SFA needs a whole new game plan

GORDON Smith’s resignation as chief executive of the Scottish Football Association after just three years in the post cannot but throw a searching spotlight on the organisation and its failure to effect reform where it matters.

Smith has left one of the most prestigious positions in Scottish public life, frustrated at the lack of support for the changes he believed were necessary. With no fewer than ten standing committees, and with vital reforms having to grind their way through this bureaucratic treacle, the governance of Scottish football has become stuck in the past.

With an in-built resistance to the reforms needed to revive the game and dig it out of the rut into which it has fallen, no new chief executive, however dynamic, can hope to effect change unless there is a radical recasting of the SFA. George Peat, the president who has been handling chairman duties, now holds the reins – a prospect that hardly suggests a new era is about to dawn. A clear-out of the Cling-ons is surely now in order, similar to that which was required at Scottish rugby. It was deeply unpopular at the time but necessary in order to enable a credible national team to be put together.

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No magic wand can conjure up a new national football team. But to create a spirit in which cohesion and confidence can be built is going to need wider change at the SFA – preferably before it burns up yet more executive talent in sticking to the old ways.