You do not have to look far or wide to find example of why this blog and others consider the club that plays out of Ibrox to be essentially lawless and self-serving, believing that the rules and obligations which bind the sport together do not apply to them. It’s in everything they do at the moment, from sponsorship deals to ticketing arrangements.
The governing bodies have had multiple opportunities to put a stop to all this, and their failure to do it has led to the Ibrox club growing bolder and ever more aggressive.
The governing bodies aren’t the only ones who have consistently caved into Ibrox either.
Today Rishi Sunak is in town, and he and his press team tried to bully the Scottish media.
Instead of allowing full and unfettered access, his people announced that they would allow only six journalists into the room, hand-picked from right-wing papers who they thought they could rely on to promote the government in the right manner.
All six of them – every single one – categorically refused to enter the room without their colleagues from other outlets. That’s an incredible show of unity and resolve.
When the Tory press officer then tried to impose another form of discipline, by insisting that the broadcast media not ask any questions in relation to the resignation of the BBC Director General for his role in one of Boris Johnson’s many revolving scandals, both they and their print colleagues declared that they would not play ball.
Sunak’s press team relented. They agreed to the press conference on the media’s terms. That is how you hold people to account. Every journalist involved deserves the highest praise, and so do the political editors at those papers and broadcast companies.
The contrast between what the political media has done here and what their sports-desk colleagues allowed to happen last season is stark and unmistakable. When Ibrox announced that only those outlets which were willing to pay would be allowed at their press conferences, every single one of our mainstream titles should have flatly refused to.
Some of them did not. Some of them wrote cheques.
So too did some of the broadcast outlets.
They shamed themselves. They left their objectivity at the door.
The Ibrox club gleefully referred to them as “official club partners” which is exactly what they were.
A lot of companies need to hire PR firms to even get in the papers.
This is honestly the one and only time I have ever heard of an organisation charging the media for access … and some of them were more than happy to pay for it. It’s dire. It’s disgraceful.
The political media showed them up today, and cast a dark light on the cosy relationships some of our titles here have with that club. That many are willing to compromise their own integrity in this way – and thus of their profession, at such a critical time – should appal those in its ranks who think that this stuff matters. It does.