Whatever comes Ian Maxwell’s way in the SFA chief executive job that he took up this week, it is unlikely to prove as onerous as the issues that beset his predecessor.
Stewart Regan must curse the fates that he was forced to deal with the disintegration of Rangers on his watch. Yet, however difficult it was to deal with the Ibrox club’s liquidation in 2012, Regan did not help himself by tacitly admitting the commercial importance of the Rangers brand meant requiring to play fast and loose with sporting fairness.
This was evidenced in Charles Green’s Rangers newco being granted a temporary SFA licence in order to fulfil a Challenge Cup fixture against Brechin City in July 2012 – an unprecedented move necessitated because Green then wouldn’t agree to the transfer of oldco’s membership if it meant the newco being liable for any sanctions arising from the pre-liquidation Ibrox club’s use of EBTs.
Maxwell would not criticise the calls Regan made and the latitude given to Green’s Rangers in 2012 but insisted that were any similar scenario ever to arise again then his approach would be grounded in serving the rules.
“I think that Scottish football needs every club to be performing at its maximum, commercially off the park and on the park too,” he said. “That’s what we all want to see, a competitive league. There will be challenges within that and it’s about making the right decisions at the right time. It’s not one for me to say that we did this when we should have done that, it’s more about looking forward. I’m comfortable that if there are situations that arise going forward, then we will deal with them in the right way.”
That will extend to how the SFA deals with the findings from the independent review into child abuse in Scottish football that are expected to be published imminently.
“My son Christopher played at Cumbernauld Colts, and as a parent first and foremost, you want to make sure that if your son is going to be involved in football at any level it is absolutely safe. That’s got to be fundamental,” said Maxwell.
“In all the time that Christopher has been playing I’ve never seen or heard any reports, it does seem to be mostly historical. The review that we have coming out might contradict that, but I don’t think it will. But, you have to play in a safe environment. The report is going to be a massive issue and a sensitive issue. It’s one that we have to deal with properly. It is going to have an impact right across the game, and we have got to be prepared to manage that in the right manner, and we are.”