By Tony Attwood
As I have said many times, football in England doesn’t do leadership. Nor, perhaps coincidentally, does football in Scotland.
England’s Premier League clubs are about to have a day of discussion about what happens next and certainly, at this moment it is not clear where this is going to go. The reason, obviously, is the lack of any disaster contingency planning. And I don’t mean planning for this disaster, but any disaster. Disasters, after all, do happen.
Meanwhile, Scotland’s football establishment have eschewed England’s “muddle along” model for one that appears to be primarily based on bullying and denial.
It is worth taking another look at where Scotland has got itself, as football in Scotland has just got even stranger. And I know this has nothing to do with Arsenal, but I do hope you might spare a moment to consider this, because it is quite extraordinary – an a perfect example of how not to run an organisation.
Rangers have demanded the suspension of their League’s chief executive, and of their legal adviser and are trying to trigger an enquiry. The directors have told the clubs not to ask for an independent investigation into the way the current crisis has been handled.
Which is disturbing, but then there was the Gretna case where the Premier League’s executives argued against loaning money to clubs currently in difficulty, on the grounds that the last time they did that (lending money to Gretna) the clubs never got their money back. Yet there is no record in any of their accounts or Gretna’s accounts that any of the League’s money went to Gretna at all! (Still, facts, you know, pesky things, mere detail…)
Now Inverness has contradicted a claim by the Scottish Professional Football League’s chief executive, Neil Doncaster, that no club had made allegations of bullying in terms of the vote in which the three Scottish divisions below the Premiership being curtailed.
“Without going into the specifics at this time, please know we will testify to the bullying and threats made against our club on Friday 10th of April by an SPFL board member and the threats against others by the same SPFL board member. These threats were ‘reported back to the centre’ and to the SPFL CEO directly on the day with evidence. These were threats and not robust conversations.
“It is also bemusing to hear them so publicly state they are unaware of any threats or bullying during the period of the 9th or 10th of April when the CEO knows what happened as it was reported to him. They continue to accuse anyone who spoke out against this take it or leave it offer as having an agenda which should be questioned!”
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Strong stuff and these examples (Rangers, Gretna, Inverness) all happening together show an organisation is total meltdown, and yet in the English media although they get a mention they are hardly drawn together – yet they should be because they reveal a totally dysfunctional organisation.
Today we will see what happens in England where the last time the Premier League put out a statement it was to reaffirm a commitment to ending the season while “maintaining the integrity of the competition” (whatever that means).
But there is no consensus at all in terms of how to do that, nor despite the initial statement if that should be done. There is also no indication of any solution to the problem of fans attending matches – even if not played at their local ground.