"Let the others come after us. We welcome the chase. It is healthy for us.
We will never hide from it. Never fear."
- William Struth

On the brink: Scottish football is at Brechin point

Written by: The Ref
Sunday, 10th May 2020

Despite isolation, and social distancing brought about by the COVID-19 crisis which is affecting everyone in society, you would need to have been isolating on another planet, to be unaware of the crisis that currently engulfs Scottish football.

Rangers request for a full independent inquiry into the actions of SFA/SPFL board members, and accusations that representatives of member clubs have been bullied by SFA/SPFL board members have received a varied response. The SPFL are insisting that they have nothing to hide, whilst at the same time, releasing statements warning member clubs of the financial consequences they will face, if they do press ahead with an independent inquiry, and at the same time, burdening some of their own member clubs with the financial penalties and hardship, that relegation, and bringing the season to a premature close would bring.

Accusations of bullying and SFA/SPFL board members putting pressure on member clubs to exert and influence over them, have seen the SPFL release several statements to the media, denying this, and asking for evidence of any such accusations. Sadly, too many people who occupy places in the Scottish media, have sided with the SPFL/SFA and tried to turn this into a Rangers versus Scottish football situation, rather than the reality, which is simply about fair play, honesty, openness, transparency, and the governance of the game in Scotland.

Whilst the focus in the media has been focused on events at the top in Scottish football, it is at the bottom tier where the real evidence members of the SPFL/SFA board bullying and trying to impose their influence on member clubs should be investigated.

The recent joint press release by Kelty Hearts and Brora Rangers on the 8th of May and the subsequent radio interviews by the Chairman of the Lowland League George Fraser, and Chairman of Brora Rangers, William Powrie suggest that a full independent investigation into the actions of some SFA/SPFL board members must happen. For the purposes of clarity, I shall provide a little bit of an insight into the Kelty/Brora/ Brechin situation.

As the current Scottish football season progressed, it became clear that Brechin City were going to be in relegation trouble. It was around that time, proposals were suggested to member clubs of the Lowland and Highland Leagues, which would lead to a redrawing up of the boundaries which place clubs in either the Highland League, or Lowland League should they be relegated. The message coming from Brechin was clear: they would struggle if they were relegated into the Highland League, and they would stand a much better chance of regaining a place in the SPFL if they were granted a place in the Lowland League instead. The first issue I have with that is this: Brechin is in the Highlands, and logistically it would not make sense to place them in the Lowland League: indeed it would make a mockery of Scotland’s own geography to have a Highland team playing in the Lowlands. It is important that you should know who the Chairman of Brechin City is, and his position in Scottish football, if you are to see why these ridiculous proposals were even mooted in the first place.

Ken Ferguson is the current Chairman of Brechin City: Ken served on the disbanded SFL, and is currently the League 1 and 2 representative on the SPFL board. Ken also sits on the SPFL Competitions Working Group and the Scottish FA Professional game board. Ken also has influence in the SFA board, and it is important to note that the SFA run the play-offs which involve the Lowland and Highland League Champions and club 42, which this year, just happens to be Brechin City.

In their joint statement, Kelty Hearts and Brora Rangers allude to pressure being put on Highland and Lowland League clubs. It is alleged that the pressure came in the form of threats to exclude Highland and Lowland League clubs from National Cup tournaments if they objected to the proposed boundary changes. You would wonder who, within the SFA/SPFL would have the power to influence things like this? For these reasons alone, a full independent investigation into Scottish football must be carried out without delay.

In their radio interviews yesterday, both George Fraser and William Powrie drew just short of stating that they were bullied: maybe it was because they are afraid of repercussions. I shall let you form your own opinion on that.

If a board member of the SPFL/SFA abused their position of power within Scottish football to exert their influence over other Leagues by threatening those member clubs of those leagues with exclusion from national cup tournaments, then this alone would warrant a full and independent investigation into Scottish Football’s governing bodies.

Scottish Football is rotten from the very bottom to the very top, and a full independent investigation must take place in order for Scottish football to survive and be able to move forward.


by We must be bolder
by Philip Joseph Gerard White


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