It’s been quite a remarkable day in the world of sport.
The global football family convulsed with astonishment at the news that Motherwell aren’t pandering to the Sevconian sense of entitlement and giving them as many tickets for the Fir Park leg of the Premiership Play-Off Final as they would like.
According to Derek ‘Sevco Are Right At All Times’ Johnstone, “this is an absolute nonsense”.
DJ – who is always well-informed – says that Sevconians have been getting tickets for seats among the Motherwell fans. Which apparently gives him cause to make the following astonishing and irresponsible statement:
“I am not going to say that there is going to be trouble, but it could cause problems and Motherwell have to take the blame.”
So if things ‘kick off’ in those parts of the ground, it will automatically be Motherwell’s fault DJ, whatever the cause?
Let’s just throw irresponsible Motherwell out of the playoffs now shall we DJ? It would be safer and fairer all round.
But of course, I jest (there is a first time for everything…).
The even more earth-shattering news of the day was the arrest of FIFA officials, and news of separate American and Swiss investigations into alleged corruption and the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
If you haven’t seen the press conference held by the U.S. Attorney General and FBI Director (yes, the story really is that big). I strongly recommend it.
Even though nothing has been proven and the investigations have a long way to run, this is still an extraordinary moment. The ramifications are potentially enormous, and it will be fascinating to see how events unfold.
More immediately, the developments raise questions over the position of Sepp Blatter.
Blatter hasn’t been charged with anything, and FIFA are saying that the planned Congress and Presidential election in which he is the favourite will still go ahead.
To an outsider this seems utterly preposterous, and who knows what will happen over the coming days.
However, it is the reaction to both today’s events and the looming election that provided the ‘inspiration’ for this piece.
As you might expect, the SFA has come over all statesmanlike and had its say.
The SFA is sending Stewart Regan, Campbell Ogilvie, and vice-president, Alan McRae to the Congress in Switzerland, and it has been Mr Regan who has spoken out.
Committed Clumpaneers will be all-too aware that The Clumpany greatly enjoys dissecting the absurdities of Scottish football administrators and media coverage, as well as the never-ending Sevco shenanigans.
No comment is too pithy too make, and no triviality too small to point and laugh at.
However, sometimes you just have to sit back and let others spoof themselves.
So step forward Mr Regan, the floor is yours.
“What has happened today underlines the need for fundamental change in how FIFA is governed”
“We have stated before that we believe for the good of the game’s image, integrity and indeed future prosperity that Mr Blatter should stand down and allow FIFA to radically improve its governance and credibility. After today’s events, that position has crystallised still further.”
– Quoted in an SFA Statement.
“I think Sepp Blatter has had more comebacks than Frank Sinatra”
“…it only goes to show the need for a massive amount of change in corporate governance at the highest level”.
“Bear in mind that this is not just one individual [Blatter] we’re talking about. So it’s important that that change happens”.
– Speaking to STV News.
Clearly there is no suggestion of impropriety on the part of SFA officials, or of any link to the events at FIFA today.
However, anyone with the tiniest understanding of what has happened in Scottish football in recent years could only shake their heads and smile at the supreme irony of some of the rhetoric Mr Regan used today
“Radically improve its governance and credibility”.
“Not just one individual we’re talking about”.
How many times in recent years have fans of Scottish football called for similar in our ‘local’ branch of the game?
Attempts to gerrymander a new club into the upper reaches of the league by warning of “Armageddon” and “slow lingering death”, a ‘conflicted’ President, a secret 5-Way Agreement, an ‘interesting’ view of player registrations offered to LNS. Etc. Etc. all of these things – and more – have had us shaking our heads in disbelief and wanting something better.
If the kind of aspirations Mr Regan has for the game at global level were applied in Scotland, would our authorities still exist in their current form?
I’ll leave you to ponder that one Mr Regan.
But rest assured, despite the fundamental difference in the FIFA and Scottish situations, there is a clamour for change in Scotland that is just as lively and determined as that being expressed towards towards the global leadership in Switzerland.
And it isn’t going to go away…
The Clumpany (and seemingly the rest of social media in Scotland) greatly enjoyed seeing our MSM getting in a lather about today’s FIFA developments.
To be fair to them, a number of our journalists routinely bemoan the leadership provided by the SFA and SPFL. However that rarely (if ever) translates to a systematic attempt to call them out on their shortcomings.
And it most certainly doesn’t extend to a willingness to dynamically pursue the kind of issues I mentioned above.
Almost three years have passed without any of them managing to produce a copy of the 5-Way Agreement.
This document potentially sheds light on the steps taken by senior administrators to fast-track Sevco into senior football, and might (Heaven forbid!) tell us interesting things about what was supposed to happen, whether the new club fell short, and whether it should be subject to penalties.
It could be dynamite. It might be a damp squib. But we won’t know until we see it, and I struggle to see how it is in the public interest for it to be kept a secret!
Celtic Shareholders’ ongoing ‘Resolution 12’ campaign potentially sheds some very interesting light on the SFA’s licensing activities and relationship with its member clubs. But there has been barely a flicker of interest from the MSM.
There has been no word either on whether the LNS hearing considered all the issues that it ought to have done. And the potentially enormous implications of that.
And there have been no genuine cries of incredulity that the SFA President remained – and remains – in post during the continuing EBT saga.
You could almost conclude there is a determination amongst the MSM to avoid rocking the boat.
Change is certainly in the footballing air.
Attention may be focused on the dramatic events at FIFA, but there are many of us who smiled at Mr Regan’s comments today and resolved to see a “fundamental change” in our own local patch.