Neil Doncaster's blog
Change: For the benefit of all
A wise man once said: “He who rejects change is the architect of decay.”
Whilst football can often appear to be hugely resistant to change, the way the beautiful game has evolved over the past 15 years is remarkable, by any measure. But one thing that has not changed is the constant speculation about Rangers and Celtic leaving the SPL. This is one story that has continued to surface, time and again, with monotonous regularity.
There is always going to be an awful lot of emotion around whenever you deal with subjects like this. Change is an emotive subject. And all the more so when you are talking about the possibility of clubs jumping across international borders to join foreign leagues.
What’s in it for them?
Clubs throughout the world have always tended to look at any proposed change from one perspective – i.e. what’s in it for them. And therefore it came as no surprise that the English Premier League announced this week that their clubs “were of the opinion that bringing Celtic and Rangers into any form of Premier League set-up was not desirable or viable.”
Why is this so? After all, Rangers and Celtic both have a worldwide support, heritage and reputation that is the envy of many clubs throughout Europe. But English Premier League clubs, particularly those at the bottom end, will not vote for Celtic and Rangers to be welcomed in with open arms. This is because that would simply put at further jeopardy their own place in the English football’s elite. It’s an attitude which is difficult seeing change in the future.
Change is not to be feared
It was being open-minded about change, about doing something differently from what had happened before, that led to the formation of the English Premier League in 1992. And indeed the SPL itself in 1998. So change is not always to be feared. Any ideas for change, whether it is the introduction of a pyramid system, squad capping, a second division of the SPL, or home-grown rules, should be considered.
Change: For the benefit of all
However, it’s not good enough to react to the prospect of change by simply looking at the way we’ve always done things. All these ideas should be examined on their own merits.
It is also vital, for anyone who has the best interests of Scottish football at heart, that any change benefits the whole of Scottish football – and not just one or two interests within it. We need to continue to develop, to be prepared to embrace new possibilities. But we need to do so without using self-interest as the only yardstick by which to measure the benefits of any change.
The future of the SPL - Together
Some say that all publicity is good publicity – that having Scottish football so much part of the UK sports scene over the past few weeks leading up to the discussion of Phil Gartside’s paper can only be a good thing. Well, perhaps there is some truth in that. But it is certainly helpful that the speculation has now been put to bed.
There is an important job to do – to continue the work that has already been done within the SPL to reinvigorate Scottish football. To build commercial revenues for the benefit of all our clubs. To drive more money into the game so that our clubs can become more competitive within European competition.
There is no doubt about it – together we are stronger. And having all 12 of our clubs fully focused on their future within Scottish football can only help the SPL carry out that role to in the most effective manner.
SPL Chief Executive
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