This proved to be a veritable cornucopia of information about the inner workings of this hitherto secretive group. I immediately hit “Referee news” and was confronted with illuminating articles from Scotland’s finest whistle blowers. I read a comic headline which states; “Collum itching for Old Firm derby”. A previous headlines also intones; “ Dougie McDonald appointed to Europa League match”.
Then the SFA kindly offers to explain to the great Scottish public how the game should be played by proffering “Laws of the Game”. This is a positive gold mine of information where no aspect of the game is left untouched. Whole sections are devoted to such diverse areas as;
“Offside”, “The Fourth official”, “ The Assistant referee” and most interesting of all “Interpretation and guidelines”. In this one section alone there are seventy five pages, complete with diagrams, notes and explanatory notes (clarifying the original notes). On paper at least, Scotland is in safe hands as the rules are set down in black and white.
Unfortunately football is not played on paper, the human element is still needed. Here of course is when it all begins to break down, Messieurs Collum and McDonald have clearly failed to follow the guidelines, rules and missives from H.Q. Somewhere along the line, when confronted with men in green and white shirts, their brains become detached and strange behaviour ensues. They fail to follow the strictures of the SFA, and fail to apply common sense and fairness. As much as I tried, I couldn’t find any reference to these two key components. One would have thought that Mr. Collum who is employed as a teacher, not any old teacher, but a teacher of Religious Education would be well versed in the notions of fairness and common sense. Sadly, he too seems to have been robbed of his critical, not to mention visual faculties when most needed.
As for Mr. MacDonald, he is a proven liar. Not my words, but those of the man who supervises him, who goes under the unlikely name of Stewart Regan. On the SFA site we find the original statement from Regan, who since issuing his hasty words has been forced to conclude that MacDonald did make a mistake, but yet again qualifies his comments by regarding the error as being an honest mistake. Mr. Regan’s contorted words and shifty semantics point to no other conclusion.
An honest mistake, now there’s an interesting concept and also an expression which shows the innate flexibility of the English language.
Expressions like ‘friendly fire’ in war, and ‘natural wastage’ in employment show how essentially bad things can be made to sound better.
An honest mistake basically means that the referee got it wrong, but he didn’t really mean it… er……..geddit?
This bizarre rationale gives as much solace to Celtic supporters as it does to an Iraqi mother when she takes some comfort from the fact that her children have been shot by ‘friends’ rather than foes.
Honest mistakes feature largely in the history of Celtic, in fact Celtic and honest mistakes seem to go hand in hand. Strangely honest mistakes never occur with Rangers, they are just mistakes perpetrated by incompetent officials and non-Scottish elements. The strange tale of Kevin O’Donnell illustrates how people who are viewed as different are given short shrift by the SFA.
Kevin like Mr Collum was a school teacher, from Blackburn, West Lothian. Kevin who died recently, was demoted by the SFA following complaints from Heart’s chairman Wallace Mercer in October, 1987.
O’Donnell’s surname alone was justification for dismissal it seems.
Then there was the strange case of Jim Callaghan in 1969, a highly rated FIFA referee who was suspended for eight weeks after failing to send off John Hughes. Rangers made an official complaint which was upheld by the SFA. Callaghan like O’Donnell, quickly faded from the scene. What links Callaghan and O’Donnell? I will leave that to the imagination of the general public.
Returning to the SFA site, I find the ultimate hypocrisy when I read the “equity policy’. It states;
“The Scottish F.A. (“the Association”) is fully committed to promoting equity. Fairness, justice, respect for each other, inclusion, addressing inequalities and removing barriers are just some of the principles of equity that influence the Association’s development, delivery and decision making. The Association believes that everybody should have the opportunity to participate in physical activity, including sport, and no individual should be discriminated against for reason such as gender, race, disability, age, religious or political belief, sexual orientation or social background.’
Unfortunately the SFA does not practice what it preaches. It believes in covering up the lies and incompetence of corrupt referees. It refuses to rid the game of people whose motives are at best dubious. The SFA has been anti-Celtic from the very beginning of Scottish football.
Celtic has proved that the SFA is corrupt with the removal of Jim Farry,humiliated in a court of law. The SFA is systemically flawed and governed by people with an anti-Celtic bias. Present and past officials prove that to be the case. What sort of justice can Celtic expect when the likes of Hugh Dallas is final arbiter ? Equally, the case of Gordon Smith gives an insight into the minds of the people who control football in Scotland. A former Rangers player with no formal educational qualifications appointed to run the national sport? It could only happen in Scotland.
Finally the Scottish media has yet again excelled itself by waging a disgraceful and orchestrated campaign against Celtic manager Neil Lennon. Traynor, Young, Cowan, et al, despise Celtic with a passion and are prepared to condone any behaviour that undermines the club.
I am still waiting for a definitive piece about the incompetence and corruption within the SFA. The whole stinking edifice is rotten from top to bottom. Celtic is right to proceed with applying more pressure on the SFA, maybe just maybe they might tackle some deep rooted prejudices. I won’t hold my breath.