Monday, December 19, 2005

The Corrupt State Of Scottish Football

When I started this blog, it was necessary to enter a blog description. As part of my description, I included the phrase 'Occasional comments on Glasgow Celtic Football Club, and the rotten, corrupt state of Scottish football.'

The word corrupt is a pretty strong one, and to understand where I was coming from, it may be instructive to pay a visit to the definition of the word corrupt.

1. Marked by immorality and perversion; depraved.
2. Venal; dishonest: a corrupt mayor.
3. Containing errors or alterations, as a text: a corrupt translation.
4. Archaic. Tainted; putrid.

Whilst I certainly think that Scottish football can at times be described as immoral, tainted, and putrid, my main interest is in the venal and dishonest.

The game in Scotland is administered by people who gain a lot from the game, but offer little in return - which certainly meets the definition of venal. I'm thinking here of the faceless suits who finagle their way into office bearing positions, and gain access to worldwide junkets financed indirectly by the season ticket holders at clubs across Scotland.

Scotland will not have a football team at World Cup 2006, but I guarantee we will have some men in suits there, and probably their wives too. They will fly business class, stay in expensive hotels, and dine in fine restaurants.

More importantly, in my eyes, there is a huge amount of dishonesty prevalent in the refereeing of the game. Dishonesty not in the sense of results being bought, but dishonesty in the sense of a complete refusal to accept any error or misjudgement on the part of those who officiate.

It seems to me those in power recognise that any admission of incompetence by the men-in-black on a Saturday, might reflect on their own shortcomings, and provide ammunition for those who seek an overhaul of the entire game.

The SFA tends to rule in the manner of an extreme communist regime, where control is centralised and no failings are ever acknowledged.

Proving this inherent dishonesty is usually rather tricky, as most incidents fall into the category of 'calling it as he saw it'. The defence which is usually deployed goes along the lines 'The referee only sees it once, and can't be faulted if he saw it wrong. He doesn't have the benefit of TV replays.'

The fact that everyone else in the stadium saw the incident differently without recourse to a TV replay is of no consequence to those in control.

As part of their ongoing PR campaign to protect referees from criticism, the SFA introduced the Whistleblower website.

This site is trumpeted as tackling head-on any controversial decisions, with the referees themselves explaining the decision. 'Explaining' in SFA terms, being a synonym for 'justifying'.

What this means in practise, is controversial incidents which the referee got wrong are either ignored, or reinterpreted, and controversial incidents where the referee got it right are highlighted.

Except this weekend, the SFA are damned by their very own words. The incident in question concerns a penalty awarded to Inverness Caledonian Thistle in their game against Celtic.

The penalty was controversial for two reasons.

1. Many observers felt it was not a penalty. The suggestion being that Inverness Caledonian Thistle player Craig Dargo dived, when tackled by Celtic's Stephen McManus.
2. The penalty having been awarded, some people claimed that McManus should have been yellow carded, and consequently sent off for a second yellow card.

The Whistleblower site, as expected, completely ignores reason 1, as that might imply criticism of referee Stuart Dougal, and instead focuses on why Mr Dougal did not send off McManus.

In doing so, they damn themselves with their own words. The words in question being a DIRECT QUOTE from Stuart Dougal.

The key quote is

On the penalty incident which Dougal said was "impeding rather than a physical or brutal challenge"

Note a direct quote from Stuart Dougal, that the punishable offence was 'impeding'.

Mr Dougal then goes on to say, again in a direct quote, 'Given the position of the infringement and the type of offence, the award of the penalty was sufficient. A foul yes, a penalty kick yes but a cautionable!'

Now see Law 12 of the Laws Of Football, as documented on the FIFA website.

'An indirect free kick is also awarded to the opposing team if a player, in the opinion of the referee:

plays in a dangerous manner
impedes the progress of an opponent'

Further, see Law 14 of the Laws Of Football, which states 'A penalty kick is awarded against a team that commits one of the ten offences for which a direct free kick is awarded, inside its own penalty area and while the ball is in play.'

So, in the section of the SFA website dedicated to explaining the actions of referees, Mr Dougal has admitted that he incorrectly awarded a penalty to Inverness Caledonian Thistle, when in his own opinion the offence which was committed merited only an indirect freekick.

The usual 'called it as he saw it' defence cannot be brought to bear, since Mr Dougal himself admits to calling it differently to what he actually saw.

Yet somehow this blatant misapplication of the laws of the game is completely ignored. Not only did Mr Dougal get it wrong at the time, he is getting it wrong on the official SFA website, and his comments pass without challenge.

In doing so, the SFA confirms the corruption of the Scottish game.


whitedoghunch said...

appreciate the information and work.
This season in particular has seen me take of my green tinted glasses and move away from the biased offical slant to realise they are just incompetent. I am sure some of them have an agenda an like the fame and some are trying their very best in a difficult situation.
But the standard of refereeing and the culture of the organisation that is the SFA /SPL is cuban without the health care and no cigar.

deliasmith said...

Well done. Have you asked the SFA to comment? Let us know if they get in touch, or if the Whistleblower site comes over all coy.

Weeron said...

Excellent analysis. pity Dougal didn't look closely enough at the video to note that:
a) McManus played the ball on the first tackle; and

b) Dargo clearly dived on the second one.

Excellent site....well done!

Div said...

Hi guys, thanks for the comments.

I have emailed the SFA to ask for their response. I will post an update if they get back to me.