LAUNCH OF THE FIRST INDEPENDENT EVALUATION OF SCOTTISH FOOTBALL GOVERNANCE BY THE SCOTTISH FOOTBALL SUPPORTERS ASSOCIATION (SFSA)
Representatives from various fan groups, including the Scottish Football Monitor took up the invitation to the above event which is largely self-explanatory. The scene was set with the following agenda
SURVEY TO SET BENCHMARK FOR FUTURE EVALUATION OF NATIONAL GAME
WHEN: Thursday, 20TH July 2017 at 11AM
WHERE: Scottish Parliament – Committee Room 4
WHO Simon Barrow (Chair of the SFSA), Henry McLeish (Board member of the SFSA), Richard Leonard MSP (member of Scottish Parliament for Central Scotland and host of event) and Dr Joachim Lammert (The Department of Sports Economics and Sports Management at the University of Leipzig)
The first independent evaluation of Scottish football governance will be launched by The Scottish Football Supporters Association (SFSA).
The SFSA’s nationwide survey will assess, for the first time, supporters’ views on the current position of the game, including the performance of the game’s governing bodies in Scotland. The research will become an annual benchmarking & reporting exercise looking at all aspects of the game.
The SFSA’s online survey has been created in partnership with Prof. Dr. Axel Faix and Dr. Joachim Lammert, two experienced German academics who have undertaken similar evaluations on a national level in Germany and on a European level on topics including 50+1 (German football’s rules that a parent club must own at least 50% plus one share of the football company) and Financial Fair Play. Their research has been backed by Football Supporters Europe and by German fans organisation, Unsere Kurve.
Fans will also be able to provide comment on their own club’s performance.
The SFSA, whose board includes former First Minister Henry McLeish; former MP and MSP Cathy Jamieson and Maureen McGonigle, Founder of Scottish Women in Sport and first female Scottish FA Council Member, has over 67,000 members supporting clubs across Scotland.
The SFSA is Scotland’s fans’ representative in The Football Supporters Europe network (FSE), an independent, representative and democratically organised grass-roots network of football fans’ in Europe with members in currently 48 countries across the continent.
The SFSA might be best thought of as movement appearing at a time when Scottish Football supporters are desperately seeking an alternative to the attitudes and events that have seen our game at best stand still and at worst decline, as changes in the way football has grown as a global industry have left us marooned on our own small patch of God’s earth.
If the two maxims that
- a problem cannot be solved by the mind that created it and
- if you cannot manage (and therefore improve) what you cannot measure
are true, then the SFSA professional idea to making change happen offers a different approach to the past by introducing new thinking and using tested scientific metrics on a survey model used successfully in Germany, where the game is light years ahead of Scotland’s by any measure.
The arrival of this movement is crucial, and in the words of SFSA Board member Henry McLeish, ex footballer and former First Minister of Scotland; “Scottish Football is at a Watershed”.
Few if any who love our game would argue with that. We love football because it is in our blood, it plays a key part in the social interplay of Scottish society and it is too important not to now say “Enough!”
It is clear that the medicine of the past, an approach to the game which excludes it’s life blood, (no wonder it is ill) is no longer efficacious – if indeed it ever was.
To continue with that same prescription would fall foul of that other maxim; “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result”.
Thus the SFSA, who are independent of current Scottish football authorities (SFA/SFL), offer an opportunity to break that insane cycle by offering a new approach, which sees it’s first duty as asking the fans what they think, and they are seeking to do exactly that by enacting a comprehensive nationwide survey of fans’ views and attitudes. The survey, created by a team of research academics at Leipzig University will present, in a cohesive way, the views and thoughts of Scottish football fans concerning the health of the game in Scotland through their own own clubs, the SPFL, and the SFA .
The higher the number who complete the survey and articulating their views, the more weight and authority the survey’s outcomes will carry when the SFSA presents them to current authority and government.
SFM hopes that as many people as possible will take part in an exercise that offers real hope of change by clicking below
and visit the SFSA page at
where the survey is explained and you can join the SFSA individually.
This may be our last chance as lovers of Scottish football to restore its integrity and trust in our football authorities who have lost sight of those values in pursuit of commercial concerns.
To the cynics whose past experience of calling for change discourages them (and who can blame them for it’s taken lifetimes) one last maxim.
If you don’t buy a ticket, you don’t win the lottery.
Roll Up, Roll Up https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/sfsa-benchmark-2017
Big Pink Comment:
Like Auldheid, I am encouraged by the birth of the SFSA and its determination to procure the views of supporters. There are enough people involved in the initiative with clear views about the harm that inherent self-interest on the part of the clubs has brought to our game.
I was less encouraged by the conciliatory tone of Henry McLeish, in public at least, towards those in power at Hampden. For example he said that Scottish football folk viewed outside bodies with suspicion, and that was often understandable.
My take is that they only view anyone wishing to become proactive with that suspicion (and fear). They have never viewed my cash with anything other than hungry eyes, far less suspicion.
The feeling in the room, when less formal discussion was taking place, was that the authorities and the clubs have refused to take fans’ views into account for too long.
Governance (particularly the lack of and the ‘making it up as we go’ varieties), FFP and Strict Liability were all subjects of those discussions. These are all nettles that MUST be grasped in public, and the sooner the better, if fans’ views are to be properly reflected.
I am hopeful that the weight of dissatisfaction I expect to see as a result of this ambitious survey will compel a change in tone by McLeish and his colleagues.
One final note of concern is that a group like SFSA, which after all hopes to represent fans at the top table, appears to have a board overly comprised of folk from the political, business and academic spheres. Some grass roots participation is vital moving forward. Hopefully that is also on the agenda.