By Tony Attwood
You would not know it from reading the papers, and even less from watching TV, but football is in total disarray. I’ll try and summarise just some of the issues that are facing the game at this moment.
1: Italy, Finland, Turkey…
Yesterday the Italian prime minister said, “Football should be stopped for two to three years. It is not a proposal by the government but a question I am asking as someone who was passionate when football was still football.
The top man on wanted list Tan Seet Eng, also known as Dan who is said to be involved in match-fixing from Finland to the Baltic nations and in Africa, China and South America.
Players are groomed from an early age – and are given help in how to fix matches as required. The model is that used by Wilson Raj Perumal who is now in prison in Finland for two years, having been convicted last year of fixing games in the country’s domestic league. Perumal and Dan have history.
Dan was linked to the fake Togo team that played against Bahrain in 2010; the two internationals in Turkey last year that resulted in six referees being banned and wholesale match fixing in Zimbabwe.
Meanwhile Juventus stuck their fingers up at authorities and any notion that match fixing was wrong by claiming that they actually won the two lost titles. The Italian FA did nothing to reprimand them.
Confusion is the key word. No one knows what the Company Voluntary Arrangement of Rangers FC (CVA) will yield – normally if a firm goes bust and you are a creditor you know, and so can for vote or against. It is just another bizarre twist in a crazy saga.
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Yet incredibly it now seems likely that Rangers will survive, since they have just won a court case overturning a ruling in which the footballing authorities ruled that the club could sign no new players for a year. Also all attempts by the SFA to suggest that Rangers might be relegated if they reform as a new club have now been thrown out because the rule book is faulty. In short Rangers rule, not the SFA not the SPL. And they will play in the SPL next season without a licence. Which raises the question – why bother with a licence?
The SFA introduced club licensing in 2006 and in order to be granted even the most basic licence clubs must have filed audited accounts with the SFA by March 31. Rangers haven’t.
SPL secretary Iain Blair last night admitted that he and his colleagues cannot insist that their members must meet even the minimum conditions stipulated by the SFA, saying, “It is not a requirement of the SPL for members to be in possession of a licence from the SFA.”
I almost feel like writing that twice. Just pause and think of the chaos that rules in Scotland. OK I will run it twice. “It is not a requirement of the SPL for members to be in possession of a licence from the SFA.”
Following on like little puppies the Scottish League confirmed that Rangers would be allowed to enter next season’s League Cup without the SFA licence. And the SFA said Rangers can play in the Scottish Cup, even though licensing laws Article 35 say they should not.