SFA “Strict Liability” Proposals Are A Direct Threat To Celtic

JS31156726Stewart Regan. Dear oh dear.

You have to give him his due; he seems to know what side his bread is buttered on, and just who butters it.

Any time there’s crisis or scandal at Ibrox he’s a long way from home, posted missing, silent on the subject.

I’d call it gutless, but he’s never quite so remiss when it comes to tackling Celtic.

We all know that this man will do anything at all to keep the club operating out of Ibrox afloat, whether that’s bending or flaunting regulations; ignoring others; allowing convicted criminals onto the board and even looking the other way as a potential fraud is going on.

That same attitude applies, of course, to the occasional outbreak of illegal singing, like the one against Hibs, which it seems he only discovered yesterday as it was the first he’s mentioned it … and then only fleetingly.

Another club’s supporters were the real target of his rant.

Who knew that all it would take to bring him out of the bunker was Celtic fans throwing a few flares?

Hell, we can’t have that in our national sport!

Let’s change the rules … so that we can punish the club for it!

Yes, whatever you say Stewart.

Except … no.

What balls this guy has. What a brass neck on him.

He and his lawyers are, doubtless, going to be working hard on the proposals for “strict liability” in the next week or two, and if Harper MacLeod can ratchet up the costs a bit who are any of us to stand in their way? They’ve got to make a buck too … but at the end of the day the fruit of these labours will wind up in the bin. It belongs there.

Frankly, Regan can wipe his arse with them for all I care.

If Celtic voted in favour of these proposals – and the chance of it is somewhere between slim and none; there is no way in the world we’re going to do it – then a cold day in Hell it would be, and the problems would mount up down the road until we couldn’t move forward for them.

When I heard he’d commented on this, and said “strict liability” was going back on the agenda I was honestly fuming, and flabbergasted at his brazenness. The statement itself is absurd, and offensive to those of us who’ve been following the backstory.

There can’t be another organisation – except the SPFL – which is so selective in the things it chooses to care about on any given day.

Regan feels he can bang the drum on this one because it was in the Scottish Cup … well it’s funny, as he seems to care so much; he said and did nothing last season when, at the very same ground, Dundee Utd fans did much the same thing.

Now, no-one should misinterpret this as me defending the guys with the flares.

I’ve already written about that over on The CelticBlog this week, and my views were pretty clear. The guys who do this are a menace, pure and simple, and ought not to be allowed inside football grounds.

But see, that’s a police matter. It’s got sod all to do with the sporting authorities. We ought to let the police deal with it, as they have been doing. Let the clubs find the people responsible and ban them, and then allow the machinery of the law to take over.

Football sanctions to clubs for the behaviour of a few neds?

God, why not just punish certain clubs (i.e. Celtic) before the season even starts?

Save time on the disciplinary hearings.

Because these rules will be so open-ended you might as well.

I would be willing to bet every penny I make in the first year of their existence that we would be in front of the beaks more than any other club, and that has nothing to do with our fans but everything to do with a media that would whip up controversy every chance it got and the governing bodies themselves who might even jump at the chance to make the league more “competitive” by deducting us points every so often.

As the rules stand right now, all a club has to do to get off free and clear – see Sevco and sectarian songs – is demonstrate that they’ve taken “all appropriate measures” to discourage that. No-one even knows what that actually means, and that’s very deliberate.

And you know what? I’m content for that to be the position. Because that’s the way these guys work, and I have no doubt that should “strict liability” come into existence the regulations would be no more robust than the current rules, but would morph, instead, into an awful Offensive Behaviour at Football Act written by the governing bodies themselves, one handing match delegates complete discretion over what constitutes an offense … and that’s to say nothing of their famous “compliance officer” and what his own godforsaken role in all this would be.

Uh-uh. Not a chance in Hell.

Someone like Vince Lunny, with the power to deduct points and close stadiums because of what he personally finds offensive? Newspaper media rooms and PR companies scanning YouTube footage deep into the night and submitting it for his “assesment”?

You can see where Celtic might have a problem with this idea, right?

We may as well shut the stadium right now.

Even if the SFA could be trusted (I know, I’m laughing too) I’m not in favour of strict liability anyway, because it’s too easy to extend and amplify and would, eventually, turn all football grounds into soulless cathedrals of consumerism and make the experience akin to going to the theatre.

Regan uses UEFA as his exemplar here, because these rules already exist there.


The SFA’s newfound embrace of UEFA standards is heartening but much too selective, and that’s the real problem here and where Regan’s hypocrisy is most clearly expressed.

There are UEFA regulations which do badly need implementing in Scottish football, foremost amongst them the one governing Financial Fair Play.

That it hasn’t already been passed is ridiculous; the English leagues got their house in order on that score five years ago.

But, of course, there isn’t strictly an establishment favourite club down there, one that would fall foul of those regulations every single year.

Quite how anyone could argue that Sevco would not be in current breach of those rules escapes me … which is exactly why they’ve yet to see the light of day, and why I suspect they never actually will.

King’s big talk about “front loaded investment” was always bluff and bluster anyway, but the whole concept has still been allowed a credibility it doesn’t deserve. That we continue to perpetuate this dangerous nonsense as somehow “good for the game” is part of a wider problem Regan and his people don’t even seem to want to acknowledge let alone do something about.

No, this is more typical of them, to focus on a cheap headline, a one day story, to leap onto a passing bandwagon.

This isn’t leadership; it’s deflection.

It’s an attempt to steer the agenda away from his favourite club at a time when the governing bodies are inextricably bound to their fate, and heading for a calamity that will make 2012 seem like small beer.

Regan would have been better focussing on that, or on the certainty that his name will come up over and over again during the trials of Whyte and Green.

If he wants to give the lawyers something to do he can dig out the emails he and Whyte exchanged, and the minutes of his discussions with Green, and others, and get the SFA legal team to investigate whether or not they were party to a fraud, however unwittingly it might have been,

I don’t like this guy; that’s no secret. I think he’s a coward and a charlatan and that he’s been wrong, and his association has been wrong, on every major issue of the last five years except the appointment of Gordon Strachan.

He and those around him can preen and posture for the cameras all day long. They can write all the useless and doomed regulations they want. They can fritter away the remainder of their time in office by pandering to the press and the Ibrox mob. Or they can find ways, even now, to redeem their reputations before it all comes crashing down.

This is partly about that, of course, about legacy shopping; one good deed to try and counter all the years of sitting on his hands. I’m not fooled for a minute, and no-one else should be either.

I’m past caring what choices they make.

But I’m damned if I’ll sit in silence whilst they try to use my club and its fans as a deflector shield when the biggest and most serious issues in the Scottish game can still be traced right to the door of another stadium in Glasgow and to the actions of a procession of dodgy geezers Regan and his people said were “fit and proper.”

Stewart Regan, leading reform?

Don’t make me laugh.

His real motivations are more transparent than he thinks.

(Writing these blogs is my full time job, and I couldn’t do it without the support of my readers. If you like what I do you can make a donation at the below link. Thanks to those who have.)


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.

32 thoughts on “SFA “Strict Liability” Proposals Are A Direct Threat To Celtic

  • 12 January, 2016 at 4:53 pm

    “And heading for a calamity that will make 2012 look like small beer” love it James,
    As the saying Goes “would you buy a car from this man”………………..

  • 12 January, 2016 at 4:55 pm

    what about rangers their singing and chants at the hibs game ??? whats being done about that nothing they wont touch them but as soon as we do 1 thing yes stupid from a couple fans their all over us

  • 12 January, 2016 at 5:26 pm

    You use the idiom \”deflector shield\” in this article without a hint of irony. Who cares about The Rangers, our fans were a disgrace on Sunday.

    Throwing flares and singing offensive songs is incorrect and immoral no matter what Rangers do or how the SFA react.

    You come across as an apologist for stupid wee neds.

  • 12 January, 2016 at 5:37 pm

    Everything you say is all against our club, what yes what will the men running our do ???? I fear for or club this goes back to the 50`s when it was the FLEG that they moaned about, lucky we had yes he was Bob Kelly who not only warned them take it down we will play another sport, they climb down, if they put into place any restrictions against our club, we yes we should march on to HAMPDEN, but most of all I want the BOARD of our club to STAND UP tell them where to go, we will never stop supporting CELTIC FC where ever they choose to PLAY yes CHOOSE

  • 12 January, 2016 at 5:40 pm

    Supporters need to get real…this is a protestant country,run by protestants,for protestants.

  • 12 January, 2016 at 5:47 pm

    DEWPERATESTUFF – Did you not read the full post ? James stated quite rightly that this WASN’T him sticking up for the idiots who tarnished the good name of Celtic, in fact he said he does not condone it 1 bit !! And rightly so Why give the media ammunition to shoot us down However the point is made that while Sevco, among others but mainly them, don’t merit a couple of lines while we are ALWAYS the bad guys who get heavily fined etc. Peter Lawell needs to open his mouth here and get an explanation for these so called SFA bosses and show him we wont be fall guys any more and to treat everyone the same

  • 12 January, 2016 at 5:51 pm

    Please stop looking elsewhere to find blame … these halfwits are present in our fans and unless they are removed i will remove my subscription to season ticket for me and my son. these \”away\” fans .. probably dont weven turn out to watch such a poor offering at the moment … yet ruining our reputation which is going fast into the gutter. Stop diverting attention toward the blue half of the city and focus your anger on these small minded halfwits .. get them out before good honest fans leave.
    Now if you want to focus on the blue end .. they must be howling at this as we present them with the ammunition to shame our club. focus your calls for action, focus on these halwits and drum them out.

  • 12 January, 2016 at 6:12 pm

    I totally agree with Mike on the ammunition that our so called”fans”gave too the manky mob drives me absolutely nuts,never ever give succour to your enemy.

  • 12 January, 2016 at 6:19 pm

    Freemasonry at work in Reagan and co .now i never heard offensive songs being sung but for flares to be thrown is out of order So let the police deal with them first and foremost then let celtic take action it speaks lounder than words. It has to stop it just give the SFA ammunition HH

  • 12 January, 2016 at 6:49 pm

    James’s article was not about defending the morons, it was about the corrupt SFA. and the cowardly Stewart Regan. It was about how innocent Celtic fans and their club could possibly be punished because of the minority of these teenage looney,s.He mentions two other clubs, correctly! of whom there was no comment from Hampden after their fans ‘misbehaved’ , Celtic have already banned 3 fans since Sundays game,there maybe more! Swift action by the club who Will! eradicate the pyrotechnic pissers from our supporters, Also these so called fans would never stop me from attending Celtic games.only Regan or Sevco could possibly do that!

  • 12 January, 2016 at 7:03 pm

    Firstly,and it\’s a question I have asked many times when confronted by those obsessed individuals who follow the club from the East. Who is \”Sevco\” ? I have searched all the available sites,UEFA,SFA etc but no joy..the SPFL website lists a club Rangers Football Club,as do UEFA and the SFA,but no \”Sevco\”. They also state the same Rangers Football Club is currently the most successful football club in Scotland. Do \”Sevco\” play in the same league as Pacific Shelf 595 Ltd,HMS 402 or The Celtic Football & Athletic Co Ltd? Or perhaps your just a tad confused?
    Secondly..what a splendid showing of \”whataboutery\”..truly excellent. Don\’t concern yourself with Rangers Football Club,concern yourself with Celtic,who are well and truly under the spotlight now…and not before time.
    And finally thirdly…may I remind you your not just being hauled up for flares and smoke bombs,your also being hauled up for offensive and sectarian chanting. Nice deflection there,almost as good as your club itself who have remained curiously silent on this matter,unlike the club you attempted to deflect to Rangers.
    Instead of indulging in whataboutery about big bad Rangers try and understand the problems your club is now facing…none of which have anything whatsoever to do with Rangers Football Club.

  • 12 January, 2016 at 7:11 pm

    Well said Mike and DESPERATESTUFF, couldn\’t agree more, lets get our own house in order.

  • 12 January, 2016 at 7:18 pm

    Must admit we would all be better focusing on the idiots we have at our own club, that way we give them nothing to hurt us with, sevcos fans will do for themselves in the end, saying that I agree 100 per cent in what you’re saying but you’re wasting your time, let them and the so called guardians of the game carry on, they don’t even try to hide it anymore or have become too confident as to think they are indeed a law unto themselves.

    Let them have all rope they want because the fans will eventually call time on them, better to concentrate on the few we have and give them nothing to hurl at us, these neds are exactly what they need and they will use them at every chance they get.

    Lets face it, the money and harm they have cost/caused the club because they think they look good with a daft and dangerous flare in their hand is not worth it, it is actually costing the club money in having them supporting it, they are a hindrance in more ways than one.

  • 12 January, 2016 at 7:29 pm

    Do you actually read what James says !!! His piece is castigating Regan and the SFA for their pathetic actions ( actually inactions ) in the Sevco Saga.His previous blog, which he pointed towards in this one, clearly stated his stance on the “idiots” in our support regarding the pyros.
    Furthermore he’s pointing out that pyro incidents occur at other grounds ( including Sevco games ) in Scotland eg Stranraer v Dundee Utd last season.I myself was at Motherwell v Albion Rovers at New Douglas Park in Scottish Cup Tie and the Well fans let off 3/4 flares in the main stand !!!
    James also mentioned UEFAs position in regards to this and Regans using this as an excuse for “strict liability” . I would say ironic from UEFAs point of view as most European games I watch in Italy,Spain,Germany ,Turkey etc the pyro displays are spectacular and I would be interested to see the list of clubs who’ve been sanctioned accordingly ( I know domestically its down to the National Associations ) but that’s part of James point !!! Let me finish by saying I completely agree with James in that our idiot element are a disgrace but you’ve got to look at the bigger picture.Rant over ????

  • 12 January, 2016 at 7:47 pm

    Time for action against the charlatans at the SFA.

  • 12 January, 2016 at 7:50 pm

    Don’ attend their Flagship Competition starting with the next round.

  • 12 January, 2016 at 8:04 pm

    Charles, you’re just being a typical Pratt! What a loada dirge about Sevco and who are they! Just another delusional clown with an insular attitude about your lot that you’ve done nothing wrong! How deluded and laughable you are! Your team, cheated and lied to the point, they were liquidated! That’s the reason you ended up in bottom division – Your OWN fault! Not the fault of any other team, directors and supporters of any other club, so, get your facts CORRECT!!
    You support a new club that now, again, has the same bigoted baggage as before! You had a chance and BLEW IT, BIG STYLE!

  • 12 January, 2016 at 8:06 pm

    Am not looking else where to blame, I have said elsewhere about these barstewards, hell they think nothing wrong, biggest problem is fans near them it could cause a riot if we say anything to them, I had this at last years semi at hampden, my main complaint about this article is Regan, he seems to be doing there bidding closed his ears and eye`s to what really is wrong with our country SEVCO do and please what they want, so its the SFA/SPFL this is about not us, they will punish us yes we know but we have to stand up against HAMPDEN

  • 12 January, 2016 at 8:14 pm

    There is no doubt nothing other than leaving the Scottish set up and moving to another league, could we be shot of the idiots who run the game here.

    Fact is they will do everything to knock us as they always have.

    Who cares.

    We need to see improvement that encourages the fans to show up regardless of any business going on elsewhere.

    Improvement not only by the team and the management on the pitch but also on the terraces where fans are too easily spotlighted and used to draw negative attention to the club.

    I just hope drawing negative attention doesn\’t become a protest tool for some.

  • 12 January, 2016 at 9:29 pm

    At least pay the facepainters.
    The 275 other creditors can wait. We will just get on with paying our debts as they fall due same old, same old. Methinks you are in for an awakening of sorts. How many pieces of body armour for those who participate in “armed forces day” would the tax that was dodged by side letters to contracts have purchased?
    For the other numpties asking James not to deflect and put our own house in order.
    I think the tone of the piece leaves nobody in any doubt that James thinks the flare throwers are balloons. The irony is that the heavily conflcted Regan and Dungcaster say absolutely nothing about the goings on at Ibrokes (wifi bill due) recently up to their necks in Fenian blood but see fit to comment on this. Truly for the benefit of one club.
    Irony is obviously lost on some on here and only some of them are The Rangers supporters.

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