The news last night that Celtic has demanded a sit-down with the SFA over VAR is obviously very positive and it’s exactly what we all wanted them to do. The other side were setting the terms of the debate, and getting their pitiful excuses into the mainstream media. They had hoped to twist the whole discussion their own way.
Then Celtic made it known that they aren’t buying any of it. We are going to demand answers. We are going to ask for detailed explanations as to what the Hell is actually going on here. The club knows this reeks. The club watches what we do.
Celtic has weapons in this which aren’t being utilised to their fullest advantage, and this is where my first criticism comes in. This is another version of doing things quietly behind the scenes. We should, in my view, have done more than leak our demand to some tame hacks. We should have made it public ourselves, on our own website.
Secondly, we should have put, front and centre, a list of the things we are explicitly concerned about. Details. Specific events and decisions. Let these people try and justify them when we actually confront them with our own view on what really concerns us.
Third, we could go further than just demand a meeting.
We know some of the major points which have to be tackled, included the need for refs to declare their allegiances as they do in England. As I pointed out earlier, Andy Walker flapped and flopped like a fish on a line when challenged on this specific subject. It’s time the debate was had properly, and in public, and Celtic has the power to put it there and for reasons passing understanding we haven’t.
But our biggest weapon is in relation to VAR itself. VAR is not a cheap bit of tech.
It has to be paid for, and if our club is unhappy with the way it has been implemented we should tell the SFA that we’re considering withdrawing our support in the form of our money. Right now we’re being screwed over by a technology we’re paying for, and if we tell them we’ve lost confidence in the whole project we can probably end this farce early.
For the record, I remain in favour of VAR and in some ways it has created exactly the sort of debate that a lot of us wanted it to. We might allow our rivals and enemies to get their excuses out for these decisions, but we’re also forcing them to come up with them and you cannot have failed to notice that they are becoming ever more preposterous.
These people are making the game in Scotland a laughing stock. Some of the explanations being offered up for these decisions defy belief. This latest nonsense, this IFAB garbage, this barmy interpretation which is being offered for why it’s not a penalty, is transparent guff and everyone watching knows it full well.
These people can bend the meaning of words until the elastic snaps, but in the end they aren’t fooling anybody who has ever watched the game and knows that there is no league in Europe where that is not a penalty kick.
Celtic knows it too, and whatever the reluctance inside our club to take this on in a more aggressive manner is, those inside Parkhead are also aware that if we don’t act one of these decisions is going to cost us big time and so I do believe that we’ve made our anger clear behind the scenes, and that we’re about to do so again.
But we do need to consider going much, much further. We have cards to play and we should leave the SFA in no doubt that this is the last time we’ll handle this in a low-key way. We should make it clear that if we have to do this again that it’ll be very public and very embarrassing for them and designed to ram through the changes they don’t want to make.
Obviously, we should be pushing for those changes anyway, but that’s another story.