Good Evening.

Senior officials in football governing bodies are in a highly privileged position.

They get to run an extremely high-profile sport that helps to shape our identity as individuals, communities and nations.

They have their hands on the controlling levers of a major part of the entertainment industry.

They get to travel. They get access to famous and influential people. And they get an awful lot of attention from the media. A awful lot.

They get to say things, and people – including the press – listen.

It must be quite intoxicating.

Senior officials in the so-called ‘Home Nations’ find themselves in a particularly privileged position in world football.

The SFA, FA, IFA and FAW are the representatives of the (British) historic founding fathers of world football, and thereby have a place on the (sort-of-separate from FIFA) rule-making International Football Association Board.

“How much am I loved by football fans? About this much…”

They are also part of the peculiarly privileged clique from which a “British FIFA Vice-President” is elected by UEFA members.

This post is an anachronism that should be reformed in the context of a fundamental remaking of FIFA. But for the time being (and the foreseeable future) it continues to exist.

And while it exists, the Scottish FA and its officers have a peculiarly ‘special’ status.

Given all of that, the utterances of Stewart Regan are – by default – worthy of note.

The community of Scottish football fans spat out their Buckie and Bleach cocktails yesterday when they read quotes from Mr Regan in relation to the Football Association of Ireland, and its Chief Executive John Delaney.

As you know, it has recently been confirmed that that FIFA had paid the FAI €5m after it agreed to drop legal action over the Thierry Henry handball incident that saw France qualify for the 2010 World Cup instead of Ireland.

Apologies to any Ireland fans who have just broken down in floods of tears at the reminder…
Sporting integrity [Apologies to any Ireland fans who have just broken down in floods of tears at the reminder…]
When asked about the ‘payments’ story, Mr Regan promptly hired a team of sherpas, donned appropriate clothing, clambered towards the moral high ground, and came out with some absolutely cracking lines!

“I’ve always worked on the assumption that if you haven’t got anything positive to say, you keep your mouth shut”.

Yes Stewart. Just like you did when Rangers went to the wall!

Who can forget all those upbeat highlights such as “social unrest”, “Armageddon” and “slow lingering death”?

Mr Regan continued…

“Scotland do things professionally and we do things the right way”. 

Well Mr Regan, there are a good few people out there who would query quite how “professional” and “right” it was to play a friendly against Qatar given the mounting death toll during preparations for the 2022 World Cup.

But the best was yet to come!

“As far as we are concerned we are going to abide by the rules, the laws of the game and the statutes of FIFA and UEFA”.

Just read that again.

“As far as we are concerned we are going to abide by the rules, the laws of the game and the statutes of FIFA and UEFA”.

That quote is a thing of such exquisite beauty that it should be encased in formaldehyde and preserved for future generations to marvel at!

Mr Regan’s quotes will actually jump the formaldehyde-encased shark

On 27 May, The Clumpany called out the former Chief Executive of Yorkshire County Cricket Club over his unwittingly hilarious remarks on Sepp Blatter and FIFA.

His comments about rules and the FAI provide an opportunity to repeat the exercise…

Which is a real shame.

For example, given that Mr Regan has stated the SFA’s commitment to the rules and statues, we might perhaps reflect on UEFA’s FFP regulations, which are very clear about what a ‘club’ is!

Let me remind you Stewart…

“A licence applicant may only be a football club, i.e. a legal entity fully responsible for a football team participating in national and international competitions”

Which can only mean one thing! That the incorporated Rangers FC must have gone the way of the Dodo!

Perhaps you are just shy about saying so, Mr Regan…?

"Look away Neil. They want us to explain what a 'club' actually is"
“Look away Neil. They want us to explain what a ‘club’ actually is”

We might also like to head to the SFA’s own rulebook and find the section that outlines the nature of a “conditional membership”, and the circumstances in which one can be awarded.

Have you found it yet?

[*Pause for tumbleweed*]
[*Pause for tumbleweed*]
We might also ask questions about a secret 5-Way Agreement which the SFA was a party to in 2012.

An agreement which may or may not have set out a series of undertakings by Sevco.

Which may or may not have been met.

And which may or may not have left Sevco liable to sanctions.

If only all the other clubs in Scotland knew what was in there. And the fans, who pay to watch a fair and open competition.

We might just know whether our sport is being played on a level playing field.

Rules eh? Tut!

Let’s also have a look at Mr Regan’s quotes from 2 February 2013.

“It’s OK having sporting merit but if you haven’t got any money to run your game and you end up with clubs going down the tubes, that doesn’t help anybody”

“Yes, Scottish football was unable to deliver. The people who said this is the plan we would like to take forward, that provides the greatest security for the game, that plan was overturned and that is what a democracy is all about.”

It’s OK having sporting merit, but…

Scottish football was unable to deliver…

That was crap of such a nuclear grade that the world’s Geiger-counter industry immediately shut up shop, knowing that it could NEVER produce an instrument capable of measuring it.

Dangerous levels of Reganisms
Dangerous levels of Reganisms

You could have been forgiven for assuming that the man who spoke those words simply wasn’t interested in sport.

You might have been tempted to remind Mr Regan that sport is meant to be a competitive thing wherein people and/or teams pit themselves against each other on a level playing field.

Something that has an air of excitement and unpredictability about it.

Something that doesn’t exist simply to please a governing body.

But thankfully Mr Regan didn’t want to give that impression.

No, as we heard yesterday it’s all about the rules, statutes and only ever speaking if you have something positive to say.

Permission to speak, Stephen!
Permission to speak, Stephen!

So there’s absolutely no hypocrisy at all from the top of the SFA.




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