10 Jul 2012

Your questions ‘answered’ by Football’s governing bodies

Let’s start at home, before our world tour.

Lots of you want to know if the Scottish Football Association (SFA) considers itself bound by Friday’s vote? Curiously, you’d think this would be a yes or no – but nothing in this is simple is it?

If you ask the SFA they say they’re staying out of all this and don’t wish to pre-judge the vote. If there is a vote.

Odd – because the question is will you be bound by it and that does not entail pre-judging anything. It is just a simple, procedural question. Many will find the inability or unwillingness to say in public that the SFA will be bound by the league club’s vote curious. Some will find it ominous.

Let us leave these shores for a moment…

Many of you have been asking for some kind of FIFA/UEFA response to the now general crisis in Scottish football.

Disappointing news

The news that the email address of Michel Platini has been leaked onto twitter can only enhance communication with UEFA and – as someone who regularly publishes my email address – I welcome the leak.

However, those who thought UEFA/FIFA would descend like the cavalry to help, are in for disappointing news.

I sought clarification too from the Scottish Football Association to some of your questions.

It is not easy to get anybody to answer a question at UEFA. Fair play to the SFA, SPL and SFL – they’re an example of responsive efficiency compared to the Switzerland–based body.

To the raft of questions concerning fair play, sporting integrity, financial ruling, liquidation and membership issues, the following response from UEFA:

“Whatever sanctions are taken in the case of Rangers FC are up the the SFA and SPL as they run their domestic game according to the regulations they have passed.

“UEFA rules and regulations apply only to European competitions.”

Or – nuffin to do wiv us mate. Ce n’est pas notre affaire. Wir haben nichts hier zu machen…

And with “Rangers” now “out of Europe for four years” as a senior SPL source said yesterday, UEFA seem to think this is not one for them.

Direct action

Curiously, FIFA appear rather more engaged. Curious, since one might have assumed football’s world body to be a tad more distant.

Asked what involvement – if any – FIFA had they said this concerning recent court action:

“FIFA was in touch with SFA reminding them to follow the general rule that in case a club is seeking redress in front of ordinary court, the Football Association shall take direct action in order to safeguard the principle laid down in art. 64 par. 2 of FIFA Statutes… Other than that, FIFA was contacted by SK Rapid Vienna with regards to an outstanding transfer compensation regarding player Nikica Jelavic.”

So I then asked the following:

1. Does FIFA plan to intervene in any way concerning the ongoing problems in finding a league for “Rangers FC” to play in Scotland?

2. There is great concern from football club chairmen and fans across the country that the football authorities intend forcing Rangers into Division 1 and not Division 3 for commercial rather than sporting reasons which appears to be against UEFA regulations and FIFA Regulations as well.

3. There is widespread concern in the Scottish game that the following principles of sporting regulation may well have been broken namely:

FIFA Article 19

“1. A club’s entitlement to take part in a domestic league championship shall depend principally on sporting merit.

2. In addition to qualification on sporting merit, a club’s participation in a domestic league championship may be subject to other criteria within the scope of the licensing procedure, whereby the emphasis is on sporting, infrastructural, administrative, legal and financial considerations.

3. Altering the legal form or company structure of a club to facilitate its qualification on sporting merit and/or its receipt of a licence for a domestic league championship, to the detriment of the integrity of a sports competition, is prohibited. This includes, for example, changing the headquarters, changing the name or transferring stakeholdings between different clubs.”

Domestic issue

What is FIFA’s response to this?

FIFA’s response to this is that it is nowt to do with them:

“…we would like to highlight that this is a domestic issue which falls under the remit of the SFA, however, FIFA is monitoring the situation and hopes a solution can be found in conformity with the statutes and regulations and which satisfies all parties that are involved.”

Well – you call it. Just don’t count on football’s governors to govern on this, even when it is their rules too, which appear to be flouted.

So let’s come home. What does the SFA have to say in relation to your questions?

Looming large, how can “Rangers” gain league/SFA membership when they cannot produce requisite three years of accounts?

The SFA answer:

” the…policy relates to applications for a new membership. In this case, Rangers Newco will be applying for the transfer of an existing membership held with the Oldco.

Rangers Oldco submitted the necessary financial information for 2009 and 2010. It did not submit for the year 2011, which resulted in the Judicial Panel sanctioning the club a total of £160,000 for various breaches of its Articles of Association, and also imposing a transfer embargo which has been subsequently set aside after the Court of Session ruling by Lord Glennie.”

That is – transferring old to new is not the same as a new club pitching up and wanting in.

We can but continue delving for something more fruitful from UEFA and FIFA – but no breath-holding on this, please.

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