“The Guardian’s sales manager, who took the booking, told CQN that the decision wasn’t taken by his boss or indeed his boss but even higher up the chain of command. He told us that it was a ‘unique situation’ that their team had never experienced before and could not understand why the Guardian were reluctant to return the funds as promised.”
The above quote is taken from this quite remarkable piece from CQN magazine which I urge you to read in full:
CQN has been providing periodic updates (as far as they can) on Resolution 12, they organised the crowd funding of the adverts mentioned in the article, and are selling t-shirts to help meet the legal costs of the requisitioners, which you can buy here:
Despite all the hype and hyperbole, Resolution 12 seeks to get to the bottom of a very simple matter: should Rangers have ultimately been allowed to play in UEFA competitions in 2011 given their apparent overdue payables to a tax authority, and were Celtic wrongly deprived of a potentially lucrative place in the Champions’ League qualifying rounds. There are of course other issues in play such as
- were Kilmarnock wrongly deprived of a Europa League place (which their supporters/ board have not been vocal about)
- whether the SFA was an effective and even-handed governing body; and
- establishing that the SFA must henceforth be accountable to those who ultimately pay for our game, and should have no hiding place when difficult decisions need to be taken ‘without fear of favour’.
But when push comes to shove, many of us just want to know the truth about what happened in the first half of 2011 when Rangers were being given their UEFA licence, and whether someone needs to be held to account.
Resolution 12 and the piles of supporting paperwork gathered by the requisitioners ask a very straightforward question which raises fundamental concerns about the governance of our national game and about whether it takes place on a level playing field.
It is that simple.
Having read the CQN Magazine piece about the sudden refusal of the Guardian to print a perfectly reasonable campaigning and awareness-raising advert when a Swiss paper would (and assuming there isn’t another side to the story which the Guardian aren’t sharing), I can only express a combination of irritation, suspicion and mirth.
Irritation, because this seems to be an entirely unnecessary and unreasonable attempt to stop a group of people with something to say from saying it. Even when they are prepared to pay to do so. It LOOKS like a very peculiar sort of censorship.
Suspicion, because I can’t help but wonder who on earth would care so much about such an advert to have it spiked? And why? What could possibly be so troubling that senior people at a venerable ‘campaigning’ national newspaper would suddenly decide to run away from an advert about the governance of Scottish football worth £5,000?
And mirth, because apart from everything else, this is just surreal and hilarious. What sort of misguided sense of priorities, or overblown paranoia, and/or concern in ‘high places’ results in obstacles being placed in the way of people who want a little bit of justice and fair play in their national sport? This isn’t a controversial advert about a senior politician, or an attack on a global corporation. It. Is. An. Advert. About. Football.
It would be fascinating to know whether the Guardian has a set of criteria that are used when considering campaigning-type adverts for publication. Naturally the ‘usual’ legalities would need to be observed, but are their other criteria? Perhaps there is a ‘Wibble Index’ in use that other campaigners might want to be aware of when looking to buy space in their publications?
I suspect we will never know why the advert was refused, and people will inevitably develop their own theories. However, the Guardian would do well to be transparent with us, and in the meantime I suspect that we will look more dimly on them when buying newspapers or when clicking on websites
Ironically, the Guardian’s refusal of the advert, and the unwillingness of the Herald Group to touch it has simply ended up making even more people aware of the issue and determined to see justice done. If anyone is trying to shut up those seeking answers, they have got a very funny way of going about it. I am heartened to see CQN magazine discussing next steps in getting the ‘message’ out there, because the best answer to those who want to silence us is to shout in their ‘faces’ even more loudly. If vested interests wish to make speaking the truth seem like a rebellious act, they will find no shortage of rebels to contend with!
Of course, nothing would shout louder than a clear unambiguous statement from Celtic Football Club that they back the requisitioners and want UEFA to investigate the issues raised by them. And as I said in my previous blog (which attracted a lot of traffic, reflecting the widespread interest in this issue) there can be no hiding place for them. This issue isn’t going to go away.
The club would do well to stand publicly alongside its shareholders and fans, and to do it now.