Comment on Accountability via Transparency. by easyJambo.

    The SFA's (Ian Maxwell) response to Bonnyrigg's latest appeal.

    Reply to direct appeal
    “Having checked internally, I can confirm that there is no appeal route available for clubs going through the application process.

    The Board rejected all applicant club derogations as a matter of policy. All applications must be treated equally with the minimum criteria being met in full rather than the Board subjectively deciding which clubs have met ‘enough’ of the criteria enough to allow approval.

    Additionally, in the build up to a new season, leagues and clubs require certainty around their membership to allow proper planning on and off the pitch. Situations where league membership requires to be changed last minute are impractical and must be avoided.

    I appreciate that the floodlighting criteria was added during your application process. We found ourselves in the unusual position of having 12 clubs apply for membership at roughly the same time and had to consider the impact this influx would have.

    One major consideration is the Scottish Cup and we receive consistent feedback from members that postponed/replay fixture dates which, due to a lack of floodlighting, are required to be Saturday afternoons as opposed to midweek evenings are hugely problematic. Clubs are required to cancel league fixtures, with associated hospitality and match income being severely impacted. We have also had issues – one such this season – which meant that a 5th round tie would have to have been played on a midweek afternoon had it gone to a replay, which would have had a serious impact across a number of areas.

    As you are aware the new Scottish Cup broadcasting contract includes televised fixtures in rounds 1, 2 and 3 which will provide an excellent platform for the lower levels of the game in this country. The BBC have the right to choose matches at variable kick off times, which may well require floodlighting at venues given the time of year, meaning that the number of games available for selection could be severely limited.

    Please be assured the decision wasn’t taken lightly. We were aware of the implications for your club in particular and I understand the frustration and disappointment you must feel, however the Board must take decisions considering the impact on the Scottish game as a whole, rather than considering individual circumstances.

    I appreciate this is not the reply you were hoping for however trust you can appreciate the Boards position.”

    The bit I've highlighted is a shocking admission by the SFA that they don't want significant numbers of new members despite their supposed support of the "pyramid". In simple terms, Rod Petrie lied to them at the meeting in April.

    Needless to say, Bonnyrigg has responded with the following statement.

    Direct appeal to SFA rejected.

    As an update to our statement released last week we received a reply from SFA CEO Ian Maxwell yesterday to our direct appeal and are disappointed but not altogether surprised to reveal that it has also been rejected. (Full reply to direct appeal at the foot of the page). This is despite testimonials sent on our behalf by MSPs, our council and not least the platinum Quality Mark Community Club of which we are an associate who have previously represented the SFA at the Scottish Parliament.
    We have invested upwards of six figures in ground and facility improvements at New Dundas Park over the past four seasons, not counting the work completed and substantial capital purchases made by our two main sponsors (The McDermott Group & Grant Fitzsimmons & Son) as part of their sponsorship. It also doesn't count the labour costs which a lot of the friends of the club have given free gratis. A significant element of that investment was with licensing criteria in mind, for example when we had to make several costly adjustments to our changing rooms in order to meet the criteria.
    This is however not the end of the road for us, as despite the labyrinthine nature of the different articles and licensing documents, there is still one option open to us which we are seeking guidance on from parties outside of the club whether to pursue. We owe it to our players and supporters to explore every available option open to us until each of those options have been exhausted. We sold a vision to our supporters at our EGM last March of what the future would look like if we joined the East of Scotland league after 120 years of Scottish Junior Football membership, but the stark reality at present is that we have swapped one glass ceiling for another.
    In parallel we are pleased to announce that we have received planning consent from Midlothian Council today for our floodlights installation. We agreed several months ago to acquire floodlights from Midlothian Council which were previously used at the old Newbattle High School campus and have concluded that purchase as a result of receiving planning consent today. Work will commence early next week on the installation of these floodlights, which means that we will have to forego some grant funding which we could have availed of had we stuck to our original plans. We feel however that it is imperative we have these in place as soon as is possible. G Fitzsimmons and Son are covering a significant portion of the costs as part of their sponsorship for next season and we are extremely grateful for their continued support of the club. There is still a substantial figure to cover so we are asking our supporters and local businesses, indeed any supporters for their help with this by donating to our funding page that we have set up this evening on this link. We are indebted to our supporters for the response received in our fundraising efforts so far.
    People can draw their own conclusions on the reasons given for our direct appeal rejection but at a very high level:
    – On the subject of the Scottish Cup there are seven clubs with National Club License awards that currently don’t have floodlights. In addition there are several other clubs who will enter the preliminary rounds as winners of other leagues/cups who also don’t have floodlights, based on the current Scottish Cup format. We are one of those having won the East of Scotland League (but we will have lights by then)
    – Still on the Scottish Cup the last time an actual game was held on a midweek afternoon was eight years ago. Also under the current format Scottish Cup replays up to and including round 3 are played the following Saturday.
    – Changes made at short notice to the Licensing system is one of the reasons the derogation procedure exists. We were given an undertaking as recently as April at a meeting of Lowland League & East of Scotland League delegates at Easter Road by the SFA VP that derogation requests would be reviewed and assessed based on the requests submitted; i.e. if there were plans in place to meet the criteria. This is completely contrary to what has actually taken place.
    – The biggest concern for all clubs at our level should be paragraph four, where it appears that the board of our national association have taken proactive steps in order to curtail a membership ‘influx’. This has meant that five clubs along with ourselves were denied membership by the actions of the SFA board. This is despite scope to allow up to 200 members, with only 90 member clubs at present. This is completely at odds with the SFA values and their overarching principle to help develop clubs at all levels.
    We should be celebrating our league title, looking forward to a cup final next Sunday against the Lowland League champions and promotion to that league, wondering along with the rest of the country who the next manager of the men’s national team will be and getting ready to cheer on Shelley Kerr’s side at their first World Cup.
    What we shouldn’t be doing is this – it isn’t right, fair or proper.

    easyJambo Also Commented

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    He cites personal/work reasons, although others have suggested it was because he was going to be demoted in any event.

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    Not a huge amount to report on the Grier v Police Scotland case at the CoS this morning.

    Both parties and Lord Bannatyne were content to have the case heard at the CoS. It was previously being heard at Glasgow Sheriff Court.

    There appeared to be some confusion about how the parties wished to proceed, to a procedural hearing, then a summary decree motion, debate or a proof before answer. We didn't get a decision other than a procedural hearing will be scheduled on 12 July, for which both parties were asked to provide notes on the issues they wished to pursue in advance.

    What did come out was that DCI Robertson (remember him) has apparently, as recently as February this year, admitted that errors were made in bringing the fraud / conspiracy case forward against Grier. For their part, Grier's team is still waiting for disclosure of documents requested many months ago.

    As I suggested in a post a week or so ago, Grier, Whitehouse and Clark are all seeking to show malice and lack of probable cause when they were arrested, detained and charged. Reading between the lines it appears that Robertson has acknowledged in the last few months that didn't have an evidential basis for the arrests. I don't know how Police Scotland will seek to defend those "errors" other than they were made in good faith and not malice. The alternative would be to seek immunity from prosecution on the basis that they were acting on the instruction of the Lord Advocate. 

    Police Scotand's QC seemed somewhat put out by something that Grier's team had submitted to the Court about the former Lord Advocate, Frank (now Lord) Mulholland, describing a misrepresentation of Police Scotland's position as "outrageous".

    I'm sure that JC will be along later with his verbatim account of proceedings.


    Accountability via Transparency.
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    Recent Comments by easyJambo

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    Hearts accounts have just been published.

    They show inprovements in Turnover, now up to over £15m, wages at £8.22m and a wage to turnover ratio at a healthy 55%.

    "Benefactors" continue to subsidise the club, this time with £2.25m towards general spending (mainly the continued development of the stadium) and a further £1m towards the playing budget.

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    LUGOSI 15th November 2019 at 11:32

    ……. he kind of gave the game away when he opined that one of the lowpoints was when 12 people failed to find Craig Whyte guilty. I did not attend the Trial but I'm sure Spoutpish did.


    I think he only attended the summing up of both sides as he claimed to be a potential witness in the case.

    His recollection of events is a bit off in any event as there are 15 people on the jury in Scottish trials.

    It was also a majority verdict, but I don’t know how many of the 8 men and 7 women on the jury voted either way. It may be that it was 12-3, so perhaps he was right about 12 finding him not guilty. My own recollection was that it was either 10-5 or 9-6.

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    Timtim 14th November 2019 at 20:36

    Have just seen Queen's Park have voted to become professional , I am devastated , lost for words. They might as well be liquidated , my club just lost its soul. 


    So Rangers is no longer the newest professional club in the SPFL.