with that deal or not, or if you think it represents best value or not, but if Sky decides they’ve had enough of the silliness and walks away do not count on us getting a better offer from elsewhere when Ibrox can obstruct it for their own ends.
It is either unbelievable stupidity that has gotten us here or it is utter cowardice. Whichever one it is, this deal is clearly in real trouble, and it’s trouble that could have been avoided had those in charge of our game acted like it when they had they chance.
Now they are victims of events, waiting to see which way the wind blows.