Wednesday, 2 January 2008

SPL Blunder Over Postponements

The SPL has once again managed to make itself look quite foolish by refusing to postpone Dundee United's match today following the tragic death of Phil O'Donnell. We're left in the ridiculous position of having 3 games postponed and 3 matches going ahead. Once the decision was made to call off the Old Firm game they should have went all the way and postponed all 6 SPL games scheduled for today.

SPL secretary Iain Blair has attempted to explain the situation, "The games that have been postponed are games where there has been a direct link to Phil and to Motherwell.

"What we want to do with the games that are going ahead is to provide an opportunity for Scottish football to come together and show its respect and honour for Phil.

"We've asked for a minute's applause to be held before each of the games today. All of the players will be wearing black armbands.

"We want the games themselves to be a mark of respect for an excellent professional footballer."

"In situations like this, there are no easy answers. If there are people who feel we should have made a different decision, then I fully respect their right to hold that view.

First of all, explain to me why Dundee United's game doesn't fall under the banner of 'games where there has been a direct link to Phil and to Motherwell'. Eleven United players were on the pitch when O'Donnell lost consciousness. Several of them attempted to do what they could to save his life. Their club doctor treated him on the pitch. Their fans fell silent as they sensed something was seriously wrong. Their players made their way home from Fir Park numb after hearing one of their opponents that day had died. How on earth is that not a direct link to Phil O'Donnell?

As a club Celtic have more of a direct link to O'Donnell, with him being a former player. But as individuals the Dundee United players have been affected more than anyone with the exception of O'Donnell's Motherwell team-mates.

Secondly the SPL attempt to make out that they are letting these games go ahead so that a tribute can be made. Had all SPL teams played their first game since the tragedy on Saturday, tributes would be made then, and would be no less emotional or sincere had they waited a further 3 days.

Lastly the comment that emphasises the bullshit corporate speak this all is - 'If there are people who feel we should have made a different decision, then I fully respect their right to hold that view.' This is a sentence that means nothing. 'People are entitled to their opinion,' is what this means. Thanks SPL, but we don't need your permission to disagree with you.

It's not too difficult a decision to call off all 6 games yet the SPL seem to have gone out of their way to make it a confusing and awkward situation. For a tragedy that's brought together football all over Britain and the world, trust the SPL and their petty bureaucracy to create the first divide.

Here are some more views on the matter from current and former players.

1 comment:

Fraser said...

I completely agree with this. If the SPL had simply come out and said they were running out of days to play re-arranged fixtures, I would have had some sympathy, but the decision to make Dundee Utd in particular play their match was all too familiar Scottish football folly.