The SFA Is Mad To Want To Change Club Ownership Rules And Celtic Should Want No Part In It.

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Last week, I read that the SFA is considering changing the ownership rules which prevent clubs in Scotland becoming part of a “group” which has several different teams in their stable.

Just what Scottish football needs right now.

More sleight of hand ownership, with some of our sides effectively turned into franchise teams for organisations which want a “foothold” in other various associations.

I am aghast that they are even considering this.

One of the only things we’ve done right since the Ibrox 2012 fiasco is to keep rules like this in place. We didn’t introduce FFP. We didn’t tighten up fit and proper persons, but at least this guardrail was not removed. Now they want to remove it, and I am frankly shocked about it and by how little coverage its got.

UEFA’s decision to allow multi-club ownership models to thrive is one of the most corrupt decisions in the history of European sport. Pure and simple. And it was done to facilitate a handful of massive clubs who were going to do it come what may and disguise it through various subsidiaries and other means.

How the two RB clubs were allowed to compete in the same competition some years back, far less the same group when we drew them, will forever be a disgrace. The claim that that their corporate structures are different when both are owned by the same organisation is risible and insulting to the intelligence of everyone who watches the game.

Yesterday, I wrote a lengthy piece on how as a Celtic fan I want some sort of challenge to our club. But this will not accomplish that.

It will increase the possibilities for corruption tenfold. It will turn SPFL clubs with proud histories into nothing but feeder teams for other sides. You only have to look at the “quality” of the organisations already linked with Scottish clubs to see how poor the fare on offer actually is, and the articles in question name one of them.

Pacific Media Group are an organisation you’ve probably never heard of. But they own a club in England, in Germany, in France, in Denmark, in Switzerland, in Belgium and in Holland and now they want a team in Scotland.

They’ve looked at Dundee, Livingston and Thistle. They shouldn’t be allowed to own the clubs they do own far less buy one here.

Their fans might kid themselves that they will benefit from such an arrangement. How exactly will that come about? Access to players?

In case it’s not obvious, there are much higher profile leagues in their stable than the SPFL and so the idea that players will be moving from the Bundesliga on loan to Dundee when they could be farmed out to Holland or France is ridiculous. More likely it will be youth players from Denmark and Switzerland who they can’t place at bigger clubs … and that’s going to make Dundee a better team? I don’t think so.

Who are these clubs which they own anyway? Stand by and prepare to be dazzled … by the sheer mediocrity of it.

The English club is Barnsley. The German team is Kaiserslautern. AS Nancy are the French club. KV Oostende are the Belgian club, recently relegated. Esbjerg are the Danes. Thun are the team from Switzerland. Den Bosch are the Dutch side they own … this is hardly the cream of European football and I see no actual gain for any of the clubs involved.

The organisation which owns them all isn’t going to invest in every single one of them, and certainly not to the same degree. As with everything in the game, spread your nostrils and smell for the money.

Forget The Daily Record’s idea of what might be in it for the clubs – they can’t mention a single net positive, unsurprisingly – ask yourself what’s in it for the owners, because that’s the only question that matters worth a damn.

What would you need to invest in those clubs to see a return? What would a return look like in the SPFL? This isn’t something the SFA should be going near.

Although the Red Bulls clubs had the fancy lawyers and the corporate structure was opaque enough to satisfy UEFA, many of these companies won’t bother with that stuff … they’ll just prioritise which of the clubs they want to play in Europe … what do you think that means if your club is one of those they don’t want to see reach that rung of the ladder?

The number of things wrong with this idea … God almighty. Whose interests are really being served here in the SFA pushing for this rule change?

Some will think there is a chance for Celtic to benefit from this, because it would allow us to buy a small club in another country, but I actually fail to see what gains there would be in doing that which we don’t already get in our alliances and partnerships which are in effect now.

There’s a story today about how Brendan Rodgers has taken part in discussions about our partnership with the Austrian club Admira Wacker … formalising that into a situation where we effectively own them would give us no benefit beyond that which we currently get.

The SFA should be staying miles away from this.

It’s ridiculous that they are going to change the rules to allow our clubs to be snapped up by the kind of organisations which want to stockpile teams like some of them stockpile other tangible assets … and as usual the media, which has given this not one bit of critical thought, thinks there’s something good here.

If I were a fan of the three clubs mentioned in these reports – Livingston, Dundee and Thistle – I would be very, very concerned about the possibility that 50.1% of the shareholding might be snapped up by people such as these.

It’s not going to work out well and the SFA should be on the end of some serious stick for moving in this direction.

Our game has enough trouble as it is.

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  • Melvin Udall says:

    Hi James,

    I think at the forefront of their (Sevco and SFA) minds is the hope of some billionaire club partnership rescue for the skint club across the city.

    They are getting even more desperate now and the new Financial Sustainability Regulations really put a spanner in their “we can spend what we want” mantra.

    They know their options are limited in what they might be able to do to catch us and this could be their final throw of the dice.

    So far to appease their more looney fans they have…

    – changed board members
    – ripped up their previous scouting/recruitment model
    – changed managers from the one that got them to the Euro final and again since
    – spent every penny they could afford on new players
    – sold any sellable assets
    – fleeced their fans at every turn with some of their MyGers and other ‘initiatives’
    – tried flogging the club to US and Middle Eastern investors with absolutely no joy whatsoever

    They are no better off for any of it and have run out of options on how to catch us in the short-term (which is how they view everything).

    This is really all they have left.

    Oh! Unless they can win the Euromillions jackpot.



  • Johnno says:

    As a club James, we still have to be prepared for the ever changing footballing market.
    We already know the effect sports science is having upon today’s game.
    It’s no real surprise that 3 Scottish clubs involved in European matches midweek, all turn in sub standard performances come the weekend?
    For years now, managers have moaned about the overloaded footballing fixtures, with the reduced recovery time for players.
    Yet it has been increased, due to the amount of international breaks, and stands to even increase even further with the CL next season?
    We aren’t to far away from actually having to operate with nearly 2 team’s having to match the demands?
    The demands still exist within a paying public, yet also a robotic approach still exists, with the top players expected to produce game after game, without to much recovery time allowed either.
    With the level of corruption that exists within Scottish football and still growing, what will be the solutions with such an anti celtic agenda in play?
    Already last week, EPL team’s played weaker team’s in European games, when the matches within there own domestic leagues would be classed as bigger to themselves?
    No such attitude could be applied to Scottish teams as of yet and possibly never.
    In turn that magical fixture computer will be put to use, as already this season, with the games thrown up, alongside the CL dates?
    Coincidence, my hole?
    The only solution for ourselves is with bigger and better squads to match the demands of the club imo.
    Yet in return, shite clubs are preparing themselves to become feeder club’s due to the lack of investment within the Scottish game.
    Also unable to produce a product worthy of landing a lucrative TV deal either.
    Maybe in the longer run and bigger picture there may be a break away league, that would involve ourselves having to play a 2nd team within the Scottish set up.
    Would possibly still be in favour, if indeed such plans were potentially in the making?
    Regardless we still have to prepare for the changes awaiting than we are currently doing so within the present imo, and couldn’t give 2 hoots about any other club within this corrupt league and there plan’s either.

  • Bob (original) says:

    And it’s at times like this that you expect the governing body to deal professionally

    with the risks to the Scottish game.

    …and then you remember that Maxwell ‘was given the job’ of SFA CEO! 🙁

  • Darragh O'Shaughnessy says:

    I’m all for multi club ownership, it’ll be a magnificent boost to the hoops.

  • b struthers says:

    since sevco returned to spfl in 2016 they have only conceded 3 penalties in the league at poundland 29/4/17 v Celtic 23/9/18 v st johnstone 14/9/19 v livingston [ 4years ago ]

  • Torky58 says:

    When I read about this idea yesterday James it immediately struck me that it’s to try and get someone to put money into Ibrox as it’s the only way they’ll be able to compete again. Call me a cynic but it was the first thing that popped into my head and I was going to ask you what your thoughts on it were. I agree with you it’s madness to go down this road as our clubs will gain nothing and lose any identity they already had within their community and fan base. If I was a supporter of any other club in the league I wouldn’t touch any of this with a bargepole.

  • SSMPM says:

    I don’t think this should be allowed at all. It might sound like a great idea in our case to put players out for 1st team experience they’re not getting here particularly in relation to project development players. However if we were allowed to purchase a 3rd div team in Austria I don’t think we’d overspend on it unlike some richer Saudia backed clubs.
    Sure we might be able to improve those players, we might even get the club promoted and if it’s in a better standard league well we or another club from overseas or in this country might even move job lot under that club’s registration.
    It might improve our league standard if say Juventus bought Edinburgh City, whacked loads of good players in, got them promoted and then moved here. Onk onk

  • Joe McLaughlin says:

    They hope one of them will invest shed loads of money into their favoured team. A rather obvious ploy.

  • Seppington says:

    That this is even being considered means one thing; blazers have been bribed. Typical of the corrupt “authorities” in this shithole country.

  • Fun time frankie says:

    James,one man on his OWN changed the transfer rules ,get as a club OUR Tory yellow bellied board sit and do absolutely SFA get them all. out the door now ,or as a club of so called principles we should be absolutely ashamed of ourselves for letting eufa dictate to the us.theirs only ONE MARC BOSMAN.

  • Clachnacuddin and the Hoops says:

    That the media thinks that this is a good idea can mean only one thing…

    We all know what that is –

    It’s to benefit Sevco like everything else in Scotland has to do…

    They might wanna take over a small club in England in financial trouble and do a switcharoo to get themselves in there –

    Make NO MISTAKE – This is for the BENEFIT OF SEVCO !

  • Eldraco says:

    This news also lets in the possibility of city group and nary a word from Any club CEO or chairman about how bad this possibility could be.

    Surely not the unseen hand of lawell is in this somewhere saving Scottish football from that rainy day.

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