Redistribution of Football Income – The Human Dilemma

“Anyone read Michael Grant’s article in The Times? Only saw a pull-quote but the headline is about not everyone cheering for Celtic to European success since the financial windfall will put them too far ahead of the other clubs. It’s that old UEFA distribution thingy. Auldheid had a sensible alternative a while back.”

Thanks Danish Pastry for giving Big Pink the opportunity to nudge me (over a coffee I paid for – so how’s that for redistribution of income? 🙂 ) to blog again on the issue of redistribution of UEFA money whilst he was advocating gate sharing as an alternative.

I recall the redistribution debate being discussed on the first TSFM podcast Episode 1-01 of 9th Feb 2014 which can be found here:

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/scottish-football-monitor/id817766886?mt=2

Listening to it again (I used “View in I Tunes”) I heard many of the recent comments on the previous blog being made in that podcast at or around:

  9.58:   The interdependent nature of the business of football. Why it is different from normal business.

10.50:   Celtic/Rangers leaving the Scottish League making it immediately more competitive.

11.30:    Clubs as a community resource (like museums or libraries not run for profit, providing a community service and staying solvent).

12.48:    People have to let go of the notions that they have held about the nature of football and recognise it is a totally interdependent business.

13.55:    Changing the Champions League format to European and Regional Leagues and raising the standard of all, not dropping standards of one to bring about competiveness.

25.50:   A rethink at the top level with NEW thinking about redistribution of income using Champions League money.

27.50:   The human dilemma.

So rather than repeat what was said originally and very well developed in the comments on the Michael Grant article on the previous blog, I thought I would look at what I think is the greatest barrier to change which was the last item above – the human dilemma. *

 

Modern football reminds me of a description of a scene from hell where a visitor looks into one room and sees an emaciated group around a table on which is set a large pot full of stew. They cannot eat because their arms have been set straight at the elbow and elongated so that they cannot get a spoon in their mouths. It is a miserable place. Then the visitor goes upstairs and enters a similar room with occupants similarly handicapped, but where everyone is well fed and contented. “How can this be?” he asks his guide. “Well downstairs all their energies are spent in the nigh impossible task of feeding their insatiable hunger, whilst up here they simply feed each other.”

The analogy is bent a little but not broken in the sense that there are fat and emaciated folk in the football version of the lower room but it is not a healthy place as the fat can themselves become emaciated over time (see Liverpool and even Man Utd) but, generally speaking, self-interest or rather what is perceived as self-interest, holds sway.

Human nature that causes the human dilemma is well reflected in normal business where dog eats dog, then eats the food of the dog it ate if it comes out top dog. Football however cannot exist on a dog eat dog basis because it is interdependent as a business. Dog eating dog is bad for business because over a period of time even the top dog will die of starvation.

Now without abusing the dog metaphor any further and risk attracting dog’s abuse, why is it that something which should be as self-evident as looking after each other is good for business, be such a hard sell?

I said in the podcast around 12.48 that folk need to let go of the notions they have clung on to about football, but why is that so difficult?

Perhaps the resistance to that change can be found, at least in the case of Celtic, who at present are asked in the current debate to make a sacrifice for others, either in the form of gate sharing or giving up some Champion Leagues winnings (if/when they qualify) can be found in the genesis of the club and the memory of that genesis passed from generation to generation.

Everyone knows that the original purpose that Brother Walfrid had for Celtic was to feed the poor in the East End of Glasgow and many of that poor had come from Ireland to be strangers in a strange land.

As a Calton man born in the Gallowgate, as was my grandfather (my dad was found under a cabbage in Well St) I’ve never really identified much with the Irish context of Celtic’s history, although I do recognise its importance to many supporters with Irish family ties, but that dimension adds a further layer to the human dilemma.

Think of it, you form a football club to raise money to feed yourself because you live in an environment where welcome mats are in short supply. That money raised is YOUR money. Your life depends on it as does your family’s as well as your close neighbour (usually in the same close). How prepared are you to share what income you have had to raise yourself with others who you believe have been less than charitable towards you?

Add that folk memory to the human selfish trait of wanting what you spend on football spent on meeting your own desire, which is to make you happy watching an entertaining and successful team on the park and you get an idea of where the resistance to a more equitable sharing comes from and how deep it goes.

I use Celtic here because they are my club and part of my life experience and I have no idea if other clubs experience that added layer of resistance to sharing, if indeed they are in position to share. But if we are ever to be able to introduce gate sharing or what I see as the easier alternative of redistribution of UEFA geld because in not coming direct from supporters pockets it has less of the Celtic folk memory layer to overcome, then those who will be asked to make a sacrifice have to be given the confidence that the aim is not to impoverish them (and the Celtic community memory of poverty and fighting it is as strong today in the form of The Celtic Foundation, The Kano Foundation and the numerous charity events organised by supporters and prominent blogs) but to enrich their neighbours, but doing so in such a way that they enrich themselves. That is the challenge.

In the upper room in the earlier hellish description, the occupiers present the ultimate example of charity in that in feeding each other they feed themselves.

  • PS the podcast covers other issues that some 18 months later might still be of interest.

 

 

Auldheid

Auldheid

Celtic fan from Glasgow living mostly in Spain. A contributor to several websites, discussion groups and blogs, and a member of the Resolution 12 Celtic shareholders’ group.
Committed to sporting integrity, good governance, and the idea that football is interdependent. We all need each other in the game.

1,442 Comments
  1. wottpi


    torrejohnbhoy(@johnbhoy1958)

    Well indeed.
    I think I saw a quote from Richard Branson the other day along the lines of – your staff are more important than your clients because if you treat the staff well they will look after your clients.

    No fan of shopping etc and while it serves a purpose for many and I was happy to hand over my cash, the SD I visited was a soulless place.

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  2. torrejohnbhoy(@johnbhoy1958)


    wottpi 20th September 2015 at 10:46 am #

    torrejohnbhoy(@johnbhoy1958)

    Well indeed.
    I think I saw a quote from Richard Branson the other day along the lines of – your staff are more important than your clients because if you treat the staff well they will look after your clients.

    No fan of shopping etc and while it serves a purpose for many and I was happy to hand over my cash, the SD I visited was a soulless place.
    ———————————
    I agree with you.I was in the one at the Forge Retail Park and there is a feeling of depression about the place,like everyone is unhappy and just going through the motions.
    That is what I was alluding to in my last post.

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  3. Homunculus

    Homunculus


    I think the Sports Direct use of zero hours contracts probably explains the demeanour and attitude of at least some of their staff.

    I see it as little different to a group of men standing outside of a factory and another man pointing at some of them and saying “you can work today …. you can work today …”

    I can see how it might suit some people, for example students who just want to do a bit of casual work in a bar or whatever, just when it’s available. However it’s no way for someone trying to live a life, get a mortgage, take loans etc. Things most of us have probably done at some point in their life.

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  4. Carfins Finest

    Carfins Finest


    0-3 Aberdeen at Hearts HT. Surely the dominance of Aberdeen FC from the start of the season cannot be good for Scottish Football.

    View Comment
  5. timomouse


    http://www.thefootballlife.co.uk/post/129504570831/why-have-the-sfa-conducted-fewer-tests-for-doping

    On the SFA and their anti-doping record.

    View Comment
  6. The Cat NR1

    The Cat NR1


    http://www.thefootballlife.co.uk/post/129504570831/why-have-the-sfa-conducted-fewer-tests-for-doping

    On the SFA and their anti-doping record.
    ==================================
    The fact that I am not in the least surprised is depressing.
    After the pathetic response to the betting scandal, would anything else have been expected?

    The SFA really do the put “FA” into the effective governance of professional football.
    Perhaps they should be left to control the amateur game to match their amateur approach (why us?, I hear the fans of amateur micro-diddy clubs asking) and get someone else to oversee the higher echelons?

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  7. John Clark


    timomouse 20th September 2015 at 7:22 pm #
    ‘..On the SFA and their anti-doping record.’

    The Cat NR1 20th September 2015 at 7:56 pm #

    The SFA really do the put “FA” into the effective governance of professional football.

    _____________
    These two posts sent me, on a very quiet blog night, on a wee search on a wee search into the origins of statutory-based sports drug-testing.

    It was an interesting exercise in civic self-education!

    UKAD (united Kingdom Anti Doping) company number 6990867 is the agency ( part of the Department for Culture, media and Sport) which is responsible for drug testing in sport.

    Under the ‘what we do’ heading on the UKAD webpage there is this statement

    “It is integral to the nature of sport itself that spectators and participants of all sports are confident that the competition is clean.”

    There’s lots of stuff about the testing of athletes, and banned substances, etc etc.

    But there does not seem to be a word about testing whether the very Governance of a sport is clean!

    A cheating athlete, a cheating football player, a cheating football club-owner is one thing ( aye, ok, three things!) , but a cheating national football association is an altogether much more serious matter.

    Who tests for that?

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  8. The Cat NR1

    The Cat NR1


    timomouse 20th September 2015 at 7:22 pm #
    ‘..On the SFA and their anti-doping record.’

    The Cat NR1 20th September 2015 at 7:56 pm #

    The SFA really do the put “FA” into the effective governance of professional football.

    _____________
    These two posts sent me, on a very quiet blog night, on a wee search on a wee search into the origins of statutory-based sports drug-testing.

    It was an interesting exercise in civic self-education!

    UKAD (united Kingdom Anti Doping) company number 6990867 is the agency ( part of the Department for Culture, media and Sport) which is responsible for drug testing in sport.

    Under the ‘what we do’ heading on the UKAD webpage there is this statement

    “It is integral to the nature of sport itself that spectators and participants of all sports are confident that the competition is clean.”

    There’s lots of stuff about the testing of athletes, and banned substances, etc etc.

    But there does not seem to be a word about testing whether the very Governance of a sport is clean!

    A cheating athlete, a cheating football player, a cheating football club-owner is one thing ( aye, ok, three things!) , but a cheating national football association is an altogether much more serious matter.

    Who tests for that?
    ==========================
    The SFA is a mini version of FIFA.
    In both cases the whole organisation needs to be broken down into small pieces and then put back together with a full understanding of why it exists and what purpose it is supposed to serve.
    At the moment both bodies seem to have taken on an identity and behaviour pattern that is alien to their actual purpose.
    I had hoped (naively) that Stewart Regan would be the catalyst for reconstruction, but he went native with barely a whimper of independent thought (appalling mixed metaphor-sorry) and even the departure of arch-villain RCO has made no difference.

    Who guards the guards, indeed.

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  9. upthehoops


    Re the SFA.

    The print media may be in decline but they still hold significant power in terms of piling on the pressure (or not) within football. While they sit in silence about the SFA that organisation can sit tight amidst their circle of wagons. The fact so many went out their way to protect Ogilvie tells us much.

    I know from personal correspondence the Scottish Government do not care at all about the non-accountability and non-transparency at the SFA despite significant sums of public money heading the way of Hampden.

    the SFA are bombproof, save for the odd occasion a charter flight is screwed up. The media can’t give an inch on this one because they would then have to question so much else that has happened. It is far easier just to dismiss anyone asking questions as paranoid, even when the facts are laid on a plate to them.

    There can’t be a more compromised football association anywhere else in the developed world.

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  10. Allyjambo

    Allyjambo


    While trying to avoid making jokes of the porcine variety, I am wondering if the Tory party will be looking to their establishment friends north of the border for guidance on how to bury a massive story, after it has already broken in the media!

    Or will it prove to be the case that a football club, viewed as a ‘Scottish Institution’ and weilding the ‘threat of civil unrest’, has more power over the media than the man with an army and neuclear arsenal at his beck and call? Not to mention is a ‘friend’ of/to the world’s biggest media magnate!

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  11. John Clark


    upthehoops 21st September 2015 at 7:07 am #
    “..the Scottish Government do not care at all about the non-accountability and non-transparency at the SFA despite significant sums of public money heading the way of Hampden. ”
    —————-
    Your post reminds of a post of some time ago ( I think on the 3rd September)in which the poster ( and my sincere apologies to him/her for not noting the name) drew attention to the proposal by the Scottish parliament that a number of organisations ( private schools, providers of secure accommodation for children , and one or two other bodies)should be added to the list of those already covered by the FoI Act.

    The poster suggested that we could try to have the SFA included in those proposals.( I don’t think there was actually any scope for adding to that list, but in any case the deadline for comments was the 4th September!)

    But it did draw attention to the fact that a mechanism does exist to try to get Parliamentary/public support for having the possibility of the SFA being added to the list, and therefore being much more accountable to the electorate.

    This might be something that could be mentioned at our Perth Symposium as something to be pursued?

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  12. MoreCelticParanoia

    MoreCelticParanoia


    Carfins Finest20th September 2015 at 3:06 pm#

    0-3 Aberdeen at Hearts HT. Surely the dominance of Aberdeen FC from the start of the season cannot be good for Scottish Football.
    __________________________________

    The sooner TRFC are promoted to the SPL to provide Aberdeen with some much needed competition the better. If Aberdeen go on to win the title in their absence it will surely be worth very little.

    On the other hand, winning a first division consisting of largely part-time teams is an achievement worthy of Rangers’ greatest ever manager.

    Can I have some :slamb: :slamb: :slamb: now?

    View Comment
  13. Homunculus

    Homunculus


    It may be worth noting that if the SFA are eventually covered by anything it would more likely be the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 rather than the FIA 2000.

    FISA covers public bodies which are within the control of the Scottish Parliament. We also have our own Information Commissioner.

    The acts whilst covering the same or similar principles are not identical.

    This is the Commissioners website, it explains what people need to know and provides further links.

    http://www.itspublicknowledge.info/home/ScottishInformationCommissioner.aspx

    For example there has been recent consultation on extending the act to additional bodies.

    http://www.itspublicknowledge.info/home/SICReports/OtherReports/DesignationConsultation2015CommissionersResponse.aspx

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  14. Homunculus

    Homunculus


    Wiki has this to say on the different acts

    “Whilst the two Acts are similar in principle, there are some significant differences in implementation; as a rule, the Scottish Act is more strongly worded. For example, the Scottish test for public interest is stated in terms of “substantial prejudice” rather than “prejudice”, which is clearly a higher standard, and imposes a stricter time limit in cases where public interest has to be considered. It contains explicit mention of disability access rights and the duties incumbent on a body which does not have the information requested, both of which are lacking in the 2000 Act, and provides for an objective test (rather than “the reasonable opinion of a qualified person”) to determine if the public interest means information should be withheld.”

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  15. wottpi


    I am aware the blog tries to streer away from referring decisions but on the issue of consistency I wonder what are other folks experience of the inability of officials to pace out 10 yards at free kicks.

    The new disappearing foam seems to have brought more attention to the issue and yesterday both Hearts and Aberdeen fans had great fun watching Bobby Madden doing something of a Cha Cha Cha stutter step (varying in both length and number and yet to reach a count of ten) instead of a distinct manly ten paces.

    All entertaining stuff but surely something that could easily be resolved with the application of common sense.

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  16. tykebhoy

    tykebhoy


    @wottpi as long as the Ref is reasonably accurate and consistent for both teams throughout the match I don’t think it matters too much and its always going to have a degree inaccuracy until they come up with a hand held theodolite 😉

    Another thing the foam highlights is the lack of application of the law on several levels.

    Although it is fairly obvious if the ball is moved back in theory the smaller arc should be a circle completely round the ball as the attacking team can not increase the distance to the wall by movnig the ball back. Similarly its a 10 yard radius that the defence should retreat. I’m not advocating a 62+ yard circumference is marked but when, usually a forward, is standing a couple of yards behind the kick he/she is guilty of encroachment especially if they then becomes active by challenging the recipient of a short pass. This is something I see in almost every game I watch.

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  17. Big Pink


    New blog and new podcast up guys and gals.

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