“All War is Deception”
Today, a story which had previously been described as “speculation and rumour” from “internet bampots”, was confirmed “to the masses” by the BBC, as they announced that “plans are being put into place that would allow Rangers to move directly into Scottish Division One in the new season”.
Now, although “Rangers” will be confined to the history books by next season (as Rangers Football Club PLC (1872) will officially cease to exist when liquidators BDO move in), this is, nevertheless, a potentially critical turn of events.
The plan itself is based around the following points:
- Rangers are to be relegated with immediate effect and replaced in the SPL by Dundee.
- Television rights for Rangers matches in Scottish Football League Division One are to be bought by the SPL for £1m.
- The SPL and SFL will merge into one body at the start of season 2013-14.
- Play-offs between the top two divisions will be introduced in time for the coming season with one team from the top flight and three from the second tier competing for a place in the following season’s SPL.
- There will be an increase in the parachute payments made to clubs relegated from the SPL.
- Changes will be made to the distribution model for clubs in the top two tiers with teams in the lower leagues earning a similar amount to the current set-up.
- A new pyramid system will become effective from season 2014-15 that will allow a potential place in the new league format for a team from either the Highland league or newly-created ‘Lowland League’.
- Rangers newco’s acceptance into the Scottish FA would only be approved if they accept responsibility for the football debts and fines incurred by the previous club along with their waiving of rights to a legal challenge.
Please bear with me as I point out a few difficulties with their plan of action.
1. Any newco will not be relegated anywhere. This is fact. A newco is a new club, and for this reason, it should start at the bottom, as every new club has to. If any newco is allowed access into a higher league than the bottom tier (in this case the third division) this will be totally unprecedented, and will be a show of biased. If you read the statement literally, it says “Rangers” will be relegated. If this is to be the case, the SPL will have to relegate Rangers before the meeting scheduled for the 4th July. This would also mean that the SPL would relegate two teams in one season, with two teams being promoted. This would be a clear example of bending the rules to favour one club.
2. The SPL plan to buy the television rights for Rangers matches whilst they play in a lower division. So they expect the clubs (and therefore the supporters) of SPL clubs, who all play by the rules and do not cheat (unlike the old company Rangers) to pay a newco money to cover their matches? I’m sure that will be a really popular idea.
3. I’m all for having larger divisions in Scottish Football, but reform and restructuring should be considered and introduced to help the game as a whole in this country, not simply when one team requires it to make their proverbial penance a little easier.
4. This idea of a potential place for a current non-league team through a new “pyramid system” stinks. Perhaps, and I am merely speculating here, one of the lower league teams weren’t too happen at the fact a newco Rangers would be allowed to immediately refill the gap left in the “professional leagues” after the liquidation of the old company. Perhaps they felt they had more right to that space than the descendants of a club found guilty of extensive, intentional cheating.
5. The club would be forced to waive it’s right to a legal challenge, hence keeping the matter strictly within football, meaning it would be up to the governing bodies to deal with any fallout. This means they could keep matters “in-house” and as far as they’d be concerned, I’m sure they’d say “the case is closed”. Unless, of course, FIFA or UEFA frowned upon the actions of Scotland’s governing bodies.
6. Stewart Regan, Chief Executive of the Scottish Football Association, recently departed on his summer holiday. However, he did so without telling the SFA’s appellate tribunal to meet whilst he was away. The tribunal, which the Scottish courts ordered to sit around a month ago, would have the capability to expel Rangers from the Scottish game entirely.
Twice today, I have tweeted the words of the ancient Chinese military general Sun Tzu, who said:
“All war is deception.”
Ironically, thousands of years after he said this, and thousands of miles from his homeland, his words are coming true, in a war for sporting integrity and fairness.
When Livingston liquidated in 2009, they were banished to division three within a single day.
If Scottish Football is fair, surely all clubs must have to play by the same rules, and hence the same punishment must be handed out to any newco.
However, when you look at some of the people who hold the offices of power in Scottish Football, then perhaps we shouldn’t be too surprised.
I have written at length about the conflicts of interest embodied in Campbell Ogilive, current President of the Scottish Football Association. He used to be a director at Ibrox, and not only did he start his tenure at the club when the “no Catholics” policy was still in full swing, he has also been shown to have been an EBT beneficiary (to the tune of £90,000 no less).
As for the Scottish Football League, their President is a man named Jim Ballantyne. Mr Ballantyne is the chairman of Airdrie United, but have no doubt as to where his true allegiances lie, having been seen at the recent Linfield v Rangers match wearing a fighting fund rosette.
In summary, nothing has changed for a newco as yet, but if this plan is allowed to go ahead, Scottish Football will never be the same again. Finances and spreadsheets may seem important at the moment, but without the fans, the lifeblood of the game, finances will become irrelevant. I just hope the governing bodies in this country aren’t so blinded by the apparent need for one club that they exile those who love all of the others.
These reforms were allegedly discussed at a meeting involving the so called “Gang of Ten” (i.e. the current SPL clubs excluding Celtic and Rangers) earlier in the year. If this is proven to be the case, the intentions of the games governing bodies in Scotland needs to be seriously questioned. Put simply, they are not impartial, they are not unbiased, and they are not fit for purpose. There needs to be a serious shake up in the corridors of footballing power.
In saying all of this, remember, “all war is deception”. What could they possibly be trying to cover up with this news?
Since the publication of this article earlier today, STV has uncovered a document sent to all Scottish Football League clubs. The document, which reads more like a propaganda leaflet for the newco Rangers, outlines the potential outcomes of this whole sorry mess, with each outcome depending on a different fate for the newco (ie division three etc).
This is astonishing enough by itself. However, it becomes truly staggering when it reveals that, if a newco is not voted into the SFL by the relevant clubs, the Scottish Premier League will form a break off league in the form of SPL 2 to accommodate the newco.
This is simply incredible. The old Rangers have been found guilty of prolonged, intentional cheating, and yet the governing bodies in Scotland are still flocking to the aid of their new form. The document (available here: http://sport.stv.tv/football/clubs/rangers/108463-in-full-document-sent-to-sfl-clubs-to-put-rangers-into-the-first-division/) even states “The Scottish Government remain committed to our community strategy”. The thoughts of a government are absolutely irrelevant here, and yet they are heard, whilst the thoughts of the fans, which are critical, are continually ignored.
Make no mistake, this sort of ridiculous action would only ever be considered in Scotland, and it would only be considered to benefit a particular football club (or at least it’s new form), let alone implemented.
We are now entering perhaps the most important era in the history of Scottish Football. I have faith the voices and actions of football fans in this country will, eventually, win through. However, if this sort of lunacy doesn’t highlight the biased and the incompetence which blights the governing bodies of our national game, nothing will.