26 Apr 2012

In the 21st century rules apply – even to Rangers

I’ve waited a day or two to write this. And I write on the train from Amsterdam to The Hague to witness the first ever head of state receiving sentence for war crimes.

So everything’s relative. Even Rangers…

And from outwith Glasgow the perspective’s glaring.

Faced with a judicial process at the Scottish Football Association and a due appeal process (active now) to be heard before a retired judge or QC – faced with all that, what does the Rangers manager Ally McCoist do?

Bide his time? Seek appeal advice? Reserve comment on an obviously sub-judicial procedure?

No – he suddenly demands on Rangers TV on Tuesday that the Scottish Football Association panel which imposed a 12 month ban on the club buying players be identified in public.

As an act of such irresponsibility in the current climate beggars belief. Like so many in this drama Mr McCoist goes “public” in an environment where I doubt he’ll never be properly questioned.

Far from letting due process happen and preparing the case for appeal, Mr McCoist chooses a lynch mob approach potentially putting the safety of these people at risk.

It’s an action redolent of the lack of reality, prudence, judgement and moral decency which has characterised so much of a club that’s brought the game into deep disrepute. Moreover, some might observe that Mr McCoist’s inflammatory tantrum is in itself likely to bring the club and himself into disrepute.

Will Mr McCoist be equally “public” in facing up to the responsibility of what he’s done? Given the cowardice of his initial act, you have to say it’s doubtful.

Mr McCoist and Rangers need another reminder that even Glasgow football is now living in the 21st century. Rules get applied – even to Rangers. Outside Glasgow football where else would anyone in normal public life question the independence of the panel as he did – then call for them to he named for the mob? Yet the sheer and obvious outrage his actions should provoke raises little adverse comment in the city. No – so much attention remains focused on the astounding fact that a club that broke rules got punished. Doh!

Small wonder it leaves SFA chief executive saying the rules will be applied without fear or favour. But why should he have to? In any normal world this is a given and accepted. In Glasgow football the man imposing the rules has to say he’ll do his job as if it’s news.

Meanwhile, if I get time in the small matter of a war crimes court, I shall ask the SFA if they intend charging Ally McCoist with bringing the game into dispute for questioning the SFA’s motives, independence and arguably, putting the safety of its independent panel at risk.

Meanwhile… Charles Taylor… Sierra Leone… mass rape… child soldiers… death by machete… and a city and a court where yes, they apply the rules without fear or favour and they don’t feel the need to say so.

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