Cooney and Black

Scotland v Qatar? The SFA’s dismissiveness of human rights leaves a sour taste in the mouth that no amount of mouthwash can remove. The Qataris should have been told to go to hell!

Scotland fans


WORLD football is in the gutter, forever tarnished by the charlatan, Sepp Blatter.

Scottish football, meanwhile, it teetering on the edge of the kerbstone, about to plunge into the sewage that has contaminated the once-great game.

The Scottish FA has been forced to defend its decision to stage a friendly against Qatar at Easter Road in the wake of a threatened boycott by disgusted members of the Tartan Army.

In a statement, the SFA revealed that they view the match – sponsored by Qatar Airways – as a “separate concern” to the human rights issue experienced by migrant workers employed on building stadia for the 2022 World Cup.

The statement said: “It is important to separate this sporting fixture from the serious human rights issues emanating from Qatar: the game was agreed with the national coach’s wish for a competitive fixture as part of preparations for the forthcoming European Qualifier against Republic of Ireland as of paramount importance.”


Are the deaths of 1,200 construction workers not a matter of much great importance?

If one prominent MSP is to be believed, by the time the Middle East hosts the World Cup for the first time, at the current rate of fatalities, 62 workers will have died for each match that is played in 2022.

Yet, the SFA considers registering its concern as a sufficient response to the filthy-rich despots who almost certainly “bought” the so-called greatest football show on earth.

Their arrogant dismissiveness of human rights leaves a sour taste in the mouth that no amount of mouthwash can remove.

The Qataris should have been told to go to hell. It’s bad enough that they were awarded the rights to the premier football tournament – they will keep it, make no mistake about that despite claims to the contrary – but they are effectively escaping the most severe censure for their flagrant human rights abuses.

It is not too late for the SFA to call the whole thing off and save face.

Just as they won’t call for a worldwide ban on the thug masquerading as a football player – the odious Tunisian Bilel Mohsni.

He should be kicked out of the game for good, never mind a six or eight-game ban, as has been suggested. Had he attacked the Motherwell striker Lee Erwin in such a manner on a public highway, he would have been looking at a custodial sentence.

Yet, Mohsni had the temerity to claim that he was the victim of a “cowardly attack from behind.”

Not that Erwin was blameless, far from it. His action in pushing Mohsni in the first instance was the catalyst for the shameful scenes that followed and he should also be hammered.

Just as those Motherwell fans who invaded the pitch in an attempt to provoke Rangers supporters into a reaction should be punished.
I suggest Fir Park should be closed for the first three months of next season and the team ordered to play behind closed doors.


Money invariably comes before principles – no matter the human cost.

Finally, before this rant runs out of steam, allow me to congratulate Inverness Caledonian Thistle on their achievement in winning the Scottish Cup.

It was wonderful for the club, its fans and the Highlands as a whole.
But what exactly has the media in general done to earn the disrespect of the club?

ICT has adopted a siege mentality when it comes to dealing with the press at large instead of embracing the Fourth Estate and benefiting from positive PR.

I’m informed that the post-cup final party-goers at Caledonian Stadium polished off 22 cases of champagne. Not a mouthful was consumed by any journalist that I know.

There was no obligation whatsoever on ICT to involve the media in their celebrations, of course. But the scribes – me included – were entitled to greater consideration when attempting to cover the team’s victorious homecoming at the North Meeting Park the following day, surely.

No prior arrangement was made for interviews and we were left to scramble in an undignified manner in an attempt to get the job done.

Yet, the local press in particular has been hugely supportive of the two Premiership clubs in their area – a fact recognised by Roy Macgregor, the Ross County chairman.

When County made themselves safe, he thanked each journalist in turn for their support and also sent a case of beer to the media room to celebrate the “great escape.”

That’s what I call class.

Perhaps Kenny Cameron, his counterpart at ICT, should take note -before the goodwill runs out completely.

The good days never last for long, but memories do and ICT will need a friend sooner rather than later, I suspect.

That last comment should not be perceived as a threat, incidentally – simply a statement of fact.


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