I had hoped that the inquiry into the Governance of English football might have stimulated a similar probe in Scotland, but that did not come to pass.
I really think it's time that we brougth some real scrutiny to the actions of the SFA and the SPL, and I believe the only realistic means of doing so is through a public/parliamentary/Assembly inquiry.
I intend to send the undernoted letter to my MP and Local MLA (and others) tomorrow, and I would urge you to take my draft letter - amend as you see fit - and send it to your local representatives.
Unless we do something practical, and meaningful, I see no prospect of the SFA/SPL being brought under the 'spotlight'.
If we are sucessful in obtaining an inquiry, then we have the opportunity to submit evidence - that is what we have been asking for. Please support this initiative.
Draft Letter to your local parliamentary representative.
Member of Parliament,
The Culture Media and Sport Committee (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Member of the Scottish Parliament,
Member of the Local Assembly (NI)
Re. Request for a Public and/or Parliamentary Inquiry into the conduct and behaviour of the Scottish Football Association and the Scottish Premier League, with specific reference to the general conduct, decision making and leadership of the Chief Executive Officers of both organisations in relation to their handling and management of the crisis precipitated by the administration of Rangers Football Club.
I write to you as my MP/MSP/MLA to request your support for a full public/parliamentary inquiry into the conduct and behaviour of the Scottish Football Association (SFA) and the Scottish Premier League (SPL) since Rangers Football Club were plunged into administration in February this year.
I also seek your support to ensure that the inquiry will be an all embracing one that will encapsulate the events immediately following Craig Whyte’s acquisition of Rangers FC in May 2011, and the Club’s subsequent descent into administration in February 2012.
In essence, I envisage an inquiry that will focus on the events during the period May 2011 to date, that will specifically consider, and thoroughly analyse, the conduct and decisions of the Chief Executive of the SFA, Stewart Regan and his counterpart at the SPL, Neil Doncaster, with the express purpose of reporting any impropriety, improper or inappropriate treatment, and any unconstitutional, inequitable or unreasonable behaviour toward Rangers Football Club and member clubs of the Scottish Football League (SFL).
In addition I would ask that the inquiry also focus upon the specific events related to the application of Rangers ‘newco’ to transfer the ‘share’ of the old company to the SPL and, in particular, to the circumstances surrounding the refusal of the SPL clubs to grant that transfer request.
I make this plea for a formal inquiry against the backcloth of serious concerns about the impartiality and lack of probity in the conduct of both organisations in relation to the Rangers ‘crisis’ and, in particular, to the anger and concern expressed by many Scottish Football League (SFL) clubs about the undue pressure brought to bear upon them by the SFA and SPL to comply with their dictates by means of an alleged campaign of harassment, bullying and threatening behaviour.
I’m sure you are aware that Rangers FC going into administration has precipitated a major crisis in Scottish football the like of which has not been experienced before. Indeed, such has been the impact of Rangers crisis that many informed commentators and pundits have predicted the demise of Scottish football. What is beyond dispute is that the game in Scotland – in the words of SFA Chief Executive, Stewart Regan - is facing financial ‘meltdown’.
In Mid – December 2010 former Scottish First Minister, Henry McLeish published his report which, among other things, recommended the merging of the Scottish Premier League and Scottish Football League as a governing body, and it is worth reflecting upon what Mr. McLeish actually said in his report which was commissioned in May 2009 by SFA president George Peat.
"My report goes beyond obvious manifestations of underachievement and underperformance.
It asks searching questions about the mindset of the game in Scotland and the structures, mission, ethos and organisation of Scottish football.
Our institutions are amongst the oldest in the world. The burden of history influences what we do and there has been, for far too long, a reluctance to embrace modernisation and make the game fit for purpose in the 21st Century."
The above comments are the less critical ones in a 100 page report that claims the SFA "lacks coherence, focus and a sense of overall purpose, is ill-equipped to deal with current problems and has failed to plan effectively for the future".
This latter comment is a prescient one given the obvious deficiencies that the current crisis has cruelly exposed in the Chief Executives of the SFA and SPL.
After almost two years of inaction by the SFA and the SPL we are no closer to the ‘root and branch’ reconstruction that Henry McLeish recommended in 2010, and the recent cynical manipulation of his recommendations by the SFA and the SPL in an effort to pressurise the Scottish Football League clubs to admit Rangers to Division 1, has served only to alienate the SFL and emphasise the growing divide between the SFA and the SPL, on the one hand, and the 30 SFL clubs on the other.
It is imperative that these matters are addressed urgently, and in a forum that commands respect and will not be bullied or ignored. That forum must be a formal parliamentary/Assembly inquiry, and I urge you to use your good offices to ensure that an inquiry along the lines suggested above is agreed, and convened, as speedily as possible.
I have written to the other MP’s/MSP’s/MLA’s for Scotland/Northern Ireland to enlist their support and I can assure you that thousands of Rangers fans across the UK are also writing to their political representatives in the same vein.
I am happy to meet with you at any time to further expand upon my request and the contents of this letter, and to this end I have attached my contact details.
I look forward to a positive response and to your full support in this important matter.