Following recent reports that two prominent journalists in Scotland have been “working” to link Rangers to the child abuse scandal that has largely been focused on Celtic and Hibs, it should come as no surprise that The Sun on Sunday yesterday made desperate attempts to do just that, with a story alleging that one former Rangers youth coach abused a Rangers youth.
The blogger “the man the bheasts can’t tame” has quite clearly identified that the journalist in question, Marcello Mega is working to an agenda.
Once again, “the man that” has nailed an individual hell bent on trawling the gutter to try and equate Rangers to the shame across the city.
I have written recently about the standards that Scotland’s main stream media need to achieve, if they are to maintain any level of integrity. It should not be the case that a professional journalist is attempting to mitigate a scandal by indulging in a scummy piece of whataboutery to move attention across the city.
Doing this is fundamentally opposite to what a journalist should be doing, particularly if he is not a reporter, but an investigative journalist who has free reign and additional resources to dig out real stories.
The prospect of any child being exploited by any football coach is disgusting, and the sad thing is that it happens, and it happens where the perpetrators can get away with it.
What the public expect is legislation strong enough on organisations to ensure they take every possible action to protect children in their care, and a responsible attitude that ensures any allegations are taken to the Police.
Of course, we now know that over the last 30 years Celtic, Hibs, and Partick Thistle have had abuse allegations put to them, and elected not to inform the police. Furthermore, Celtic and Partick Thistle have persuaded parents not to pursue complaints against the individuals concerned and the clubs.
Let’s be absolutely clear, the measure of an organisation is not in failing to spot abuse taking place, but in doing the right thing in reporting the alleged perpetrator to the Police, and ensuring that the football world know.
If it ever comes to light that Rangers have conducted themselves in the same manner that the aforementioned clubs have, I would be disgusted.
Failing to act, which can result in further abuse is unacceptable.
That applies to any club, including ours.
Frankly, if our club has ever done this, I will never darken the doors of Ibrox again
I can categorically say, I will not act like some of the disturbed fans across the city who have spent years denying what their club has done, while still supporting these organisations.
Frankly, I think those fans are every bit as reprehensible as the managers and Directors who turned a blind eye.
The SFA’s part in ensuring the right level of investigation in to historical allegations, and the necessary governance to prevent reoccurrence does not instill a level of confidence such a serious topic requires.
The appointment of Martin Henry to the SFA “independent” review panel, is not the most inspiring choice, with abuse victims charities “Open Secret” and “White Flowers Alba” both expressing concern over his suitability for his role
Henry, who worked on the safeguarding advisory group at the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh, an organisation not best known for turning allegations over to the Police can hardly inspire confidence that the game in Scotland is ready to confront and punish abusers along with the Police force.
Recent reports have suggested that up to 3500 youth football coaches in Scotland have not been enhanced disclosure checked.
As a concerned parent, I think the governance of youth activity is wholly inadequate, and the SFA, Media, Scottish Police, and SNP Government need to stop shifting responsibility, indulging in whataboutery, and get on with protecting our children. Nothing else should be acceptable.