Supported by her good friends at STV Ann Budge has avoided the main issue over the decision to relocate Celtic’s Betfred Cup semi-final from Hampden to Murrayfield.
Six days after telling the world that they were contractually obliged to stage semi-finals involving Celtic and Hearts at Hampden Park the SPFL announced that they were switching venue.
Once word got out that they were wanting to move the Celtic fixture the hoops board wrote to the SPFL to say that a draw should take place to decide which match gets moved.
With leaks flowing out of Hampden to shape the news it was clear that only one match would be switched- Sevco supporters couldn’t be trusted to travel to Edinburgh giving their club the advantage of playing at Hampden.
After having that request ignored the Celtic board issued a statement:
All we asked for was equity of treatment – in other words, a simple ballot of which game went to which venue, so that all clubs would have a 50-50 chance of playing at Hampden.
We understand that those bodies consulted, including the police and broadcasters, had no preference whatsoever on which match should take place at each venue and, therefore, there was only one appropriate method of reaching a fair outcome.
The SPFL Board have been unable to produce logic or reason for turning down our modest request. Instead, they have arbitrarily decided that a chosen game should stay at Hampden and the other should go to Murrayfield.
Budge was happy to reply to Brendan Rodgers claim that Murrayfield wasn’t a neutral venue, quoting the number of Celtic players to have played at Murrayfield four years ago.
What she wouldn’t answer, and what STV wouldn’t question her on was why one particular fixture was moved and the decision making process that the SPFL went through to come to that decision.
“The SPFL board asked for representation from all four clubs, giving their view on it,” the Hearts chief explained to STV.
“I genuinely believe that as Hearts were drawn out first, followed by Celtic, surely that would normally mean we were the team to play on the Saturday.
“I was told what would override that would be any police and broadcast considerations.
“It has since been clarified that there is no rule that says that happens.
“I personally believe it’s the popular assumption that is what happens, the first two teams play on the Saturday and the second two on the Sunday.
“Clearly, in this instance, it is the Saturday game which had to be reorganised.
“I contended that we had already had the draw and didn’t need a second one.”
Like her manager Craig Levein, Budge chooses to make up assumptions that have absolutely no basis.
In neither cup competition has the match drawn first had the right to play on a Saturday, that decision is made in consultation with the police and broadcasters.
Until someone at the SPFL speaks out about WHY the Celtic match was switched that organisation will have no transparency.
Most supporters suspect that it’s because fans of a certain ‘West of Scotland’ club are likely to cause mayhem if they are made to play outside of Glasgow.
Until the SPFL cobble together an alternative explanation- nine days since the semi-final ties were drawn- it has to be assumed that once again the Ibrox club have benefited from the anti-social actions of their supporters.