Calls for an independent investigation into the Scottish Professional Football League’s handling of a vote to abandon the season have reached parliament, after the matter was tabled as an early day motion.
Gregory Campbell, the DUP’s long-serving MP for East Londonderry, became primary sponsor for the motion in the hope of drawing support from across the House of Commons. Scott Benton, the Conservative MP for Blackpool South, has added his signature. Ian Murray, the Labour MP for Edinburgh South, earlier branded the SPFL saga an “embarrassment”.
Rangers, Hearts and Aberdeen have sought an inquiry after a resolution to end the campaign – passed last week – became mired in controversy.
The early day motion reads: “That this House notes the decision by the Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) regarding how the current Scottish Football season should be concluded due to games being called off; is concerned that having asked clubs to vote on a way forward to help resolve major financial issues, a number of clubs indicated their opposition to proposals, there then followed a series of conflicting responses, club votes cast and then declared not cast, reports of pressurised communications, bullying and offers of financial inducements, all of which have led to a serious loss of confidence in those charged with governing Scottish Football; and calls for a fully impartial and independent investigation to be carried out immediately into the actions and correspondence carried out by senior SPFL officials who oversaw the process.”
It remains unlikely the topic will be raised in the Commons, with early day motions typically brought to heighten awareness of topics. Campbell told the Guardian: “I’ve been following this story for over a week as I take a keen interest in Scottish football. Given the extent and range of the allegations with claim and counter-claim I believe this requires a completely independent investigation to clear up the mess and hopefully restore a degree of integrity into the administration of the game.
“The scale of monies involved and the reputational damage is considerable, which is why I believe pressure must be brought to bear on senior football administrators in Scotland to establish such an inquiry immediately. Having spoken to some other MPs I hope to have cross-party support for the motion in the next few days.”
The SPFL chairman, Murdoch MacLennan, has said: “I am entirely satisfied, based on all the information at my disposal, that the SPFL and its executives and legal advisers have acted wholly properly at every stage in this process.”