Like so many debates in Scottish football, the one over officials continues to be had mostly on the fringes, because our media is terrified to touch it. The continued cowardice of the mainstream press holds back this game in so many, many ways but this is one of the worst because if they were on their game this would have been fixed years ago.
This debate draws the nutters and Neanderthals like a discarded ice cream draws flies.
Some of them, like McCoist flapping his trap tonight at a kid just in the country because the boy expressed his view that when an outfield player in his own penalty box virtually throws the ball into the air like he’s playing netball that it looks like a penalty. These jokers are better left out of the discussion, their own prejudice is so raw that involving them in it serves no function at all.
I’m going to start by putting my cards on the table here, and I think it’s important to do that. I think that some of the officials in Scotland are biased. I don’t think some of them should be allowed near our games.
I believe John Beaton getting photographed drinking in a Sevco supporter’s bar was the moment that should have ended any prospect of his ever officiating at another Celtic game, or one involving their club either.
The reason I believe there is bias is not just that I’m fairly certain that I’ve watched decisions which are so bad that they can’t be mere mistakes but for a much more prosaic reason; it’s just not credible that there isn’t.
When you strip this argument of all the artifice we’re essentially being asked to believe either that refs don’t have football allegiances in Scotland – ridiculous, absolutely ridiculous – or that those don’t translate into bias.
What do you know about human nature? What do any of us know about it?
Let’s be clear here; we’re not saying that refs in Scotland are evil. They’re human, and we’re only kidding ourselves on if we pretend that this stuff does not affect them. It does not take you long, if you look around, to see how surrounded we are by all this.
We have a media where bias is everywhere and the reek of it is obvious.
It’s gotten so bad at the BBC that the running joke is that the biggest pre-requisite to getting a gig at Sports Scotland is having had some sort of prior connection to Ibrox.
Hell we have – as I’ll talk about later – a legal profession which had amongst it people who were so outraged by what they saw happening to their club that they broke the laws they were meant to uphold in order to get revenge. Not justice. Revenge.
The tax-payer is still counting the cost of that.
One of the men involved in the Charles Green scandal initially fled this country prior to having his collar felt because he said he did not stand a chance of a fair hearing when the police themselves were all Ibrox fans and determined to put blood on the walls.
Imran Ahmed was called paranoid too. Every word he said has been vindicated and the CPS has apologised for ever having issued a warrant for him in the first place. Who was paranoid there?
The SFA either conspired with Rangers during the EBT era or its own chairman with-held information from the rest of the organisation about the side contracts. He was never brought to book for it. We know that what went on up at Hampden during that time is the biggest scandal in the history of Scottish sport, dwarfing even what was happening at Ibrox itself.
We have proved bias against us at the SFA, in a court of law, over Farry and Cadete. In my opinion we should have taken the SFA to CAS over their handling of the EBT scandal and ousted a second President of the Association.
The head of referees was sacked over the sending of a sectarian email in the same month that we proved an official had lied to us, which sparked a strike for which we somehow got the blame. Which creates a second level of prejudice against our club above and beyond even that which football allegiance conveys.
Ibrox has long believed that the SNP Government and the SNP run Glasgow City Council is loaded down with people who hate their club.
When their new head of communications was announced yesterday the media dutifully reported that he was an ex-Labour MSP, vocally unionist and just for giggles that he was the guy they had hired to do PR in their “war” against the perceived biases of the political class. We have a media which seems to accept that as fact.
See, I’m not just some loony down in a basement banging out conspiracy theories. I believe some refs are biased because this is Scotland and we’re surrounded by this stuff and to expect any of us to swallow the notion that refs are immune to it is like asking someone to swallow a Ford Fiesta. Let’s not pretend to be stupid. Let’s not pretend this isn’t a real debate.
Last night I wrote a piece about the refereeing reform most of us want to see, the same policy they have in over a dozen other national associations in Europe.
One Celtic fan on Twitter says that he has written to 20 of them and asked for their views on this and 18 confirm that the policy of having refs declare their allegiances in effect there.
A low IQ joker on an Ibrox fan-site had a melt down over that this morning although I bet if you asked him for the reasons why he couldn’t tell you. His clownish suggestion that we wouldn’t believe refereeing declarations anyway shows up the level of his attempt to deflect. Refs who lied would have to take care not to get caught or their careers would be over.
But real attention would be paid to this stuff, and these people would be held to account.
These people aren’t even intelligent enough to know what they’re pissed off about except that our argument has coherence and an unassailable logic to it. The reform we are asking for is actually pretty modest and would finally bring us into compliance with the rest of football and I cannot understand why it hasn’t already been done.
What exactly are those on the other side of this debate afraid of? What is their objection to what it is, after all, a rule which is replicated in every corner of the game, and which UEFA and FIFA both treat with the utmost seriousness?
We’re right about this, about the need to bring this reform in, even if we’re wrong – which we aren’t – about some refs being biased and that influencing games.
Because even if that’s not happening right now, it has happened and it will happen again because in not passing a regulation like that, and in not allowing scrutiny of refs, we’ve allowed the very conditions in which biased officials would dearly love to operate, not to mention leaving the door opened for organised crime to gain a toehold in the game.
Refs who are biased are also not likely to resist entreaties to be bent as well, and it should be blatantly obvious that in not scrutinising decisions and in not punishing referees who rack up a series of these “controversies” that we’re offering up some very large hostages to fortune here.
So yeah, we’re on the right side of this and don’t let anyone say different.
In fact, when you look at the goon squad they are rolling out to push their pitiful case, which Ange trashed today – Stuart Dougal, by Christ – you can see how desperate they are.
There is bias in Scottish football and our solution might not eradicate it but by God we have something which is more than the cowards who pretend nothing’s wrong.