So the first half of the year is gone and Euro 2012 is almost over. July is with us and the new football season is just weeks away. But the Sevco saga rumbles on.
This week will be a big one for Charles Green and his attempts to create a new football club from the ashes of the former Rangers. Two meetings will take place and both will have crucial bearings on whether his new company Sevco will operate a team in any of Scotland’s football leagues in the 2012/ 13 season.
The clubs of the Scottish Premier League will meet on Wednesday morning. They will vote on a proposal to transfer the SPL share that allows a club to participate in the league from the former Rangers FC to Sevco. Eight votes from twelve would be required for this to happen.
But the majority of Scotland’s top clubs will vote against – if it even gets to the vote. It might be less humiliating for Green if he simply withdrew his proposal. The idea of Sevco in the SPL is dead in the water. Scotland’s leading clubs, urged on in great numbers by their fans, will put sporting integrity first.
On Tuesday, anticipating Wednesday’s result, the other thirty Scottish league clubs will meet under the banner of the Scottish Football League. They will discuss plans to gerrymander Scottish football with the sole purpose of allowing Green’s Sevco to enter the league structures in the second tier rather than the fourth, which is where all other new league sides have begun their footballing life.
But we are told that there will be no vote on this proposal. Apparently the SFL’s lawyers cannot work out what majority would be required to pass such a measure – and that’s because there is quite simply no provision for such a move within the current rules.
Attempts to find a place for Sevco are now descending into farce. And the name of Scottish football is being dragged down as increasingly bizarre attempts to ignore or rewrite the rules follow one after the other.
The leadership of Scottish football is doing the game a great disservice as those involved continue to advocate for Green and Sevco rather than serving the game as a whole. Once this is over there should be a radical restructuring of the game and a new, transparent and fit for purpose set of structures put in place. And that should leave a few highly paid folk looking for new jobs.
But that’s a blog for another time.
Over the past few days SFL clubs have been studying a document sent to them by Scotland’s footballing chiefs. This attempt to make the case for their grand gerrymandering plan. It promises SFL clubs additional television money if they go along – and threatens them with dire consequences if they don’t.
This cynical effort at bullying clubs into finding a place for Sevco looks to have backfired though – as several SFL clubs have already come out against the plan. While many do see the need for some restructuring of the game they would prefer to see it done properly, and not to have a shoddy half baked proposal foisted on them for the benefit of one not-yet-football-club.
Perhaps the best response to this came in a statement from the Board of Clyde FC.
Now Clyde is a club that has had its own financial troubles over the years. But to their immense credit its Directors have made a clear declaration that sporting integrity and the rules of the game must be upheld.
Clyde rejects any attempts to “compromise the integrity of the SFL” by allowing the newco to join in its top division. And their conclusion on what they call a “hastily cobbled together proposal” is very much to the point:
“The papers include a proposal to allow a Newco to enter the First Division. This is contrary to the rules of the SFL and nothing within the papers justifies this proposal.”
I’m sure many football fans reading this document will agree wholeheartedly with the sentiments it expresses so eloquently. And I’m also sure that many other SFL clubs will share these views.
So what happens now?
If the SFL clubs are unwilling to vote through the gerrymandering needed to reconstruct the game then the executives proposing the plans have a clear choice.
They could press the nuclear button and try to force some sort of breakaway SPL2 including Sevco, which would threaten a schism in Scottish football that would tear the game apart and put the future season in jeopardy.
Or they could admit defeat and deal with the situation in accordance with the current rules of football – which is exactly what many of us believe should have happened from the very start.
Sevco is a new club, or at least it might be if it can sort itself out. If there is a vacant place created in the SFL it should apply to be admitted alongside any other clubs that wish to be considered. This scenario has been played out several times in the past – and so there is a clear procedure to be followed. If Sevco meets the SFL membership criteria and wins a vote among clubs then it can join the third division. If not then it simply has no league to play in.
I hope we are finally reaching the end game in this chapter of what has been a lengthy saga with more twists and turns than your average spy novel. The new season is due to start within just a few weeks and clubs need to know the make-up of all four Scottish divisions so that they can plan for the campaign ahead.
Of course there are still many issues resulting from the maladministration and financial policies of the former Rangers FC to be considered. The investigations and in all likelihood civil cases, and maybe even criminal cases, will progress. We may even one day know the whole murky story of the club’s demise and eventual winding up.
But for now Scottish football needs to take a decision on the short term future of Sevco – and then we can get on with the 2012/ 13 season.