Blackmail at the SPL and SFA

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In this blog’s previous entry, joy was portrayed as the over-riding reaction to the potential of the TV deal for the Third Division being secured, guaranteeing the lower league clubs a windfall beyond their wildest dreams while sustaining Rangers’ financial future. A TV deal, with the likes of ESPN, Eurosport, ITV, the BBC or even Sky Sports themselves which would allow an outfit the scale of Rangers to continue in existence despite the obvious losses incurred in relinquishing SPL status.
Unfortunately, that joy has been subsequently put on hold as a stand-off between the SPL and the SFL has materialised.
Trapped in the knowledge that the loss of Rangers in the top flight has crucified revenue flow and reduced income levels of Premier League clubs by a million a piece, despite willingly voting for said outcome, these clubs have demanded a piece of the newly-birthing SFL pie. The reported reason is that the SPL cannot secure a TV deal at all without Rangers – without publicly confirming anything, Sky’s omission of SPL matches from its schedules is extremely damning. 

Click the above to see the ‘amended’ Sky Sports schedule as it stands. No SPL.

Without the Govan side, no broadcaster is interested in showing the SPL given the lack of Old Firm matches, and the fact the league will be won before St Andrews day. With this pre-existing knowledge possessed by every man and his dog, said clubs still voted out Rangers. And now licentiously demand a slice of the monetary injection the SFL will receive from the TV deal they will have no trouble securing.

The implications are absolutely staggering. Let us take a moment to recap what is actually being demanded here. SPL clubs, clubs which volitionally voted the newly-formed Rangers company out of the SPL and sacrificed with it the TV deal which Sky have as dependent on Rangers’ presence there are now holding the newco to ransom by demanding they (Rangers and the SFL) give up media rights to the SPL so the top flight can still financially benefit from Rangers.
One league is demanding another one significantly funds it.
Let us take this in and contrive a metaphor which could accurately sum it up; a child, with a job, living at their parents’ home, is suddenly in the position where their parents demand they leave home and find themselves a new abode to reside in. They do so, reluctantly, after being treated extremely poorly and with sheer disdain by those who rejected them. Now, in their new home, they receive a letter from their parents demanding their offspring financially supports their parents, paying their bills for them and sustaining their income. After being hounded out from where they belonged, those who flung them away now expect them to pay for their parents’ upkeep.
It may not be the most potent metaphor ever used, but it sums this situation up. Blackmail? Not yet, but we are getting there.
The next part of this sorry affair, where morals and dignity have been left in the sewer, the backwater that is becoming the Scottish football scene, is of said exaction. The next aspect of the blackmail is the further stand-off between Rangers and the SFA regarding membership and the base right to participate in the simple act of licensed professional football.

At it once again.

The media rights’ stand off does not just involve the SFL and SPL, but Rangers, the SFA, and the oldco Rangers PLC. The involvement of the SFA and the further ‘conditions’ applied to successful application for membership prevail to the point of an expectation of the submission of said media rights in exchange for guaranteed status. Which will also potentially lead to further sanctions such as the oft-mentioned title stripping in relation to the EBT and ‘discretionary’ payments.

What, simply, appears to be implied here, without necessarily being publicly stated, is that the SFA/SPL may ‘lay off’ from the sanctions and allow Rangers membership to the SFL if the Ibrox club concedes said media rights and allows clubs who rubbed salt, lemon, iodine and arsenic in Rangers’ wounds to then be financially sustained. This is the blackmail – clear as day. Even if the sanction conjecture is just that, the blackmail stands.
Naturally, the further complication is this will effectively contravene plans currently made for the financial football year by the club. Quite simply, Rangers (and the SFL) will receive less money than they should under the newly-formed TV deal, and currently planned budgeting (such as the highly-lauded reduction in season ticket prices due to being in a lower league) may have to be swiftly altered to compensate for revenue lost through such an agreement. So, directly, the SFA will end up costing Rangers fans money.
The SFA have already cost Kelty Hearts significant cash after the junior outfit, who had a friendly arranged with Rangers, were forced to concede defeat and postpone the match due to Rangers’ unlicensed status. The Fife side were anything but happy:
            “Programmes have been printed, food ordered, marquee for hospitality etc, so a thanks must go to the SFA for having a negative impact on the top end and lower end of Scottish football.”

Stefan Winiarski, said to be ‘gutted’ at his testimonial being postponed.

The SFA and SPL/clubs continue to bungle the entire situation, and are now resorting to blackmail in order to compensate for their own incompetent handling of it. These organisations and divisions appear wishing to bestow harm and misery, and further punishment upon Rangers, while gorging themselves hedonistically on the revenue the club can generate.

I doubt there is a single example in world football (or indeed sport) of a club being treated by its peers and governing body with the quite abhorrent disdain and disrespect Rangers currently suffer. No one denies the wrong-doing of previous Rangers regimes, but the current one is being persecuted continuously despite all the punishment already suffered.
It is a silly metaphor again, but please indulge me; Tiger Woods did wrong way back when. He made some bad moral mistakes a number of years ago while at the very zenith of golf, and paid for them with a massive loss in earnings, a massive loss of sponsors, a loss of friends, the complete breakdown of his marriage and the demise of his golfing legacy. He also lost a huge amount of respect from his peers and fans, something he still has not mentally recovered from to this day.
Tiger Woods paid for his mistakes, and the golfing world moved on – it recognised his genuine remorse for those errors of judgement and the clear punishment he had suffered. It did not continue to berate him for them, and the punishment ended. The world simply let the fellow get on with his life.

He eventually moved on to #2 in the world. Will Rangers ever been left in peace?

That Scottish football simple refuses to afford the same privilege on Rangers is a very sad state of affairs. That it has now moved onto financial blackmail is quite a poisonous situation.

One has to wonder what immoral state of affairs next awaits the Scottish game.