Organisation & structure

Ken Gall gives a resounding cheer for the exasperated Scottish Premier League chairmen who finally stuck two fingers up at Rangers and Celtic

To anyone who says that there are no surprises left in Scottish football, the events of April 16 will have been the cause of some bemusement. In what might seem at first glance to be the equivalent of the Christians expelling Jesus from Christianity, all the Scottish Premier League clubs, with the exception of Celtic and Rangers, gave notice of their intention to resign en masse from the league in two seasons’ time, leaving Glas­­gow’s much-loved double act, not for the first time, in a world of their own.

Contrary to the beliefs of the Phoenix League "reformers", Roger Titford argues that other European countries are moving towards the structure of our League

We dullards who are forever against wonderful in­novations like the Phoenix League are often en­couraged to look abroad and draw inspiration from the Continent. There, it is said, we will find more rational and streamlined ways to organise football leagues, which are not dragged back by the need to maintain an unwieldy four national divisions of professional clubs. The debate of late seems to be led by issues about div­iding up TV money. The more fundamental question should be about league structures.

The Football League has suffered by comparison since the Premier League began. But, says Roger Titford, in many ways the lower echelons are in rude health

“Are you lot all still here?” Surprisingly, almost ten years after the hugely successful launch of the Premier League the remnant Football League is still going – all present and correct. The FA’s Blueprint for Football, which incorporated the essential ideas for the Premier League in 1991, said little and seemed to care less about life in the Football League in the new era. Prospects were “not encouraging” and “radical action” was needed, though the only measures suggested were the fam­iliar ones: a reduction of four clubs, much ground-sharing and a return to reg­ionalised lower divisions. This pes­simism about the state of the Football League is still widely present among fans and the media today.

  Gary Oliver on a breakaway "SPL2" becoming reality

The skewed values of Scotland’s sports editors were never more apparent than on January 18. While back pages devoted in­ordinate space to Stan Collymore’s declared interest in joining Celtic, in most papers the day’s most important football story was tucked away near the racing form. And the hot tip there was that soon the Scottish Football League would be further weakened by yet another breakaway.

Adam Crozier arrived at Lancaster Gate in January promising to usher in reform, if not revolution. The FA’s alarmingly young chief executive spoke to Mike Ticher about the FA Cup, the 2006 World Cup bid, the England team and other disasters he inherited

Shortly after you were appointed you were quoted as saying the FA was “a bit of a shambles”. How did you find it when you arrived?
I think like everyone else I had a view from the outside on what the problems might be, but it was more of a shambles than I expected. The first 20 people I asked in the FA “What do you think you’re here to do?” I got 19 different answers. And I think that’s one reason why the FA was always so reactive, because people didn’t really understand what they were here for. The bas­ic philosophy was, whatever you do, don’t cock up. And when you start from that point of view, the one thing that leads you to do is not make any decisions. From an organisational point of view people didn’t know who reported to who. People were doing jobs they weren’t qualified to do. So we reorganised Lancaster Gate from top to bottom and ag­reed a new three-year plan. We’ve got all the building blocks in place now and we’re ready to move on to the next stage.

Gary Oliver examines the latest row over the entry requirements for the Scottish Premier League

It is almost 40 years since Falkirk’s record loss, an 11-1 trouncing by Airdrie. But that margin of defeat was equalled on March 31 when they were defeated 10-0 by the Scottish Premier League, the clubs in the top division voting unanimously to bar Falkirk from next season’s SPL.

Davy Millar explains why drastic action may be needed to shake up football in Northern Ireland

In what is becoming a time-honoured tradition, the Irish League season entered the final stretch with talk of reorganisation in the air. Towards the end of April, Premiership strugglers and First Division high-fliers were still unsure whether they had been putting in unnecessary effort as haggling continued over proposals to increase the size of each division.

Celtic and Ajax are making noises again about the possibility of North Atlantic League, but Ken Gall is not to sure about the whole idea

In his unjustly neglected 1911 classic The Devil's Dictionary, the great American satirist Ambrose Bierce accurately defined once as “enough”. Sadly, however, Bierce’s assertion that there can be too much of a good thing seems anathema to the individuals in charge of the big European clubs. 

The Scottish Premier League faces reorganisation again, but this time its leaders are determined to make a more permanent mess. Gary Oliver is unimpressed

Saturday afternoon football coverage on BBC Radio Scotland concludes with Off The Ball, a generally frivolous phone-in. Far from jovial, though, was a recent guest appearance by Roger Mitchell, chief executive of the Scottish Premier League.

FIFA's proposed world club championship is likely to involve teams from Asia and Africa as well as Europe and South America, we look at how the Champions League format is spreading around the word. Justin McCurry reports from Asia, while Alan Duncan examines the situation in Africa

The Asian club championship has some way to go in terms of sponsorship, prestige and public and media interest before it can rival similar competitions in Europe and South America.

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