Posts tagged ‘Scottish Premier League’

The Blame Game

Perth Glory find themselves once more in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. The club having received its second show cause notice from the Football Federation of Australia.

This is no surprise to many. The first show cause notice being issued in December and we covered this in our piece FFA Backed Into A Corner. 

At that time Perth Glory CEO Jason Brewer and coach Kenny Lowe were locked in a room working out the best way to respond, a move that implied the coach was aware that the club’s administration had breached the $2.55million salary cap. At the time he managed to stay focussed on the job and results continued to go the club’s way. A dip in form until Josh Risdon’s winner against Western Sydney Wanderers maybe showed that the off field issues were beginning to take their toll.

Maybe the realisation has dawned on some of the players that if they have indeed been receiving money “under the table” has huge tax implications. Implications that could lead to a spell in prison if the Australian Tax Office feel that they have been deliberately defrauded.

Perth Glory have been asked to respond to allegations on the following issues: Payments outside of the Standard Player Contract, Payments to a player’s family member, Payments of player agents’ fees, Payment of a third party sponsorship, Pre-payment to a player, Payment of travel costs, Accommodation allowances, and Provision of motor vehicles.

Interesting there are at present no mentions of players being paid into overseas bank accounts, which a club insider has alleged has happened. With the Australian Tax Office giving people a moratorium recently to declare earnings overseas that are paid into a foreign bank account one would hope that the players made the relevant declarations. With new communication between a number of countries if this has indeed happened, then these earnings will soon be found.

Looking at the FFA’s questions who is to blame? The players for accepting the payments? The player agents for encouraging the club to make such payments? The CEO? The Owner of the club? Or maybe the FFA for continuing with the salary Cap?

Word is that the CEO Jason Brewer will be the man to fall on his sword and that is to be expected if the club is found guilty of the breaches. It has been reported that owner Tony Sage has distanced himself from this latest scandal. Yet his CEO Jason Brewer said on Not The Footy Show, when we were on air, that he had daily conversations with Tony Sage. That being the case surely he would have advised the owner as to the arrangements that had been negotiated between players and the club?

Of course the FFA’s investigations are not purely into this season. Which brings into question Mr Sage’s choice of CEO’s and the fact that when the club had a purge on staff following the infamous Hatt Report they removed the one man who understood the FFA salary Cap rules. Maybe that was where everything went wrong?

There are many who believe that the Salary Cap is in fact to blame. The reasons for its implementation made perfect sense. The idea being to have all clubs operating on the same level and not extending themselves beyond their means. The trouble is the club have to spend the money. The end result is very average players are being paid more money than their talent warrants. The knock-on affect of that is it pushes up the expectations of other less talented players.

Another example and in Perth Glory’s case advocated by the FFA is that of the Marquee player. The FFA broke its own competition rules to allow the Perth Glory to upgrade captain Michael Thwaite to a Marquee player status; section 7.23 “A Club cannot 1. (a) change the status of a Player on the Player Roster;”  Section 7.18 reads “A Club must apply to FFA for approval of a prospective Marquee Player, Homegrown Player, Guest Player, Replacement Player or Contracted NYL Player using the relevant Prescribed Form before it concludes any contractual negotiations with such prospective Marquee Player,”

Nothing against Michael Thwaite personally but a Marquee player is meant to be a player that helps bring in extra fans through the gate, or is a stand out player clearly a cut above the rest on the park. Very few defenders will pull in extra punters, a few would but the are few and far between, Paolo Maldini is one that immediately comes to mind who would have, John Terry and Gerard Pique are two more. The question is should Michael Thwaite have been approved as a Marquee player? Is he a big enough player even in Australia? He is undoubtedly consistent at this level, but he is not one of the first defenders on the team sheet when Ange Postecoglou is making out his team list for the Socceroos. By allowing Perth Glory to make him a Marquee player have the FFA not exacerbated the situation and pushed up expectations of players and agents and forced clubs to pay more to secure a player?

It may seem unfair to single out Michael Thwaite who has served the club well this season and been consistent week in week out. Another example would be Matt McKay at Brisbane Roar. McKay burst onto the scene with Brisbane Strikers in the NSl and was a key component with the Brisbane Roar when they won back-to-back titles. He then left for Glasgow Rangers at the worst time possible as the Scottish giant was going through its financial troubles and was relegated from the Scottish Premier League. He moved to South Korea and then to China where he struggled for form. His two year contract was terminated after six months by mutual consent. He then came back to Brisbane as a Marquee signing aged 30. Did his career warrant him being a Marquee signing? Does Matt Mckay bring extra fans through the turnstiles? Or was this just reward for a local boy who had served the city so well? There are more players who fall into this category.

So are the FFA partly to blame for approving these Marquee status players, for forcing clubs to use the majority of the salary Cap and pay players more than their career experience and performances may warrant?

Whatever the answer, if Perth Glory are found guilty and indications are that they will be, a new debate will unfold once the punishment is handed down as to who will take the blame on their shoulders. As the supporter of a club who broke the rules in the UK and were punished severely, players will leave, as will administrators, but as is always the case, the fans will remain. They will pick themselves up, dust themselves off and start supporting again, believing quite rightly that they deserve better.

 

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April 2, 2015 at 10:14 am 7 comments

Rangers Must Start Again

As a fan of a football club that was hours from extinction my heart goes out to Glasgow Rangers fans. No fan loyal to a club wants to go through the helplessness of watching a thing they love fall apart and possibly disappear due to the bad management of others.

In modern day football there are too many rich men who want to be involved with the game for the wrong reasons. Often it is purely ego driven, and for others football is the vehicle to open doors for their business. Sometimes it is simply a grab for the real estate on which the club stands and the goal is to move them and make money. In all such cases the venture is doomed for failure and the ones who lose out are the loyal fans.

Rangers fans now have to wait on the benevolence of their fellow Scottish Premier League clubs as to whether they be allowed to continue albeit as a very different club but trading under the same name in the top flight of Scottish Football.

There is an SPL board meeting at Hampden on Monday to discuss the league’s inquiry into alleged dual contracts at Rangers. A vote may well be taken then but depends on whether a new company can be formed by then. A more realistic target would be the AGM next month, and all eleven clubs can vote then.

For the sake of Scottish football one feels that Rangers should be made to start again, and that may sound harsh and will no doubt upset many a Rangers fan. The club which is, and probably will soon again be one of the leading lights in Scottish Football needs time to regroup, it also cannot be seen to be getting special dispensation just because of its heritage. There is a right way of doing things and due to gross mismanagement they did not do things properly and they must pay the price.

It would do Scottish football good to have Rangers playing in a league against the likes of Alloa, Arbroath and Airdrie. When would they have last all played in the same division? It will inject interest into the lower divisions, and could give Scotland’s football competition the jumpstart it so desperately needs.

Add to that the Scottish Premier League will no longer be a two horse race and once again the game and the competition will benefit. Sometimes out of the bleakest situations comes huge positives, and as much as Rangers fans will not be seeing it at the moment, this could in fact be the moment that revived Scottish Football. It may well be a moment in twenty years time when Scotland are once again playing in the European Championships they can pinpoint interest in the game being revived.

As for Fans of Rangers stick with your team if they play in the lower echelons for a couple of seasons, think of the good you will be doing the game as a whole, and lay the foundations for a more stable future. Manchester City were in the depths of English football but they have risen again. Their fans stuck with them the whole time and now they are enjoying deservedly their moment in the sun, as you will again down the track.

June 13, 2012 at 9:32 am 4 comments

Super League to Save La Liga?

Is a European Super League really just around the corner?

According to Barcelona President Sandro Rosell it will definitely be raised again when the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the European Club Association and UEFA, which will expire in 2014. According to Mr. Rosell talking at the Aspire4Sport conference in Doha, no agreement has been made to extend this agreement.

“If UEFA does not accept, in the worst case scenario, we will go away from UEFA,” he said.

The timing of Mr. Rosell’s comments is certainly interesting. They come at a time when La Liga is rumoured to be in huge difficulty and becoming more of a two horse race than the Scottish Premier League.

In 2009/10 Real Madrid broke a points record in a season with 99 points but failed to win the league. Last season they also topped 90 points but failed to win the league. They scored 102 goals, and believe it or not there were five teams in La Liga who scored fewer goals than Cristiano Ronaldo; he scored one less than three other teams. Jus to give this feeling credence, Barcelona’s second most common result under coach Pep Guardiola is 5-0, amazingly more common that 1-0 and 2-1 which are the most repeated result sin the game!

Last season Valencia finished third in La Liga 21 points behind Real Madrid. Valencia was actually closer to relegation than they were to the Championship! By comparison in Scotland third placed Hearts finished 30 points behind Champions Rangers.

He has gone on to say that the English Premier League needs to be cut by a fifth, as it is the preferred option that teams in the European Champions League play games at weekends rather than in midweek.

The European Champions League are in truth not a ‘Champions’ league, as teams who come below first in each league are already admitted, so is it not already a Super League; with the strong clubs in floundering leagues desperate to protect their territory and lengthen the gap between them and the teams below them?

The proposed Super League could be the death knell for many European leagues, as many of their big name clubs would leave the tradition that established them for the big bucks.

The question is will the fans be as interested in games against foreign opposition as they are against traditional local rivals? The good news is though that the smaller nations competing in the Champions league such as Bangor City and FC Basel have as much say, as the likes of Barcelona and Rangers and it could be these nations who need such a competition who prevent the Super League being realized.

There are still three years to go until this comes down to a vote, but expect the debate to gain momentum in the next two years.

November 18, 2011 at 5:28 pm 2 comments

Time For A Salary Cap?

This writer is not a fan of a salary cap in any sport, as in life everything is only worth what anyone is prepared to pay for it, and at times the price appears foolish; Hence the phrase caveat emptor, or buyer beware.

We are raising this issue in relation to the APB Football West State Premier league football competition. Anyone who has watched the league in the past ten years would see that despite the excellent development programs that are now available in the state, the standard of football on offer in the state league has declined. Equally worrying is the fact that the costs of the clubs assembling half decent squads has increased, while crowds have gone south.

These are worrying times and the benefactors that many clubs have cannot continually be shelling out of their own pocket, while the team achieves mediocrity.

We are halfway through season 2010 and once again it appears to be a three horse race between Perth, Floreat Athena and the Western Knights. That is not good for any league, to have a mini league within a league, look at the English and Scottish Premier Leagues to see.

What is more of a concern is the amount of money that some clubs are spending in the hope of winning a trophy come seasons end, yet if they win nothing where will it leave the club financially?

The question has to be asked are players currently playing in the league worth the money that clubs are paying them? We feel in a great deal of cases they are not. Surely a better system would be to have players on performance-based payments, as this season some higher paid players have shown that win or lose they simply don’t care, as long as they get paid.

What has to be better for all concerned would be a team all on a hypothetical figure of $150 per week, with win bonuses being greater for the better players and a sliding scale in terms of experience and ability. A similar but lesser bonus would be available for a draw.

The thing with salary caps is they need policing, otherwise everyone looks to find ways to circumnavigate them, and that is no easy task. There is no doubt that players will still find cash in their boots after a good game, but it is the duty of those involved today to protect the future of the game, and make sure that we do not destroy some of the game’s history in WA by chasing the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

There is no doubt some very good football being played in the APB Football West State Premier League, but there are some players who had they been playing as long as five years ago would not have made their current club’s first team.

May 31, 2010 at 2:48 pm 2 comments


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