Moira Gordon: If SPFL are faultless they shouldn’t fear inquiry

League has tried to fob people off with internal investigation
Rangers called for the suspension of SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster. Picture: Ian RutherfordRangers called for the suspension of SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Rangers called for the suspension of SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster. Picture: Ian Rutherford

It is now a week since Rangers called for the suspension of SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster, pictured, and legal advisor Rod McKenzie and demanded an independent inquiry be carried out into their handling of the rancorous resolution, which was ultimately swayed by Dundee.

In the days since, the SPFL have tried to fob everyone off with an internal investigation. Once again, in trying to extricate themselves from the mire, they only dug themselves in deeper.

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If they are faultless they should have no fear of outside examination. If they are not (which seems highly likely given some of the revelations, which suggest very clear errors in judgement), shame on them.

It’s hard to believe now but there had been some sympathy for the people trying to negotiate an unprecedented situation. Most fans, most clubs and most commentators, acknowledged that it would be virtually impossible to come up with a solution that would appease, if not please, everyone.

But, from Ella Fitzgerald through to Fun Boy Three and Bananarama, the same song has been sung: It ain’t what you do it’s the way that you do it. Doncaster and Co just refused to listen.

Which is why this sorry saga will rumble on, and on, and on. Interminably and tediously until there is no salvaging it. Mud will be slung and everyone is going to be caught in the crossfire. It is Scottish football’s modus operandi.

Amid the raft of statements, interviews and leaked dialogues this week, the game, like a tv crime scene has been placed under a UV light and the findings have been pretty grubby.

Asked if she had any faith in the SPFL, Hearts owner Ann Budge, attempted to cut them a modicum of slack, but they had been so busy wrapping the rope round their own necks, there was little slack to offer.

“I think they made some very poor decisions. I also think that having realised that they maybe misjudged this, they could have said: ‘Actually, we got a couple of things wrong here’. But that’s not common in Scottish football, people don’t generally hold their hands up and say: ‘Oh, we got this wrong’.”

No, they tend to double down or go into hiding, until the wider public are bored into submission by the increasingly petty rows. But the issue never really goes away. As accusation and counter-accusation fills the void left by the absence of a transparent enquiry, that rhetoric sullies everything. It clings to the game like rust; a corrosive blemish that detracts from the good around it. That is not what the people who have been put in charge of our game should be allowing. That in itself is a dereliction of duty.

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Already, quite rightly, there have been memes and comments about the internal enquiry, suggesting that it may not be, let’s say, very rigorous, with clubs likening it to a kid marking their own homework. There is a lack of faith in the process and that kind of enquiry is not going to heal wounds that appear to be widening by the day, possibly even the hour.

Only outside scrutiny will satisfy those who are feeling angry, sceptical and frustrated. Only and outside enquiry has any hope of allowing Scottish football to heal rifts and move on minus the extra baggage currently, needlessly, weighing it down.