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Club Statement: Reconstruction Proposal

The Club has received a set of papers in advance of the SFL meeting on Tuesday. The essential intent behind those papers is to induce the SFL clubs to agree a proposal to allow a Newco to enter the SFL in the First Division in exchange for a range of structural changes to the current set up and some small financial inducements. Some of the proposed changes have merit in principle.

The Board believe that any proposals for change should not be rushed, as these have been. They also have to be done by consensus and not through threat or inducement, again, as these have been.

The papers include a proposal to allow a Newco to enter the First Division. This is contrary to the rules of the SFL and nothing within the papers justifies this proposal.

As a club owned by its supporters and recovering from having been on the brink of extinction, the Board of Clyde Football Club recognise the damage done to the credibility of Rangers Football Club by its successive owners, and the subsequent impact on staff and supporters. These proposals do nothing to restore that credibility.

It is not for us to become involved in punishment, that is a matter for the SPL and SFA. The SFL clubs are being asked to change their rules so that the SPL and SFA can apply sanctions that fit short term financial interests.

It is not for us to tell any club what they should want for themselves, but to enter anywhere other than the Third Division risks Rangers Football Club being burdened with the legacy of commencing its rebuilding in a manner that they later look back on with regret. Rangers Football Club does not need to be handed a competitive advantage, they are more than capable of returning to the SPL via the Third Division on their own merit. Rebuilding from the bottom can restore the dignity stripped from the club by its former owners.

The papers use emotive language to threaten a future of financial meltdown and they carry the implication of the destruction of the game should a Newco not be entered in the First Division. If things are as bad as indicated then Scottish Football is in a far worse state than is being acknowledged. In which case it is time to accept the bankrupt model needs fixed and not supported and perpetuated on the back of this proposal. The fact that other clubs might face similar financial distress because Rangers Football Club enter the Third Division is hardly a reason to compromise the integrity of the SFL and further compromise Rangers Football Club.

Rather than attempting to prepare a soft landing before delivering sanctions, it would be better to contemplate more radical change that might actually underpin financial stability in the long term for clubs that balance their books. Perhaps an amnesty from sanctions for clubs that are forced to face insolvency procedures in the next 2 years as a result of the current turmoil, and an automatic entry to the Third Division for any club liquidated and reformed in similar circumstances. This would allow 2 years to properly restructure the Scottish Game for the benefit of all and undo the damage that has been created by the current structure which encourages club directors to trade integrity for cash, and then spend beyond their means, willingly risking the very existence of football clubs. If we could believe that the game could be less self interested long enough to resolve this, then this, and other far better ideas, might be worth contemplating.

SPL clubs that have openly stated their opposition to a Newco being given immediate access to the SPL have taken the position based on their, and at times, their supporters’ view of what is the right thing to do. However, the vote has still to be taken and proposals such as these are premature. If the SPL clubs vote as indicated on the basis of the increasingly discredited notion of sporting integrity, it would be questionable if the SFL clubs did otherwise.

The reality is that we are faced with unique circumstances and it would be foolish to pretend otherwise. That probably means that compromise for some is inevitable, and perhaps even worthwhile for everyone in the long term. The solution however is not this hastily cobbled together proposal.

The Board of this club sees no merit whatsoever in adopting this proposal.

The documents in question can be viewed below:

Your Game – Your Club – Your Future             • Governance Structures and Voting