I wrote recently about Stewart Regan’s remarkable admission that the “fit and proper” person test as regards football officials was a “myth”. This was because checking the bona fides of new directors and officials would take a “cast of thousands”. Therefore the SFA relied upon the member clubs and the officials themselves to confirm whether or not they were “fit and proper”. This is taking self-regulation to the extreme.
It reminds me of the questions asked on immigration cards when visiting the USA which, from memory, include asking of you are coming to the USA to overthrow the government or engage in terrorist activities. I do not think many people say yes!
The latest news from the SFA, although not accompanied, as of last night, by a statement from Mr Regan on the SFA website, is that the SFA has written to member clubs asking them to state if they have made payments outwith contracts to players in the last 10 years.
This has provoked a range of responses. Some view this as proof that the whole of football in Scotland was rife with what Rangers have been accused of, and this is the SFA catching everyone in the net. Others have seen this as a prime example of “whataboutery” ie an effort to catch others in the same net as, allegedly, Rangers, even if the scale is very different.
It is viewed by some as the SFA doing its job, and by others as a further abdication of responsibility.
After all, if the policing of the “fit and proper” rue would require a “cast of thousands” then how many, on Mr Regan’s argument, would be needed to oversee and review the financial information which football clubs are required to submit to the football authorities? Do the SFA, SPL and SFL employ a phalanx of accountants and lawyers to pore over the accounts lodged by member clubs? Or do they receive them in the post, and drop them into a secure filing cabinet, never again to see the light of day?
Mr Regan commented that the SFA had to rely on a PLC like Rangers fulfilling its legal obligations, which are wider than simply football-related rules. However only a handful of SFA members are PLC’s. Most are private limited companies, whose rules are much less strict than those for PLC’s.
Mr Regan’s “myth” comment therefore appeared to confirm that SFA, and by extension SPL and SFL regulation is “more honoured in the breach than the observance”.
What it does show is, in my view, proof that the SFA’s “governance” of Scottish football has been a “myth” and for many years has worked on the basis that, to quote the great philosopher, Terry from Fawlty Towers, “What the eye doesn’t see, the chef gets away with”. Continue reading