Media, Scottish Football, SFA

Pursuing Sporting Integrity


Good Morning.

In recent days a couple of related matters popped up on The Clumpany timeline, and I would like to share them with you.

Firstly, this report from the Sports Integrity Initiative:

Rangers & SFA may have colluded to award Rangers a UEFA licence

It was deleted shortly after publication, although it can still be found via Google cache, and I understand it will be republished following a few tweaks.

So what is the Sports Integrity Initiative?

Their own website says the following:

The Sports Integrity Initiative (‘The SII’) was created to air key issues in sports integrity and to provide a platform for debate. The SII is independent of any party and will remain neutral in order to provide as balanced a discussion on the issues as possible.

The SII is edited by Andy Brown, a journalist who has been writing about the governance of sport for over 15 years. Prior to editing the SII, Andy was editor of World Sports Law Report for eight years. He has also worked for the Press Association and has edited and written for numerous trade magazines, all of which are connected to the governance of sport. He has also created, chaired and spoken at numerous conferences on the business and regulation of sport, has lectured on sports governance and produced the Sports Law Show for iSportConnect TV.

So on the face of it, they are – like The Offshore Game/ Tax Justice Network – serious operators. And this impression certainly seems to be borne out with a look through their website, which covers all manner of alleged cheating, fraud, corruption and maladministration in sport. Do take a few minutes to have a look at their work. You will find it hard to conclude that these are ‘haters’ with an ‘agenda’ against Rangers or Sevco.

Although you might do so if you close your eyes, block your ears and shout ‘wibble’ while hammering out an angry post on a Sevco fans’ forum. 😉

The report covers familiar ground – the questionable awarding of THAT UEFA license to Rangers in 2011, and the farce that was the Lord Nimmo-Smith Commission. Very pointed questions are variously asked about the actions of Rangers, the role of the SFA and the interest of UEFA in ensuring fairness in the game. The sort of questions that are Kryponite to most of the Scottish mainstream media, who would rather spend their summer bringing us such startling revelations as Joey Barton’s plans to dominate Scottish football.

[*Guffaw*]

The report does contain a few minor factual inaccuracies, and doesn’t get many answers (although it seems that the SFA was made to squirm). But that’s not crucial right now. The most important thing is that someone else with credibility has noticed these troubling issues and is kicking up a fuss about them. This makes it less likely that they will ultimately be swept under the carpet and makes it just a little bit more likely that answers will be obtained and people held to account.

Am I being naive? Possibly.

But I am also maintaining my optimism that some sort of justice can be delivered for those who paid into and played in what appears to have been a rigged game for years. The day we stop being optimistic and down tools is the day we let the apparent misdeeds of the past triumph.

I have said many times that there is an onus on the clubs to demand that justice is done and that a level playing field is guaranteed in the future. And yes, I have repeatedly pointed the finger at Celtic regarding their silence over Resolution 12.

Resolution 12: The Line In The Sand?

However, there is also a need for fans to keep up the pressure – both on their clubs, the authorities, and the media. Asking questions and reminding them that these issues aren’t going to go away no matter how much they might want them too is a very important part of the fight. The hopefully-soon-republished Sports Integrity Initiative report will (like the Offshore Game report) help with that. So please read it, and make some further noise!

And please take other any other opportunities as they arise. Which brings me to the second thing that has caught my attention in recent days. A petition has been set up, which is titled

The SFA Has To Respond To Allegations Of Impropriety Concerning The Issue Of UEFA Licences

And it says the following:

“We, the undersigned, respectfully request that the SFA must respond to suggestions that they knowingly and purposefully issued a licence to Rangers FC whilst the club was in breach of the required conditions surrounding overdue payables to HMRC, enabling them to compete in the UEFA Champions League in season 2011-2012”

I think that this is a helpful initiative and I am delighted to share it with my long-suffering readers. Please take a moment to sign and share it. 

Many thanks, and…

#KeepOnClumping

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