At lunchtime yesterday the news agenda suddenly changed. Without any prior warning UEFA announced that the club from Ibrox were being punished for RACIST actions with 3,000 seats out of commission for Thursday’s match with Legia Warsaw #equalgame.
Less than 24 hours earlier Steven Gerrard spoke about the need for a full house generating support for his players against the Polish side. He seems to have been kept out of the news loop with a lengthy club statement published as soon as word of the UEFA sanctions emerged.
Across UEFA and beyond it’s official, Scottish football has a problem with racism.
In most circles that would be a rallying call for action, look at the outcry in England recently over social media attacks on Tammy Abraham and Paul Pogba.
Whatever their personal feelings no corporate body can be associated with racism, to use current terminology it’s a red flag issue. Stop everything and deal with it even if it means calling in the PR and communications experts to launch squirrels and deflect attention towards something cosy and friendly. Something like Everyone, Anyone a few days after you get news of a UEFA enquiry.
Scottish football is led by Ian Maxwell and Neil Doncaster. Two men who make as many public comments as Peter Lawwell and Rod Petrie, men that prefer to hide and pick up bonuses and expenses claims rather than offer leadership.
With a deflection statement coming out of Ibrox the BBC turned to the ruling bodies of Scottish football for their reaction.
The Scottish FA and Scottish Professional Football League have declined to comment.
Next summer the SFA will be rolling out the red carpet to corporate UEFA at Euro 2020, assuming UEFA don’t decide to take games away from an association that shrugs it’s shoulders to issues of racism.
Among the many companies that currently back the SFA are Adidas, McDonald’s, Mars, JD, Specsavers, William Hill, Spar, SSE and IMG.
With the complete lack of leadership perhaps some of those companies will decide to do a Ladbrokes and pull out of Scottish football, perhaps being linked with racism might provide a way out of those contracts.