Campbell Ogilvie seeks Rangers talks and says: ‘I’ve not been doing my job properly’

Ogilvie: To seek talks with Rangers owner Charles Green. Picture: SNS
Ogilvie: To seek talks with Rangers owner Charles Green. Picture: SNS
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CAMPBELL Ogilvie is to seek talks with Rangers chief executive Charles Green in a bid to repair the currently fractious relationship between the Ibrox club and the Scottish football authorities.

Green is due to attend another SFA disciplinary hearing at Hampden on Thursday after being cited for calling into question the integrity of the SPL’s Independent Commission into the alleged use of illegal dual contracts by Rangers as part of the Employee Benefit Trust scheme previously employed by the club.

The SFA have also come under verbal fire from Green recently for their role in the proposal made to Rangers, and rejected by the Yorkshire businessman, to accept the stripping of titles as punishment for dual contracts in exchange for a place in the First Division of the SFL.

SFA president Ogilvie has not been part of any of the governing body’s involvement in the Rangers crisis, due to a potential conflict of interest from his previous job as the Ibrox club’s general secretary when he was a participant in the EBT scheme.

Ogilvie admits it has left him unable to fully carry out his duties as SFA president and he is now keen to try and facilitate peace talks with the outspoken Green.

“Over my years in football, it is not the first time a club has had issues with the governing body,” said Ogilvie. “I wasn’t party to the discussions which took place over the last six months. I’ve been standing back from it, which has been awkward for me because I feel that, fundamentally, I’ve not been doing my job properly.

“One of things I would certainly like to do is sit down with Charles Green. I haven’t even met the man yet. As I haven’t spoken to him yet, I can’t really quantify the depth of his feelings.

“Rangers is one of the two biggest clubs in the country and I believe that by speaking to people, issues can be resolved. In my position, I should be sitting down with all clubs throughout the game. So I’d like the opportunity to sit down with the chief executive of one of the biggest clubs.

“I’ve felt I haven’t been doing my job in many ways over the past six months as I couldn’t take part in the debate. So I would be delighted to sit down with him and open up that avenue for debate.”

Ogilvie, meanwhile, has stressed again that ongoing discussions over league reconstruction in Scotland are not geared to providing Rangers with a quicker return from the Third Division to the top flight. He did confirm that Scottish clubs’ participation in a proposed pan-European league structure is on the agenda.

“League reconstruction was on the table a long time before Rangers were in the Third Division,” added Ogilvie. “As I’ve said before, there is no plan in place to fast-track or short-circuit anything. Teams will have to earn their way and work through the system.

“We have to get the structure right. We can’t keep saying every two or three years that we’re not happy with the current structure. It has to be a lot more sustainable than the one we have at the moment.

“We had taken this so far up until around February and March and then other things, which everyone is well aware of, started overtaking the league reconstruction debate.

“In my opinion, we have lost some ground. There has been a bit of a fall-out over the last few months, with emotions running high. We now need to bang heads together and get the short to mid-term sorted out first of all.

“But moving forward, we were at a Uefa meeting a year ago and there was a Supra-
National League talked about. In the past, we had the North Atlantic League talked about but which never got off the ground for various reasons. But this is a debate which will be part of our debate moving forward.

“The big change for me is that Uefa have now opened the door to these discussions. Holland and Belgium have already done it with their women’s game, splitting the season between half domestically and the other half with the teams from both countries in one competition.

“These things can be phased in. There could be cup competitions with different formats adopted. We have to open our minds up to various ways the game can be taken forward, not just within the confines of how it was structured in the past.

“Things have changed in football. The economics have changed and people’s social lives have changed. But when you look over the past few decades, what have we actually changed in league football? It is only debate at the moment, we haven’t gone into it in any depth at all. I would say this model would be looked at. It is a case of balancing domestic football with another type of pan-European tournament.

“More people are willing to open up the debate and look at ideas that haven’t been looked at before. If you go back to the 1950s, when they brought European football in in the first place, there were big clubs opposed to it. But things evolve.

“Yet in the 40-odd years I’ve been involved in football, we have changed league structures and the number of teams, but what else have we actually changed? The fundamentals are still pretty much the same. We are going to have to look at other opportunities. Uefa have laid down certain criteria which have to be met, but they have opened up their minds. It is a wider issue across Europe now.”