This is a Celtic website and we only write about matters that are prescient to our club. I was therefore reluctant to write a piece about the behaviour of the CEO of another Glasgow based side however, as the details below impact directly upon our club I needed to write a piece that asked; Mr Robertson – WTF?!?
To use the phrase of the moment, we are living in unprecedented times. With regards to football the choices are tough. Voiding the season is not an option. I don’t know all the detail but I understand it would potentially be utterly catastrophic financially with everyone from fans to shirt sponsors and TV money entitled to money back. That therefore means that football is faced with either calling the season now or hoping to complete the season at some point.
We have already reviewed on here all the challenges of kicking the can down the road with regards to European competition and all the various domestic contracts that are in place, the most pressing of which appears to be the highly lucrative new Sky TV contract which comes in to place on 1st August – no football from the current season can take place on or after that date. That leaves the football authorities with the dilemma of calling the league now or waiting until the last moment.
Waiting to the last moment gives Celtic what we want. We want the season to play out. We want to confirm our title credentials on the pitch. No ifs, no buts, clear and unequivocal champions. The problem for the league is that we are nearly at the point of no return. The lockdown continues are is likely to be here until the end of April at least. The clubs have identified that 4-6 weeks of training would be required before the season starts and this ignores that issue of many foreign players being back home and travel restrictions likely to prevent many coming back in the short term. Additionally, no-one expects that these games could take place in front of spectators. In short, the best timetable clubs envisage would be 3 games a week through end of June and all July to squeeze in the fixtures before 1st August. Few doubt that will happen and the longer we take making a decision, the longer it takes to divide out the league funds and the closer we get to clubs failing.
With void not an option and a fixed deadline of 1st August looming, the league have made a proposal for “calling” the competitions. Belgium have already done it and Holland are awaiting a likely UEFA U-turn before following suit. The SPFL board met on Tuesday via video calls and made a proposal to the clubs and this is where it all gets very weird for Mr Robertson of RFC.
According to the SPFL website, Elected to serve on the 2019/20 SPFL Board, alongside SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster, chairman Murdoch MacLennan and independent non-executive director Karyn McCluskey, were: (From the Premiership) Alan Burrows (Motherwell), Les Gray (Hamilton Academical), Stewart Robertson (Rangers). From the Championship: Ross McArthur (Dunfermline Athletic), Graham Peterkin (Ayr United) and from Leagues 1 & 2 Ken Ferguson (Brechin City).
This board then agreed on a proposal which was put to the member clubs. Immediately after the proposal was made, RFC (whom SPFL board member Robertson is CEO of) make a counter proposal, however despite public pronouncements, they only formally ask for this proposal to be circulated to other clubs at 10:18pm on Thursday.
The proposal was reviewed by lawyers for SPFL board (remember this is a board Robertson sits on) and they say the proposal is not competent. Today (Good Friday) the SPFL board (of which Robertson is a member) criticises the RFC behaviour and proposal.
Patently from all of this, the RFC proposal was NOT an option discussed by SPFL board. If Robertson thought it was so pertinent as to immediately propose this straight after SPFL announcement, then why not propose it as a board member?
Additionally, in their Thursday statement RFC question the corporate governance of the SPFL board (remember, this is a board Robertson sits on. Remember SPFL board member Robertson is CEO of the club that just questioned the corporate governance of that board!). Surely Robertson either agrees with the principle of collective responsibility and should resign if he cannot countenance agreeing with the board proposal or he has grave concerns about corporate governance of the board he is a member of and should resign. Either way – he should resign.
I understand the need, for PR reasons, for RFC to pander to their support but honestly – WTF with Robertson?!?!