Date: 7th May 2008 at 8:49pm
Written by:

The recent announcement by the SPL of re-arranged fixtures (and a four day extension to the season) to help Rangers manage preparations for the UEFA Cup Final, alongside their domestic fixture backlog, has come under fire from all quarters recently.

Despite having no interest in the fortunes of either Old Firm club, I can see why Rangers feel concerned at their ability to be fully prepared for the Manchester Final when the SPL have told them to play 3 league games between the start of May and the UEFA game itself. Two Scottish Cup replays have meant that Rangers have not been able to ‘catch-up’ their SPL games in April.

Contrast this with the Russian FA who have postponed two of Zenit St.Petersburg’s domestic games until after the Final.

Some fans may just say ‘tough’ regarding the Rangers situation – success in four competitions has its price, and a club such as Rangers should be more than capable of maintaining a big enough squad to cope with this.

Basically, I agree with this point of view, especially since Rangers added to their current problem by requesting that a game against Gretna be postponed in March to aid their Euro hopes. However I also see nothing wrong with our legislators making a decent and honest gesture of assistance, since the whole profile of Scottish football is raised in the eyes of UEFA through the participation in a final of a Scottish team. However to make such a gesture ‘on the hoof’, and with no transparency, just makes those who claim to promote Scotland’s footballing interests look amateur and incompetent.

Surely it would be sensible for our authorities to have a permanent rule in place, clear for all to see. Something along the lines of:

‘In the event of a Scottish club reaching a European Semi-Final or Final, all SFA or SPL fixtures involving this club within the preceeding seven days of such a semi-final or final shall be postponed, and only played once the club no longer has any outstanding European fixtures in that season. Such postponements shall NOT be permissible for rounds prior to a European semi-final.’

This would remove any accusations of bias towards (or against) whichever OF team next makes a Final, and it would acknowledge that the SFA/SPL were making a decent recognition of such an achievement. And if it means extending the League season by two weeks? well…so what?

I mean, football decision-making doesn’t affect people’s health, quality of life, or job security. It’s actually just a GAME for goodness sake, albeit one which causes hundreds of millions of pounds to flow through the Scottish economy.

Actually, Scottish teams have been involved in eight European Finals over the space of 47 years (four for Rangers, three for Celtic and one for Aberdeen) – that’s one Final every six years on average, which is impressive for a small country like ours. That’s even more reason for the SFA/SPL to have already come up with a clear rule. MrH wants to know where Dundee United in 1987 fit into this total?!

The SFA/SPL also failed to earn much respect following the tragic death of Phil O’Donnell – applying ridiculous logic to cancel the next Motherwell game and the OF derby, but NOT Dundee Utd’s next game (they were the opponents on the day he collapsed). They cited a paltry excuse for cancelling the OF game – something about O’Donnell being ‘part of the extended Celtic family’, despite him having left in 1999. Many suspect this was just a front to cover up the real reason – which was to avoid a potentially embarrassing reaction from some Rangers fans during a tribute at the OF game.

Hang on – did I really just write an article promoting the interests of Celtic and Rangers? Aaaarrrrgggh … time for my medication!


16 Replies to “SFA / SPL – Beacons Of Incompetence?”

  • Must say I like the idea of having something set in stone about the eventuality of a club reaching a European final – get your suggestion copyrighted as it may well happen! As for the seven Euro final appearances, should that be eight SH, or have you counted too many in favour of Rangers?!

  • Oooopps… should have realised that sloppy journalism may tolerated at the Hootsman, but not at VitalHearts. Even worse because I was at most of their Euro home games that season !!! So that makes 9 finals … even better.

  • Rangers were in 2 finals (losing both) in the 60s, then winning in 72… plus next weeks game Celtic had 2 losing finals, plus 1967.

  • I absolutely agree that there should have been something written in the rules to accomodate this situation – but then that just confirms what a bunch of no-hope amateurs are in charge of our game. On the other hand this season has been fraught with unforseen difficulties which have all combined to bring us to where we are and the powers that be have found themselves in a bit of a no-win situation. Mind you – I’ve just described dreadful Scottish winter weather as unforseen so perhaps I don’t know what I’m on about! Roadrunner has a good point about cup replays.

  • Nice idea in principle about the fixed rule SH, but it would mean that no groundstaff, coaches, players, managers, tea-ladies etc who are connected to any club in the top flight could book a holiday during their 4-6 weeks off at the end of the season… just in case some other team might luck themselves into a European final. In other words, it won’t happen.

  • They are the makers of their own misfortune. Failure to beat.. with all due respect… diddy opposition in the cups and then the audacity to reschedule the Gretna game in order to prepare for the 3-0 embarrassment at Ibrox.

  • BTW Mr.H there has been a reply with regards to the anti Irish prejudice on our site, the Boruc article, a couple of comments up from the bottom. I think its a fair point.

  • Oh no. I’m not demanding that you look immediately or anything like that, just to let you know that there is one and its only natural you have the right to reply.

  • Just responded over there RK. Think the guy was a bit sensitive due to his origins actually being Irish, but I wasn’t having a go – just asking an honest question.

  • Fair enough I’ve just read it and I’ll leave it between your good selves. I’m Irish anyway so i can’t speak on behalf of my Scottish friends. One thing i will say though is that, for some reason many countries are proud of their Irish roots. American for example, the largest St Patrick’s day parade in the world.

  • The Americans are kinda similar when it comes to Scottish-ness too. That might be because of their own lack of heritage right enough!

  • Well to be honest I think its safe to say they celebrate their Irish-ness more than any other nationally they claim to have. Which seems to be just about every nationality under the sun!

Your Comment