Celtic Must Urge The SPFL To Hit Back Hard At Ibrox In New Sponsorship Row.

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On 15 June last year, when the SPFL released its self-congratulatory statement on how it had resolved the cinch deal – by basically allowing the Ibrox club to “opt out” at the cost of a full renegotiation – I was appalled that they tried to claim a victory. I wrote a scathing article in which I predicted that our problems weren’t over but just starting.

I quoted Churchill’s famous speech to the House in the immediate aftermath of Chamberlain’s return from Berlin.

“I will begin by saying what everybody would like to ignore or forget but which must nevertheless be stated, namely, that we have sustained a total and unmitigated defeat … £1 was demanded at the pistol’s point. When it was given, £2 were demanded at the pistol’s point. Finally, the dictator consented to take £1 17s. … and the rest in promises of goodwill for the future … And do not suppose that this is the end. This is only the beginning of the reckoning. This is only the first sip, the first foretaste of a bitter cup which will be proffered to us year by year …”

My argument in that piece was that the SPFL could not possibly allow a club to behave this way without sanction.

It was a recipe for disaster.

I wrote the following.

“That club has, once again, bent the governance of Scottish football into a shape of its own choosing, and I cannot find a single thing about that to celebrate. It creates the raw conditions for anarchy … They have jeopardised not just this deal but future deals and there should have been grave consequences for that, because the potential costs to the whole game are enormous … Our game is a lawless banana republic, in a perilous place tonight.”

The breaking news yesterday about the Ibrox club provoking another fight with the SPFL over a soon-to-be renewed sponsorship deal will come as no surprise to anyone who followed the course of the cinch standoff.

It was certainly no surprise to me and I very much doubt that anyone inside Celtic Park didn’t see it coming.

It was, and is, the all-too obvious consequence of weak governance. It’s the all-too obvious consequence of having a leadership which is spineless or which does not recognise that it is supposed to hold the power. There are too many people at the top of our game who are more concerned with covering their own backsides than protecting the clubs.

I know there are people who think that everything I write, I write out of partisanship.

That if I’m attacking Ibrox it’s merely because I’m an embittered Celtic fan.

But for God’s sake, even if that’s true, step back and look at what’s going on here, and tell me I’m wrong.

In truth, I am concerned primarily because I care about our game.

I am concerned because I can see that this does tremendous damage to it.

And Ibrox does not care if Scottish football turns into a wasteland.

They appear oblivious to the obvious fact that it would damage them as much as others, but the difference is they wouldn’t care if some of our clubs went to the wall on the back of it. That club really does believe that it was the victim of some grand conspiracy back in 2012.

This website has been warning of the deadly consequences of the Victim Lie for at least five years.

The media, which has allowed this lie to go unchallenged or which, in some cases, has actively promoted it, has allowed it to grow to the point where those inside Ibrox now believe in their own bullshit, and are hell-bent on avenging sins which were never committed. They genuinely believe – in a classic case of Orwellian doublethink – what they must know to be manifestly untrue.

So if clubs die because of their actions, well they’ll consider that justice.

It is the role of the governing bodies to protect those clubs.

Yet they are leery of picking a fight with Ibrox, and because they are they are virtually guaranteeing damage to every other club, and the clubs themselves should not be willing to tolerate that. The league cannot continue to treat Ibrox with kid gloves.

How many lessons in that do they want? Nobody who saw the way that club behaved over the cinch agreement could have believed for one second that if the league caved that it would not go through something similar again.

If they cave this time, it will not end until the league itself is on its knees, unable to find commercial sponsorship anywhere.

This, in fact, is not the second time Ibrox has done this but the third.

The first time was cinch, but they followed it up with their refusal to join a deal the league signed to promote those preposterous NFT’s. Ibrox cited their own pre-existing agreement with a company in that field … of course, the Ibrox fans who “invested” in that deal were grafted as was everyone else, because this unregulated disaster of a marketplace is something football should steer well clear of.

But that’s not the point. The point is that Ibrox showed its willingness to refuse to join other commercial agreements, and the warning for the governing bodies ought to be obvious in light of that.

Every time they do this, the power the SPFL has to negotiate the next deal becomes less and less. Their opposition would be “factored in” even if it wasn’t obvious at the moment the deals were being discussed.

It shocks me that the SPFL board does not recognise this fact.

The only realistic options they have here are to cave or to fight.

If they cave, then it’s anarchy and there’s nothing to stop two or three other clubs banding together in their own interests to sign deals out-with what they’d get from collective bargaining with the rest of the league and that’s the ball game.

What’s worse is that it could very easily inspire Celtic to do the same. I don’t think it will, but if our club sees collective bargaining starting to collapse then we’re perfectly entitled to explore our options.

Eventually, every one of the dominos is going to fall until even the TV contracts are being negotiated by individual clubs and if that sends to the wall clubs which can’t get good agreements then that’s just the way it’ll go.

Collective bargaining and collective responsibility is supposed to assure that it never comes to that, that we’re all in this together.

But Ibrox does not believe that applies.

They don’t think we are all in this together and they have no intention of acting any other way.

That means that caving into them isn’t an option because that’s a downhill slope which gets steeper as it goes until it’s nothing but a sheer drop from a great height, and that’s the path we’re on right now.

Fighting means getting tough, and the first step should be threatening to with-hold prize money.

The second step shouldn’t entail a threat at all, but a robust and decisive action and that should be to kick Ibrox’s representatives off any SPFL board or committee they sit on and bar them from doing so for a period of three years.

That, at least, would protect the integrity of commercial contracts and protect their sensitivity.

That, at least, would send a very clear message about clubs which seek to wilfully damage the league.

And this is the action Celtic should be urging.

Not supporting, but urging.

If no-one else wants to do it we should be the club which proposes those measures, on behalf of the rest of the league. It will look like doing in the opposition, but the opposition is now running counter to the best interests of every other club in a way Celtic never has.

If other clubs want to back Ibrox, let them stand by their side.

Maybe I’m wrong.

Maybe there is a great deal of support out there for their sabotage … but I suspect Celtic would be pushing on an open door.

The effort to punish them has to be led and Celtic is the only organisation which can muster the support, and which is sufficiently strong not to care what puny threats Ibrox makes in response.

Let them holler and whine, anything to put a stop to this nonsense and to draw the line which should have been drawn on 15 June last year. That it wasn’t drawn, and that punishment wasn’t handed out, is how we got here, so it’s too late to change that.

We have to stop what’s coming next.

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  • Scouse bhoy says:

    Unless there is a rangers club in the top flight there will be civil social unrest the words not of a fanzine but the so called head of the sfa. I doubt very much anything will change

    • Johnny Green says:

      Social unrest is part of their tradition, and when they bought the history of the deid club they went right on carrying on those traditions. That was evident at the Cup Final against Hibs and twice in George Square. Social unrest is part of their being, they get away with it and so they will continue doing it.

  • Joseph Mcaleer says:

    Are the Ibrox club going bust.and don’t care who goes with them.

  • John A says:

    Hateful #££##££#@s

  • Johnny Green says:

    The SPFL hierarchy need to grow a pair, but……………

  • Jamie Ferguson says:

    Clubs should contact uefa and tell them they have no confidence in the sfa and the way they run Scottish football citing the 5 way agreement which was drawn up allowing a new club to be gifted titles from a liquidated club and then get Doncaster out of the spfl.

  • paul obrien says:

    As long as Celtic park is full every week PL isn’t interested

  • Francis says:

    What a fantastic article,I’ve said all along this has to do with the 5 way agreement that they can run roughshod over the SPL

  • George Kerr says:

    Excellent article. That they think it’s their perogative to hold everybody to ransom. Truth is in fact FEAR. They know the the Celtic are so fast and far above them, they know they don’t have the wherewithall to challenge Celtic. Their action is cowardly and shows they are running scared.

  • Johnno says:

    So a total shower of shit want to dictate the whole potential income streams for clubs regarding sponsorship?
    Won’t comply by any terms yet still expect there cut of the pie?
    All the while using the most pathetic of excuses to suit the most scummy club known to mankind.
    Just kick such scum out of the SPFL it’s as simple and easy as easy as that.
    Any other resolution is nothing more than allowing the lunatics to run the asylum.
    The scum still have a chip on there shoulders over there liquidation and still want to blame every other club for it happening.
    Time for everyone else to tell the scummy bastards just to fuck off

  • lordmac says:

    looks like the SFA are got at, they might be frightend just jike the jounalist, and some
    in the celtic board afraid they might get a horses head should they strir up trouble

  • Binkabhoy says:

    I’m an avid reader of this blog and a hog supporter of you James, which is why I feel so compelled to point out the use of the term ‘anarchy’ in this article – especially the second time. Surprised more than anything given all the previous content on this site. I hope this criticism (another often misrepresented word these days) is accepted as constructive and in the spirit with which it is intended 🙂

    That apart, keep up the excellent work – thanks

  • lordmac says:

    celtic have men in the spfl commitee, and it is these same guys, that should be made to stand up for scottish football and put there heads above the parapit wall, and should they not do it then this must be shown as a fear of things in scottish football.they dont want to talk about but ill bet it you force them to tell, they would all desert a sinking ship faster than say

  • John S says:

    They (RIFC) see themselves as separate from other clubs, yet they can’t compete in any arena; therefore it’s ‘Scorched Earth’ from here on in.

  • SSMPM says:

    IMO as a result of EUFA’s intervention sevco are peering over a financial cliff edge in their attempts to stay with us. They’re playing Russian roulette with the SFA prepared at every turn to shaft them for financial breaks. The SFA are shitting their breeks at the mess of this and the long history of dodginess the huns are willing to expose if they fall.

  • Eldraco says:

    I see the daily record is leading the fight against Ibrox to prevent this from happening. Excellent.

    This is universe #4987639.

    I will just get my hat and coat.

  • DixieD says:

    The issue is that rangers used the SPFLs own ‘conflict of interest’ rules against them. They were able to weasel out of the Cinch deal because they had a contract with Parks of Hamilton for a similar service. They will be able to get out of the Grants Vodka deal because they have a similar deal with a drinks company. Until the SPFL closes the conflict of interest ‘loophole’ then that club will be free to use it whenever they don’t like a deal. They were able to produced a strong legal case because of the wording in the SPFL rules, and thats why the SPFL threw in the towel on the Cinch deal. It was a case they were always going to lose.

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