A Sport Without Integrity

JS31156726There are two stories in the sports pages today which should infuriate the fans of every football club in Scotland. The first concerns statements by Stewart Regan.

The second is an article by Graham Spiers. Both concern the future of Sevco. Both tie their destiny to that of Scottish football itself.

When is our game going to move past the toxic notion that one football club is essential to our national sport? When are the hacks going to get a grip, grow some balls and do their jobs, instead of pandering and crawling and fawning?

Spiers and Regan’s words are so similar you could swear that they were spoon-fed to them by a PR company.

It would not surprise me one bit, as neither man emerges from recent events with an ounce of credit.

In Spiers article, and Regan’s statement, I can see the beginnings of a “line” being put out; that Scottish football needs Sevco and that Sevco needs stability and that ergo it is in the best interests of Scottish football to suspend rules, bend laws and piss all over the idea of any integrity in the sport so that Dave King can be swiftly ushered up the Asbestos Staircase and into the chairman’s seat.

Spiers believes this is inevitable. He can see the SFA “wilting” and “waiving him through.”

He thinks this will result in people heaping “scorn” on the governing body … but that this will amount to little more than “one more bruise to the face.”

Weasel words from a coward, if you ask me. Are he and his colleagues really not going to ask hard questions of these people and finally start demanding reform and transparency where it really matters … at the SFA itself?

His next words echo Regan’s and are what makes me think the two are singing from one song book.

“If Dave King is waved through, and is free at last to set to work on Rangers, then a point will be reached to let him get on with that. Rangers have suffered enough. Some kind of rebuilding of the club must take place.”

I’ll leave you with those words for a moment, and examine what Regan said.

“For Rangers fans in particular and for all of those that are watching what’s gone on over the last three years, I think it’s important that there is stability and harmony, and that whoever leads Rangers can actually get on with doing that and try and get the club back into some kind of positive shape again.”

First, it is not for Stewart Regan or anyone else at the SFA to concern themselves with whether a member club is being run well or not. It is not his job or anyone else at the SFA’s job to bring, or promote, “stability and harmony” at a member club. What happens within member clubs is only his business, and that of his association, when that affects other clubs in the game.

Sevco can swirl down the tubes ten more times and Scottish football will get on just fine.

The club can continue to flounder and flail about like a fish on a hook, and no-one outside Ibrox will give a damn.

Where other clubs ought to be concerned is when people like Regan, and Spiers, promote this arrant nonsense that Scottish football’s future depends on a solution here which the Sevco fans can get behind. It is a thoroughly dishonest reading of the landscape and the more they push it they more they are telling sponsors and advertisers that investing in the game is a waste of time until there is a club calling itself Rangers in a prominent SPL position.

This is the fictional narrative from which Scottish football’s governing bodies – and its media – seems incapable of breaking free.

Everyone is tired of it, except those pushing this fraudulent line. Even if it was not insulting to every other club in the land, this idea drags the commercial viability of Scottish football into the gutter and there is not another team in the land which does not suffer as a consequence of this.

The notion is clearly dangerous to the integrity of the sport and it is commercially devastating at the same time, but they seem addicted to it.

To return to Spiers comments, let’s, for one minute, examine this “Rangers have suffered enough” cobblers.

The suffering at first Rangers and then Sevco was caused in one place only; Ibrox.It was caused by people inside the walls.

That club was not struck by lightning or suffered a calamitous disaster over which it had no control. Rangers was brought down by an aversion to living within their means. Sevco has suffered the same fate for the the same reason and one other … that the SFA, the media and the club’s own fans bought into every con artist and their “get a bridge for a tenner” narrative out there.

The fans wanted to believe in fairytales. The media was happy to sell them. The SFA didn’t want to examine them.

Is it a shock that dodgy geezers with shady deals came along willing to exploit that?

If Dave King is “waived through”, merely for the good of the club he wants to control, then Scottish football will have traded away another piece of its soul and another chunk of its credibility and legitimacy, and for what?

To allow a convicted fraudster to execute a highly dubious scheme in an effort to turn around a basket case of a football club that has caused our sport nothing but embarrassment.

The doors will be open wide to the next bunch of chancers who are doubtless waiting in the wings as I write this.

Dave King is the walking encapsulation for why “fit and proper person” regulations exist.

Let’s not forget that Sevco Rangers emerged from the wreckage of a liquidation brought about by with-holding tax revenues. There is no way in the world that King should be allowed near any club in the sport far less this one.

What is the rationale for allowing this? Has King suddenly become a reformed character?

No, of course he hasn’t.His entire PR campaign has been characterised by spin, bluff, bluster and bullying. He has ignored legal precedents and regulations both footballing and otherwise.

He and his allies are currently pushing this line that the South African government allows him to run businesses and so UK authorities should too, but this is a ludicrous argument with more holes in it than Swiss Cheese.

For God sakes, the US executes minors whereas we don’t execute anyone. Laws are applied differently, punishments are handed out according to national jurisdictions and so what follows in one place has no bearing on what happens elsewhere.

His wee letter from SARS has precisely no legal weight in the UK, and that’s the bottom line.

Here, our laws are perfectly clear; he is currently banned from holding a directorship.

Likewise Paul Murray, his “nominated person” to be chairman. Murray’s own legal position vis-à-vis stock exchange, and SFA, rules is equally clear cut, and anyway, the very notion of a guy with 15% of the shares deciding who should be sitting in the chairman’s seat is every bit as ridiculous as if it were Mike Ashley making that decision with his 9%.

One other thing; King making statements like this brings him into conflict with those same regulations by acting as a “shadow director”, something which appears to have slipped his mind.

Of course, the SFA punishment for “undue influence” was established only this week; a fine of £7000.

But that was for a billionaire, which King isn’t. So perhaps a £1000 slap on the wrist in his case.

The way Scottish football is run is disgraceful. It is well on the way to being a sport without integrity.

When it reaches that level, it will quickly find itself a sport without fans.

I am sick of this. Aren’t you?

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James Forrest

James Forrest is a writer and blogger from Glasgow, and the author of two books, Fragments and Believers, which are available on Amazon.

16 thoughts on “A Sport Without Integrity

  • 5 March, 2015 at 9:30 pm

    Every single Scottish team should resign its SFA membership and start again without them. The SFA is as poisonous to the game as the club they seem to represent…

  • 5 March, 2015 at 9:33 pm

    2 years ago the fans organised a day when they ALL went to football to show their support, now they should all boycott ALL SPFL games to show disgust at the latest 3 wise monkeys syndrome. \”hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil\”.

  • 5 March, 2015 at 9:52 pm

    The SFA has been run without integrity for as long as I can remember.I would hope Peter Lawell has something to say about this if it comes to fruition….Another great article James. HH

  • 5 March, 2015 at 9:56 pm

    They have no shame and are killing the game in Scotland.

  • 5 March, 2015 at 10:08 pm

    Having a boycot is the only way to get rid of the toxic SFA.
    Are the fans willing to do it that is the big question,if they don’t Scottish football is finished.

  • 5 March, 2015 at 10:09 pm

    Great article, but it feels like the MSM are offering opinions base on their own tribalism.
    Regan like Doncaster are commercial whores, who see armageddon in the facts that we have no sponsorshop because the supposed jewel in the Scottish crown (the Old F–m) are not plying in the same league, never mind the same universe.
    They might cringe at what is happening in their name, but they think they see the bigger picture.
    If the team out of Govan cannot get promotion and complete the journey; they will make sure they facilitate a league reconstruction based on commercial deals that have been on hold for 3 years.
    Take that coin and the game is well and truly up.
    Sick to the back teeth of it all

  • 5 March, 2015 at 10:13 pm

    Question,what actually does,the three stooges do on the sixth floor at the SFA.The other Question is how do we get rid of them…………………….ASAP.

  • 5 March, 2015 at 10:14 pm

    James why cant someone organise a petition for all
    fans of all clubs to sign, to out the present corrupt

  • 5 March, 2015 at 10:21 pm

    Fans need to stop talking on forums about this and get a movement together ,fans of all clubs with one voice or we can continue down the road of ruin

  • 5 March, 2015 at 10:57 pm

    Great article James, if Glib and Shamless is allowed to continue and is passed by the Scottish Football Governing body then all the fans of the other Scottish clubs should make the same threat that was made in 2012 when they tried to place them in the SPL and then Div 1.
    Speirs has been at it for months now, he also talked of Rangers being currently in ” purdah”, which implies that everything on their part would soon be back to normal.

    We need to get rid of the two Cancers in the Scottish game; Sevco and the Compliant Scottish Sports media!

  • 5 March, 2015 at 11:03 pm

    BOYCOTT . . .

  • 5 March, 2015 at 11:43 pm

    Im defo up for a bhoycot to get rid of this shower of incompitent corrupt fools, infact im up for withdrawing from the Scottish league and hosting Gaelic games at Celtic park.

  • 6 March, 2015 at 12:16 am

    We are being spoonfed a crock of shit here and, as ever, it is all being done to suit what is regarded as “the establishment club”. And, like all shit, it stinks.

  • 6 March, 2015 at 1:41 am

    Excellent article. 50+ years of supporting Scottish football and now considering this to be my last season. Had enough. Totally agree with a mass boycott of all games. That may be the only what to affect change.

  • 6 March, 2015 at 9:46 pm

    Great article. How on earth have Regan & Doncaster managed to hold on to their jobs. Seems like the only way to sort this out is for us all to refuse to turn up until they fall on their swords.

  • 7 March, 2015 at 2:42 am

    Spot on. Compare the pinnacle of sponsorship in sport and how they run their ship…. Formula 1 and Bernie Ecclestone. He’s not my favorite person but if any team falls foul of his rules they are out, no questions asked, OUT.

    A couple of F1 teams found themselves in a position that they might struggle to finish the season, Bernie’s solution, YOUR OUT. Now why would he be so pedantic and dogmatic? It ties in with everything he wants to protect and promote.

    Every multinational out there wants a piece of the F1 pie and they will pay the equivalent of a small countries GDP to get it. Success by association, and Bernie will let nothing or no one mess with that.

    Compare this to the SFA/SPFL and we see why they can’t secure a sponsor. The reputational risk is too high. What company would want to be associated with a league that accommodates Sevco and all the charlatans it attracts? Never mind the fallout to come from all the fraud charges against the many people associated with this most TOXIC of clubs. ( If the case against Duff and Duffer is proved the whole IPO process could be in doubt.)

    A simple question; If you were in charge of the marketing budget/department of a large and respected company would you be prepared to invest in Scottish football with governing bodies that don’t know or wont uphold their own rules? Where they will allow any convicted fraudster to wander down Administration Drive?

    If King or Whyte or Easdale or Modi or Rivsi or any of the other convicts made an approach to a Formula 1 team Bernie would blow them out of the water quicker than their pit crew could change a set of tires.

    As long as we have CLOWNS like REGAN, OGILVIE and DONCASTER who won’t uphold the rules, allow a level playing field and manipulate at the drop of a hat WE ARE SCREWED.
    Sick of it doesn’t come close James.

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