FINANCING SCOTTISH FOOTBALLDate: Tuesday, 16th Jun 2020
League Reconstruction is hardly a new idea.Scottish Football missed the opportunity, back in 1992, to set up a Scottish Super League or SSL made up of the clubs with all seated stadia, full time squads, high quality floodlights, a youth academy ,undersoil heating,and a sizeable support.
It would have meant far more income from broadcasters,advertisers,sponsors etc.
Scotland is a small country and the truth is we cannot afford to have Hearts( or other crowd pullers like Dundee,Dunfermline,Falkirk etc) outwith the top tier.In any case, Hearts FC will feel empowered by the decision of the French and Belgian Courts who have ruled relegation illegal.The Legal Counsel the Tynecastle club, Rangers and Partick Thistle have all received suggests a similar outcome now that Hearts have taken their case to the Court Of Session.Scottish Football will hold its breath.
The purists won the day back 28 years ago.Scottish Football remains a meritocracy and so leads a hand to mouth existence.Neil Doncaster has a generous salary but our Leagues have no sponsor.The much lauded SKY TV deal is worth £160m but SKY pay the EFL £595m.Celtic`s turnover is larger than the rest of the Premiership put together but bears little comparison with England`s bottom Premier League Club.
While League Reconstruction remains welcome, I fear the Championship will always be the poor relation with the Premiership clubs getting their snouts in the trough and sharing out 84% of Broadcasting income.The Championship has 12%. Then we get crocodile tears from the likes of Celtic FC bemoaning the lack of a real and sustained challenge.Meanwhile, the treatment of Hearts,Partick Thistle,Stranraer,Falkirk Edinburgh City,Kelty Hearts and Brora carries a nasty smell.
The £2m from Philanthropist James Anderson is welcome but the Championship receives half their income from fans on match day.Even streaming closed doors matches wouldn`t bring in sufficient income as HMRC ends furlough the day training restarts and virus testing may be prohibitive.
The UK Government gave English Rugby League £16m.It contributed £141m to the Economy in 2019(Source Manchester Metropolitan University).Scottish Football benefitted the Scottish Economy by £214m.(Source Fraser Of Allander Institute).
If the Scottish Government chose to mirror the Rugby donation, they would have leverage over Scottish Football when it comes to Strict Lability and the inequitable income distribution.,described by UEFA as the most inequitable in Europe.
As for Hearts: watch for them entering discussions with the English Leagues.You heard it here first.