On Friday, following the SFL vote regarding Sevco Scotland Ltd’s application for SFL membership, the following statement came from Stewart Regan, Scottish FA Chief Executive:
“In light of today’s decision by the members of the Scottish Football League, the Scottish FA is committed to leading the challenge to reinvigorate the national game.
“This challenge requires the collective effort not just of the Scottish FA but the respective league organisations and all member clubs.
“Today is a watershed for Scottish football. There will, undoubtedly, be financial consequences on the horizon. None the less, with togetherness, an open mind, and innovative thinking, there can also be opportunity: opportunity to restructure the game and promote competitiveness, to place greater emphasis on development of young Scottish talent and to support the financial sustainability of clubs through the Financial Fair Play model.
“The Scottish FA has offered guidance and support to the respective league bodies during this process. The SPL and SFL enter a crucial phase ahead of the new season and they must reach agreement on the practical issues that require to be addressed within their jurisdictions.
“Ultimately, there must be an outcome that enables Scottish football to move on with consensus, clarity and confidence into a new era for the national game.”
Clearly there are two people claiming to be Stewart Regan in the CEO chair at the SFA. The above statement cannot have come, surely, from the same person who predicted a slow and lingering death for Scottish football if the vote went in favour of SFL3?
The Mr Regan quoted above refers to “financial consequences on the horizon”. Not quite the immediate Armageddon predicted by him prior to the vote then.
The mission statement coming from his comments is:-
“With togetherness, an open mind, and innovative thinking, there can also be opportunity: opportunity to restructure the game and promote competitiveness, to place greater emphasis on development of young Scottish talent and to support the financial sustainability of clubs through the Financial Fair Play model.”
One wonders whether, if Mr Regan had approached the SFL vote in that manner, looking to bring the clubs together and without the threats of immediate disaster, he might even have come close to achieving his clear goal, namely the admission of “Rangers” to SFL1?
I suggested that, if the vote went against admission to SFL1, then Mr Regan, having so clearly advocated such a solution, and possibly without the backing of his own Board and member clubs, should resign.
It is remarkable that, having had his initiative so soundly defeated by the SFL members, his comments on Friday do not refer to that at all.
In a spirit of forgiveness, one might suggest that the repentant sinner should be welcomed, and if Mr Regan took the rebuff to heart and focussed on taking this “opportunity” to better the lot of all Scottish football clubs, he could redeem his reputation.
This does not account though for the rumours emanating from many sources, suggesting that the SPL AGM tomorrow will be asked to approve an invitation to Sevco Scotland Ltd for its team to play in the SPL in the coming season!
The statements issued by Clyde FC last week deserve close attention when looking at the SFA position, and indeed that of Mr Regan. I would recommend that they all be read in full.
“The clear message portrayed is that Scottish Football is in a very dark place indeed and there is simply no good solution to what is now a structural problem that has gone beyond a one dimensional issue of where Rangers should play next season. … Whether some good can be extracted from the impending mess will depend entirely on the SPL clubs, guided by the currently absent leadership of the SFA.
In addition, the attendees at the meeting were left in absolutely no doubt whatsoever by Stewart Regan that if the SPL clubs voted to allow a Newco into the SPL then it would be blocked by the SFA refusing to transfer the SFA membership. It was however caveated well enough to make it less than an absolute statement. The meeting was full of implied actions and outcomes, the use of clever language when delivering the speeches allows anyone to defend with ‘that is not what I said’. However, nobody will have left the meeting with anything other than the very clear messages being put across. Denials of the substance of the message being delivered do not assist anyone in this absolutely dreadful situation.
Sadly, the SFA and SPL have decided that whilst they say they are looking for a collaborative solution, they have very clearly made sure that by their own inaction that the blame will sit with the SFL – no matter what the outcome. The Board of the SFL are being put under intolerable pressure by the other bodies looking to avoid the implications of properly applying their own governance procedures.
In summary, the SFA implication is that there will be no entry to the SPL. … Whilst Stewart Regan said that the SFA did not favour an SPL2, there was no equivalent abhorrence of that proposal as was attached to the proposal for a Newco in the SPL, leaving the implication that the door remains wide open for the SPL to secure their £16m with or without the SFL.”
“The overwhelming reality is that we are being asked to make one of the most important decisions for Scottish Football in a vacuum devoid of factual information, that vacuum having been filled with unhelpful rhetoric and scaremongering by the chief executives of the SFA and SPL.
We first concluded that there was limited risk to the SFL from the ‘Armageddon’ theory, as depicted in the detailed presentation by Neil Doncaster and supported by Stewart Regan, which had prompted fears of cash flow loss to the SFL next season.
Resolution 2 was where the challenge to sporting integrity arose. It was impossible to engage with this concept without continually bearing in mind that the SFA had already undermined the prospects for any integrity to be maintained by making it clear that failure to deal with the admission of a newco to SFL3 would be a dereliction of duty. In effect posting notice that no matter what decision is taken by the SFL clubs to administer their league, the SFA would not tolerate anything other than SFL 1, an equivalent point having been made by Neil Doncaster on behalf of the SPL clubs. The stated position of the SFA and SPL chief executives means that, whilst this club can have faith in David Longmuir to do all in his power to deliver a new combined structure that meets the objectives of Resolution 2, we have no faith in the parties that the new arrangements would be negotiated with. Their behaviour to date is evidence enough for us.
We see Resolution 2 as a matter of trust and it would take a change of personnel and attitude for us to be confident that David Longmuir would be entering discussions with a group of people committed to a collaborative process in a spirit of genuine partnership.”
What is also not for the good of the game is 30 clubs being asked to vote knowing that a vote for Resolution 1 has a very high chance of being ignored by the SFA attempting to avoid any suggestion of what they perceive to be a dereliction of their duty. Such statements undermine basic democracy.
Given that the SPL and SFA have signalled a clear intention to act against any decision that might result in Sevco Scotland Ltd being admitted to the Third Division, then the limited logic left in this process points to them as believing they have the monopoly of wisdom on what is good for the game. We can expect that, no matter what the SFL clubs decide, Sevco Scotland will not be playing in the Third Division in the coming season. How more short-termism can be for the good of the game really does defy logic.
We reported this morning prior to the vote of all clubs that “Sevco Scotland Ltd will not be playing in the Third Division in the coming season.” Nothing heard today altered that opinion, in fact, it strengthened it.
For the good of the game we need to see the SFA accept the will of its members, who all voted today, as members of the SFL, in the clear knowledge that the SFA had it in its power to refuse to transfer SFA membership to Sevco Scotland Ltd should the vote support the entry of Sevco Scotland Ltd into SFL3.
We were asked to respect the confidentiality of those presenting today as only that agreement would allow them to be as candid as they were. We cannot therefore share what was said, however Mr Green left the SFL member clubs in no doubt about what he had been told by the SFA.
If the SFA now act to support any process to undermine the clear views of the SFL members, who are also members of the SFA, then this club will join others in questioning those in leadership.
Along with Turnbull Hutton, the Chairman of Raith Rovers, Clyde FC has been the most out-spoken critic of the process being forced, not by Sevco Scotland but by the SFA and SPL, to place “Rangers” in the second tier.
I have seen nothing from the SFA or Mr Regan to answer the criticisms expressed so eloquently in the above statements.
Mr Regan was quick enough to come out with “denials” and “clarifications” regarding his comments, such as those concerning social unrest. However here we have a member club of the SFA making very serious allegations that, effectively, the CEO of the SFA is acting on his own agenda, and not one of his members. In addition, the clear threats that the AFL decision will be ignored ought, pone would think, to have Mr Regan “clarified” matters.
Instead we have the statement I quoted above, which fails to give any recognition whatsoever to the concerns which clearly lie not just at Broadwood and Starks Park, but throughout the SFL.
It has been reported that a motion of no confidence in Mr Regan was proposed and seconded at the end of the SFL meeting, but did not proceed to a vote as it was felt that, even though all of the members of the SFL attending were SFA members too, it was not the correct forum for that. One might have expected some form of statement from Mr Regan in reply. I have seen none.
Will Mr Regan issue any statement, beyond one full of pious hopes and abstract nouns, but instead one answering the specific and detailed questions raised?
I am doubtful, to say the least.
With every chance he has to respond passing without reply, it simply heightens the concerns of an SPL/SFA “stitch up”. Mr Regan could make things very simple and remove most, if not all, of the concerns by doing the following.
He should immediately announce:-
1 the date when the SFA Board will decide upon the application by Sevco Scotland Ltd for transfer of the SFA membership held by Rangers Football Club PLC;
2 what criteria the SFA Board will use in determining the application by Sevco Scotland Ltd;
3 whether or not Sevco Scotland Ltd is willing to accept the conditions regarding sanctions suggested by the SFA when looking for information to support the application;
4 when the Appellate Tribunal under Lord Carloway will re-convene and whether or not any further sanctions imposed will be suffered by Sevco Scotland Ltd; and
5 that the democratic decision of the SPL members to reject the application for transfer of the SPL share to Sevco Scotland Ltd and the democratic decision of the SFL members to place “Rangers” in SFL3 will be respected.
Mr Regan could do all of this prior to the SPL AGM tomorrow, and that would make things much clearer for Scottish football, for the SPL, SFA and SFL, and indeed for Mr Green and Sevco.
Will he do any of the above? As I said above, I am doubtful.
Posted by Paul McConville