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.