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West Region title investigation

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You have to wonder. Surely if there's nothing uncomfortable in it for the WRSJFA then it would have been issued by now.

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You have to wonder. Surely if there's nothing uncomfortable in it for the WRSJFA then it would have been issued by now.

The enquiry was about the WRSJFA so you give them the findings and not the clubs very strange

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Junior football chiefs are poised to publish the findings of an independent investigation into the controversial circumstances surrounding Auchinleck Talbot being named champions.  

If its meant to be an independent investigation into that decision made by the management committee, then why was the investigation results given to the management committee first?

While the likes of Colin Chisholm resigned, surely the majority of the people being investigated are the ones that get first look.

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Independent Report

Investigation into decisions made by the Management Committee of the West Region of the Scottish
Junior Football Association during March and April 2020, in particular meetings held between 14-20
April 2020, and the subsequent leaking of certain information to the media.
ABBREVIATIONS OF THE MORE COMMONLY USED WORDS, PHRASES, PERSONS INVOLVED:
Management Committee = MC
West Region = WR
Scottish Junior Football Association = SJFA
Scottish Football Association = SFA
Scottish Cup = SC
Colin Chisholm, Interim President of WR (and a representative on the MC of Auchinleck Talbot JFC)
(Resigned 18 May 2020) = CC
John Fyfe, Interim General Secretary of WR (a neutral non-voting MC member) = JF
Rod Petrie, President, SFA = RP
Tom Johnston, Secretary, SJFA = TJ
INVESTIGATIVE PANEL
SCOTT STRUTHERS, CHAIRMAN – Football administrator for 37 years, includes 25 years full time
secretary of Hamilton Academical FC, current 18 years member SFA disciplinary committee / judicial
panel, 12 years council member SFA, current UEFA match delegate, UEFA stadium inspector, a coach
and mentor to new delegates, and a FIFA match commissioner. Freelance adviser to other football
clubs, bodies, players.
GUS MACKAY, MEMBER – Football administrator for 50 years, past President Scottish Amateur FA,
past council member of SFA, current judicial panel member and appeals panels member SFA, 50
years involvement at Symington Tinto AFC, member of many other committees and football bodies
over the years.
The panel co-opted a third member, a completely neutral third party, purely to give us a general
overview of the evidence and general situation, together with any information that could be
ascertained on the leak -
TARIK SHAMEL, CO-OPTED MEMBER – Solicitor in England, adviser on regulatory matters to other
sporting bodies, current UEFA match delegate.
BACKGROUND
In the current global pandemic all football in Scotland, at all levels, (and indeed in most countries),
came to a halt on 13th March 2020. Competitions were suspended. Initially there was a potential
return date in April, however as the health crisis evolved it quickly became clear that football would
not resume before - at the earliest - 22 July, subject to ongoing government reviews. All leagues
were faced with decisions on how to conclude their seasons. This became as public and problematic
at professional levels, with commercial and broadcast contracts to be considered, as well as at all
non-league, women’s, juniors, amateurs, youth, futsal levels etc.
The WR SJFA have 63 member clubs who play across four leagues (Premiership, Championship,
League One, League Two). The clubs are predominantly from Ayrshire, Renfrewshire, Glasgow,
Dunbartonshire, and Lanarkshire areas. The clubs and players could be described as ‘semiprofessional’
and are all essentially ‘community clubs’ providing a long history of local football, with
crowds typically 50-500 for league matches, and frequently more for bigger games. It is a popular
and well followed level of football in Scotland, essentially operating at the tiers 6-9 levels.
NOTE – During March and April 2020, and as part of the SFA pyramid structure, all 63 clubs indicated
their resignations from WR in order to join a new West of Scotland Football League, sitting a level
below the current Highland League and Lowland League which operate at tier 5. These 63 clubs
would move en-masse to the new set up, initially under the control or jurisdiction of Lowland League
officials. Accordingly, this was to prove the last season and last competitions, in fact the last
decisions, of the WR and the MC of the WR. Consequently, decisions made, champions awarded etc,
would not have had impact upon promotions / relegations (for the most part) for the new set up.
The MC of the WR found themselves in discussions on how to end the season. There was an initial
discussion on 30-31 March meetings, and more in-depth discussions on 14, 16 and 20 April meetings
at which the matter was concluded. Champions etc. were subsequently confirmed and announced.
CC was Interim President of the WR MC having only been appointed on 6th March, immediately
before the current crisis.
It should be noted that the WR Premiership winners, and also the top division winners of the North
Region and East Region of the SJFA, get a place in the following season’s SC, a clearly prestigious
award. It was to be this issue that would become the crux of the matter that the WR MC found
themselves discussing and having to achieve a sporting merit conclusion.
At this point the panel would wish to pay our respects to Mr Frannie McNeil, a long serving player in
the WR and a club official at Pollok FC, who was a member of the WR MC, and who sadly passed
away in early April 2020.
PANEL SET UP
Following copies of minutes and emails from WR MC discussions being leaked to media and social
media across 16-17 May, this generated a significant negative reaction against the WR MC decisions
on the evening of 17 May, and the resignation of CC as Interim President of the WR on 18 May. The
incumbent Vice President, Alex McDowall (a representative of Gartcairn FC) became Acting
President. Across 20 and 21 May he contacted Scott Struthers by telephone asking that he set up an
independent panel to look at all matters. That decision was subsequently announced on the WR
SJFA Twitter feed on the evening of 21 May. The panel were provided with the relevant
correspondence, minutes, recordings etc on 27 May.
EVIDENCE
The panel were provided with: -
 The minutes of the meetings held on 30 and 31 March
 The actual Zoom recordings (in which we could hear all discussions by the MC WR), of the
three meetings of 14, 16 and 20 April, which proved extremely helpful and beneficial
 An email trail of 9-13 April between CC and TJ and various MC members, and others from
North and East Regions, discussing the ending of the league season, with many references to
communications between RP and TJ, and that information / communication going to WR MC
 An email of 15 April from CC to WR MC and TJ concerning the minutes of 14 April, in relation
to Scottish Cup entry, and referring to the 9-13 April communications between RP and TJ
 An email of 17 April from JF to WR MC and TJ containing the phrase ‘please destroy the
minutes…’
 An email trail of 24-29 April in which Cumnock JFC, one of the WR member clubs, pass on to
Gordon Ronney, a WR MC member, information that was emailed to them concerning the
MC discussions of 14-20 April
 A letter of resignation from CC on 18 May resigning as Interim President of WR following the
aforementioned communications and minutes being released to the media
 In addition the panel looked at the constitution and rules of the SJFA, taken from their
website, and the constitution and rules of the WR, sent by email to us as it does not appear
on their website.
 In addition the panel considered some of the policies and documents for governance that
appear on the SJFA website.
THE KEY DOCUMENTS LOOKED AT, AND SOME KEY PHRASES, ARE LISTED: -
 SJFA Integrity Policy – to “promote a culture of integrity…”
 SJFA Anti-Corruption and Bribery Policy – 5.3 – “…a person acts improperly where they act
illegally, unethically, or contrary to an expectation of good faith or impartiality, or where
they abuse a position of trust…”; and -5.4 – “…corruption is the abuse of entrusted power or
position for private gain…”
 SJFA Confidentiality Policy and Procedures – 1.2 – “ all officials appointed to any position
within…an SJFA Region will have access to and become aware of information which is
confidential…”; and 1.3 – “all officials will undertake to use their best endeavours to prevent
the unauthorised publication or disclosure of any such confidential information. this
restriction shall continue to apply after the termination of any appointment without limit in
point of time.”
 SJFA Data Protection Policy – 1.1 – “the SJFA is committed to the highest standards of
openness, probity and accountability…”
VIEW
It is the panel’s view, indeed a generally accepted view, that sporting bodies, particularly private
members organisations – which the WR SJFA is, it is a group of clubs who make their own rules and
constitution, then elect a MC to oversee it – should not only be open and transparent, but that there
should be a clear perception that the body is open and transparent.
With regards the aforementioned discussion on SC entry by the WR MC, which became the crux of
the matter for the MC, following the leaking of the correspondence to the media, it was then the
perception of the (lack of) openness and transparency in the whole decision making process that
became a key aspect for the panel.
PROCESS
Having received all evidence, including the actual recordings of the crucial meetings in question,
Scott Struthers and Gus Mackay took their time to read and, in particular, listen, to everything
supplied. This took several days. then, listen to the recordings again. Tarik Shamel was able to review
it at a later date.
In the current climate, the panel did not physically meet, all communications were by telephone call
and email between us. The two main panel members quickly identified the key persons from whom
we sought more information – these were RP, TJ, CC and JF. Anyone else would be communicated
with if needed. Follow ups and questions, again all by email, took place. These were most helpful.
We thank all those for replying, and in some cases further confirming, answers and information to us
in a timeous manner.
In addition, and in view of the perception of a lack of openness and transparency of the WR MC,
following the information finding its way to the media on 17 May, and having already formed our
opinion on the matters discussed, we additionally sought the opinions of some people who have
good interest and involvement in the WR, amongst others. these are provided anonymously in this
report.
The panel members exchanged and communicated respective thoughts and summaries of the
situation, on which we were in complete agreement. our co-opted member, Tarik Shamel, also gave
us a general overview of the situation and evidence, from a neutral and non-Scottish perspective. It
was our view to have a complete fresh and clean pair of eyes on the situation, someone with no
prior knowledge of the teams and personalities involved.
SUMMARY AND FINDINGS
The crux of the whole matter was the MC ultimate desire to have a team in next season's SC,
(notwithstanding the fact that the other two regions, North and East, had chosen not to do so), and
to achieve that by some kind of sporting merit. CC was involved with TJ in the 9-13 April emails, and
TJ with RP. Despite the WR MC meeting of 14 April having decided null & void, (albeit no formal vote
took place, it was accepted / agreed by MC) in terms of concluding the season 2019-20, the WR MC
were aware they needed to select a team for the SC. It is then some clarification by CC to make the
MC aware that null & void doesn't do that and that some other method (average points per game
being the perhaps obvious only alternative) would suffice, based on the TJ / RP communications of
9-13 April. This email trail made it clear that the SFA would seek a representative to the SC based on
sporting merit and there was a clear concern that null & void did not achieve that. This lead in turn
to the WR MC further deliberations on 16 April (which had been planned) and a further additional
meeting on 20 April to confirm champions across all four WR leagues.
It must also be made perfectly clear that in all the meetings that took place the relevant MC
members sat out the parts of the meeting that discussed their own club and own divisions, i.e. CC
sat out for all discussions on the Premiership and SC place, the representative on the MC from
Ardrossan Winton Rovers JFC sat out the League 1 discussions etc. This was perfectly fair and normal
in such meetings.
In response to questioning from Panel, CC was quite open about what he did, he was trying to
ensure the WR had a representative in next season's Scottish Cup. His communications with TJ were
purely in his capacity as Interim President of WR, and not as a representative of Auchinleck Talbot.
The perceptions of RP and TJ also were that CC was acting as WR Interim President and not as a club
official.
The fact that the communications by email of 9-13 April don't seem to have been fully taken on
board by the MC in general at their meeting on 14 April we can't quite fathom, but CC email to JF on
15 April makes it clear. The MC meeting of 14 April was for a null & void across all four WR leagues,
and the MC would then consider a nomination to participate in the SC (which was to be discussed at
16 April meeting). Bearing in mind that CC was not part of the relevant discussions on 14 April, but
was informed, then read the minutes the following morning, his email of 15 April to JF and the WR
MC (and copied to SJFA) expresses his worry that the MC appear to be going against the advice from
RP of the SFA, conveyed to them via TJ of the SJFA, regarding null & void not being suitable for a SC
place. However if the MC were to decide the leagues by some other method (e.g. average points per
game) (which to the Panel seemed the only other and logical conclusion, as used by other leagues
including the SPFL) then the MC could justify a nomination to the SFA for a league winner and
therefore a SC place.
The meeting of 16 April has seen the WR Fixture Secretary – Kennie Young, a neutral non-voting MC
member – work out the various statistics to determine a Premiership winner. Indeed the MC
discussions lead to all four divisions being concluded in order that divisional winners can be named
across all four divisions, which lead to Mr Young intensely working out the various statistics across
the teams in the various WR leagues and these discussions and conclusions took place over the
meetings of 16 and 20 April.
NOTE – As the Panel were provided with the actual Zoom recordings of all the meetings in question
(as opposed to just reading minutes, however abbreviated), as a result of the current Pandemic
meaning the MC could not meet in person, this was of great benefit to us. We heard in full every
discussion.
Accordingly, a brief summary of the relevant aspects from these meetings is noted below –
In terms of the Zoom meetings on 14th April,
at the end of part 1 of the recording CC clearly steps out the meeting and Felix McKenna (a Past
President) takes the chair as they discuss concluding Premiership and it is recognised that they can
only decide null and void, but they must create a chance for the SC place. In part 2 of the meeting, at
12'05 mins there are clear comments from MC members over being seen to be doing the right thing
so that no fingers can be pointed, that they have looked at every method, every statistic. At 15'15
there is a comment that they must look to the nth degree to determine positions properly. At 16'04
a comment that this is our last ever decision so it must be done right. At 19'25 there is a comment
on null and void or simply nominate a representative to the Scottish Cup. It is not until 24'28 that CC
re-joins the meeting, so he hasn't participated in the above. Then at 25'50 CC said they should try
get unilateral decision (referring to the north and east regions) (who we later learn have settled on
null and void), but he also confirms discussions (by email) with TJ and mentions that RP had said it
has to be proven to be on merit so you can justify the sporting decision.
The Zoom meeting of 16th April
after initial chit chat, the meeting opens and at 9'00 CC states that he wants it included in the
minutes that he removed himself from part of the meeting, (which the Panel can confirm that he
did) and he then refers to the emails between RP and TJ over the SC place before he leaves the
meeting as the MC then resume the premiership discussion. At 36' there is a comment that all the
information has to be there so there can be 'no jiggery pokery'. CC doesn’t rejoin until 7'14 of part 2
of the meeting and he is informed that they will announce winners of each division, the winners can
keep cups for life and the only other benefit is the premiership winner will go forward to the SC.
Kennie Young is to then do all the various statistics for all leagues and they will reconvene on 20
April
From the Panel – We specifically commend Kennie Young for the work he does in this regard.
The Zoom meeting of 20th April
CC opens the meeting and departs after exactly a minute to allow Felix McKenna to take the chair as
the MC discuss the premiership. There is clear praise for the statistics presented and the variety of
stats available. They are able to back up every decision on awarding titles etc with the statistics. CC
re-joins after 8 minutes as they go on to discuss other leagues. At 36'33 in part 1 of the meeting they
actually speak about getting good PR from the fair decision for joint championship winners (in view
of the various statistics produced and the unusual closeness of this particular division). At 37'19 it is
mentioned that the rules (the WR constitution and rules) allow for a play off in this scenario but it is
recognised that in the current pandemic circumstances this is impossible to achieve. In part 2 of the
meeting between 17' and 20' there is a discussion on the hard decisions that the MC had to take.
Finally, at 20'01 CC remarks that they have made the fairest decisions.
From the Panel – Having listened to all meetings in full, we are of the clear view that the MC were
scrupulously fair in their deliberations and discussions. Mr Young deserves great praise for working
out various statistics – home wins, away wins, goals, which opposition teams the various title
contenders had all played against, any discrepancies between only having played bottom end or top
end teams etc. It was a remarkable level to go to determine winners in what is to be the WR last
season.
The Panel confirm that RP and TJ confirmed to us the advice and guidance given to the MC (via CC in
his capacity as Interim President) for obtaining a representative for the SC on sporting merit, and
that this was reflected in the meetings and conversations we heard.
The Panel also note the comments from MC member Gordon Ronney in his initial response to
Cumnock JFC on the leaking of the material (see later in this report). In an email of 24 April Mr
Ronney confirms –
“The committee (WR MC) were torn between null and void and declaring winners. We did ebb and
flow. However, the deciding factor was the information from the SFA.”
All that said however with all the evidence available to us, in our opinion, in effect CC has been
conflicted from the start. Yes he is Interim President and therefore leads / guides the MC, but he is
also the representative of the only team (Auchinleck Talbot) who would ultimately benefit (on a
sporting and financial perspective) by a decision, any decision, to get a representative on sporting
merit (average points etc) into the SC.
While CC did correctly stand aside as his own division was discussed etc, the fact that the crux of the
matter was a Premiership winner who would qualify on sporting merit for a SC place, and, again in
his capacity as Interim President, in the email trail of 9-13 April he was clearly seeking the best
advice and guidance available from SJFA and SFA in order to have the WR Premiership winners
achieve a place in SC.
We are of the opinion, in fact there is no doubt, that CC had a clear conflict of interest, and, for good
governance, he should have stood aside right at the start and passed all such deliberations to the
Vice President or Past President. (It should be noted that due to some illnesses at this time not all
MC members were in attendance at each meeting). It appeared to the Panel, to use a phrase, that
CC was on the bus, albeit we do not believe he has exerted any undue influence on any other MC
members. Our view is, for openness and transparency, which is at the heart of what we are looking
at, as it is a perceived lack of that that has led to this investigation, he should have left the bus in the
garage.
That said, the decisions he made, the comments he made, were not wrong in themselves, but that
does not negate the fact that he was naturally conflicted and should have recused himself in the
whole process at the earliest opportunity.
The MC clearly went to great lengths to consider matters in a fair and comprehensive manner and it
is a shame that this has been tainted, rightly or wrongly, by the perception of undue influence.
Overall, having listened to all the discussions, the Panel can support the initial decision for Null &
Void; the Panel can support the decision to revisit that decision, as it is clearly prestigious for the WR
to have a representative in the SC; and the Panel can support the eventual decisions for divisional
winners (including that of the joint winners for the Championship).
DESTROY THE MINUTES
One aspect that clearly generated negative reactions by fans, players, officials etc in media and
social media following the leaking of the information on 17 May, was the email sent by JF on 17 April
to SJFA and WR MC members. For openness, and it is in the public domain via the leak, the content
of this email is as follows –
“Hi All
Please destroy the minutes that I sent out for the meeting held on 14 April as there are some
changes and it has been agreed as this meeting is being held over 3 nights (14, 16 and 20 April) and
updated combined minute will be issued next week.
I apologise for any confusion”
JF was asked by Panel about this email in which he stated, 'destroy the minutes'. He was asked what
was his intention with that email. His response was that as the meeting was being spread over a few
days, due to zoom, and due to revisiting the decision and working out the statistics, the minutes of
14 April were not full and complete and should any MC member be looking at these minutes at a
future point, the destroy the minutes was meant to reflect that the meeting had not concluded and
was still ongoing. and those minutes should not be founded upon as new minutes to reflect 14-16-20
April would follow.
In the circumstances, while the choice of words used was wrong, and was clearly open to a variety of
interpretations following the leak, the Panel do accept JF explanation as to his intention behind the
comment and the email.
THE LEAK
The evidence available to the Panel was in effect an email trail of 24-29 April whereby someone
unknown (we are unable to determine from the email or the attachment, and in the time available
to us we were unable to get any further forward with it, who this was) has sent to Cumnock JFC what
we assume to be the relevant correspondence from 9-13 April previously referred to, the minutes of
14 April previously referred to, and the 15 April email from CC, and the 17 April email from JF.
Cumnock then forward this to MC member Gordon Ronney on 24 April. He provides a response
shortly after receiving it asking the sender to identify themselves. The email has come from the
generic email address used by Cumnock committee members (and it was to this generic email
address that the original leak was sent). Cumnock confirm to Mr Ronney in a response on 28 April
that their committee intend to be open and transparent and outline various options open to them.
In fact Mr Ronney in his response does outline the various advice and guidance of options available
to Cumnock for any recourse / report etc they wish to make in terms of contacting the relevant
authorities.
We can identify overall though that the WR MC minutes and correspondence was sent by JF to the
MC members email. In two cases the MC member has had this emailed to his own club’s generic
email address, as opposed to a personal address. Another recipient of the general correspondence
was George Morton, who is or was Secretary of Cumnock, and a long serving official in the WR.
Further, the leaked information is sent to a generic email address (at Cumnock JFC) which is
accessible by their Committee’s ‘top table’.
In the circumstances we cannot determine from where the leak has come. We have no hard
evidence to identify any senders. Notwithstanding the 24-29 April emails between Cumnock and
Gordon Ronney, it was to be 16-17 May before the information finds itself in the public domain.
It would therefore be unfair for the Panel to draw any inference from what little we have been able
to learn.
VIEWS OF STAKEHOLDERS
As much of this has centred on openness and transparency, and as outlined much earlier in this
report, the perception of openness and transparency, the Panel felt it appropriate to seek the views
of a cross section of stakeholders - club officials, players, coaches, managers, fans, interested parties
and a neutral person from the east region - to get their overall perception of the situation and, had
they been in charge, in relation to the premiership only how would they have concluded the season.
It should also be noted that this exercise came towards the end of the Panel’s discussions and after
we had formed our view on the divisional decisions etc, but the view of others was important to us.
SOME ‘INTERESTED PARTIES’ WERE CONTACTED BY PANEL CHAIRMAN IN CONFIDENCE, ON 14TH
JUNE, AND THEY WERE ASKED THE FOLLOWING: -
DEAR…
AS YOU MAY BE AWARE I AM CHAIRING AN INVESTIGATIVE PANEL INTO DECISIONS MADE BY THE
WEST REGION OF THE SJFA INTO HOW THEY CAME TO CONCLUDE THE SEASON AND HOW THE
ASSOCIATED CORRESPONDENCE SUBSEQUENTLY GOT LEAKED.
I AM CONTACTING YOU AS A MANAGER / COACH / PLAYER / SUPPORTER / CLUB OFFICIAL /
INTERESTED PARTY, TO HEAR HOW YOU PERCEIVED THE PROCESS, SPECIFICALLY TO SEEK YOUR
VIEW ONI
DON’T SEEK YOUR VIEW ON THE ACTUAL DECISIONS MADE OR PERSONALITIES INVOLVED BUT I
WOULD LIKE TO ASK – (1) SPECIFICALLY ON THE PREMIERSHIP WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE DONE IN
ORDER TO DECLARE A WINNER (IF DIFFERENT TO THE COMMITTEE DECISION); AND (2) WHEN THE
VARIOUS COMMUNICATIONS WERE LEAKED ON SOCIAL MEDIA ON 17 MAY, HOW DID YOU
PERCEIVE THIS, HOW DID YOU FEEL ABOUT THE WEST REGION.
I WOULD APPRECIATE YOUR EARLY REPLY – IN CONFIDENCE – BY TEXT OR CALL TO [xxx] OR EMAIL
[xxx] OR VIA DIRECT MESSAGE ON TWITTER.
THANK YOU AND ALL GOOD WISHES
SCOTT STRUTHERS
RESPONSES (IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER)
PLAYER – THIS MAN IS A CURRENT PLAYER IN THE WEST REGION, HE HAS EXTENSIVE EXPERIENCE
IN SENIOR AND JUNIOR FOOTBALL
“1. I believe the decision should have been null & void. The only reason it was not done was to ensure
a ‘Junior club’ gained entry into the senior Scottish Cup. I don’t feel it’s right that Auchinleck Talbot
get to enter the senior Scottish Cup next season when they hadn’t even completed half of their
league fixtures. The financial gain they would receive from this is unfair in my opinion.
2. Secondly, when the news broke, I wasn’t surprised. With regards to (all 63 clubs) moving to the
new West of Scotland League I had received a call from the [xxx] Manager to advise them and [xxx]
had been speaking to members of the Region in order to ensure that the (current) West Region
Premier league went straight over to the new West of Scotland League at tier 6. So, it didn’t surprise
me with this (decision). I can understand the big clubs / any club looking after their own
interests…but the lies / secret talks that happened leave a sour taste. Hope some of that makes sense
and wish you all the best. If you require anything further, then please feel free”.
COACH – THIS MAN IS A CURRENT COACH IN THE WEST REGION AND HAS EXTENSIVE EXPERIENCE
IN THE SENIOR AND JUNIOR GAME ACROSS SCOTLAND AND IN THESE LEAGUES.
1. “For me you can’t announce a winner if mathematically (things) can change, same as relegation. i
would prefer a null & void due to a world pandemic.
2. the way the west region did things, i.e. emails etc was very unprofessional and made it impossible
for them to be trusted in my opinion. there was too much info of making decisions then changing
them when challenged by so called bigger clubs which stinks for me.”
MANAGER – THIS MAN IS CURRENTLY A MANGER IN THE WEST REGION.
1. “I would have had no issue with null & void, and I would have had no issue with average points per
game. I think most of the Managers think the same. Whatever was decided.
2. Colin Chisholm should not have been making any decisions. Yes, there were politics involved. The
issue is the perception that the Auchinleck Talbot member on the committee had some kind of role in
feeding back information from the SJFA re the Scottish Cup place, and the perception is it wasn’t
done properly. A precedent was set with the North and East Regions. With null & void no one would
have been treated any differently. To change it only benefitted one club. The perception is poor. It
has been frowned upon. Most folk have no issue with the West Region (Committee) in general, but
the issue is the Auchinleck Talbot representative clearly had a role in this and this club will financially
benefit as a result of Scottish Cup participation.”
CLUB OFFICIAL – THIS MAN IS A LONG SERVING CLUB SECRETARY IN THE WEST REGION.
1) ”As a club our wish was because this was the last season of Juniors that there was no need to
appoint winners and that all leagues should have been null and void.
There should have been no senior Scottish Cup rep as we felt it was wrong and unfair for one Club to
benefit from this financially.
We would have accepted one club being selected but all profits less expenses shared by all clubs.
2) We were furious when the emails were leaked we felt it was embarrassing to the region.
We are very disappointed in the management committee who allowed emails to be sent to a club
generic mail box.
We felt that West Region did not deal well with the whole affair and should have taken more time to
think things through.
It was a sad end to what was a good region and a lot of good people.”
NEUTRAL CLUB OFFICIAL – THIS MAN IS A LONG SERVING OFFICIAL AND CLUB SECRETARY OF AN
EAST REGION CLUB. HE HAS NEVER HAD A CONNECTION WITH ANY WEST REGION CLUB.
“Regarding question one, I do not feel that you can declare a champion when there was such a large
volume of fixtures still to be played. We all know that at Junior level the most successful clubs can
end up playing 3 times a week at the tail end of the season so to award a team a championship who
has nearly 50% of their fixtures still to play was somewhat surprising. However, if a decision on
declaring a champion was to be made then a PPG average was the correct way to do it.
Question two -When the information broke about what happened I was disappointed about what
appeared to have taken place. The integrity of the organisation has been completely shredded with
the information that came out. To ask for minutes to be destroyed looks is outrageous and makes it
look like things were being hidden. The West region for me ended up looking incompetent and
corrupt. They appeared to have made a decision to benefit one club, especially when it looked like an
agreement had already been made to void the season. It appeared to the bystander that the West
Region President (Auchinleck) had used his position to ensure that his club would benefit from the
decision to award the title to a club with the best PPG%. This of course meant Scottish Cup
Qualification and the potential for increased revenues. It left me feeling disappointed in the lack of
integrity that had been shown. “
FORMER CLUB OFFICIAL / CLUB SECRETARY AND A SUPPORTER IN GENERAL AT THIS LEVEL OF
FOOTBALL
1. I'm in two minds over the decision to award Auchinleck Talbot the league title. They were in a
strong position because of games in hand and most people would have expected them to catch
Kilwinning Rangers. But a chronic fixture backlog has adversely affected teams including Talbot in the
run-in before, so I have sympathy with KR's claim to the title as they were the top team when the
league was suspended.
Voiding the league would have probably been the fairest thing to do in terms of sporting integrity.
But I can see why the West Region sought to declare a winner, given a Scottish Cup place was up for
grabs.
2. The manner in which a decision was reached was unfortunate but I never for one moment thought
the decision or the process was made or conducted in bad faith. It was very poorly handled once the
West Region decided to reverse their original decision. It was justifiable to rethink their decision, but
they acted amateurishly from then on as if they had something to hide.
The instruction to destroy previous minutes made it look ten times worse.
Given that many think the West Region management committee were obstructive in the moves to
join the Pyramid, it is no surprise that some jumped to the wrong conclusions.
I wouldn't be too critical of them for the story getting out there through the local press. I work in
media. People tell us things all the time. It happens in every walk of life and certainly from insiders in
more professionally run organisations than a regional Junior football committee. “
AFTERMATH
Following the leaks of 16-17 May CC sent an email on the morning of 18 May to JF in which he felt
himself to be in an untenable situation and resigned as Interim President and MC member.
He made other personal comments regarding himself and praise for the MC, which is duly noted.
CONCLUSIONS
Panel has considered all evidence, all recordings (which were immensely helpful and far better than
any ‘minute’), the rules of SJFA and WR, and the aforementioned relevant policies of good
governance of SJFA, as well as communicating with various key people involved in the process.
In terms of the constitution and rules of the WR the panel found these were not overly helpful to us.
In fact the rules generally are archaic in places and our strong recommendation would have been,
were the WR to be continuing (which as we are aware it is not due to all 63 clubs leaving for the new
league) then a complete re-write of the constitution and rules would be essential.
We again praise the MC overall for the manner in which they conducted their discussions and
deliberations. Scrupulously fair is the phrase we use, having listened to the recordings of all
meetings.
We commend the good work done by Kennie Young in working out the various statistics in which the
MC brought the WR leagues to a conclusion.
Overall, having listened to all the discussions, the panel can support the initial decision for null &
void; the panel can support the decision to revisit that decision, as it is clearly prestigious for the WR
to have a representative in the SC; and the panel can support the eventual decisions for divisional
winners (including that of the joint winners for the Championship).
CC was conflicted in the process from the outset and, whilst his discussions and comments were not
wrong in themselves, he should have recused himself at the earliest possible opportunity, given the
only club who would ultimately benefit from declaring a Premiership winner on sporting merit would
be his own.
In relation to the above point, it is the perception of his (CC) involvement in the process that has
caused concern, and the use of the word ‘corruption’ (used on many occasions in social media
comments) in regards to the MC decisions following the leak to media and social media, as opposed
to any decisions he (CC) made himself.
The destroy the minutes wording used by JF was inappropriate, whilst we accept his intention of the
email and the meaning he intended. Nevertheless, to the layman the phrase used does not appear
well chosen and sends out a wrong message.
Regarding the leak, and consequently any data breaches or breaches of confidential information, by
any club or any MC member, we are unable to identify anything further from which we could draw
any conclusions at all and we would consider that aspect closed.
We take this opportunity to thank all persons for their co-operation and assistance given to us. we
extend our good wishes to all WR clubs as they look to a new league. We wish good health to all.
SCOTT STRUTHERS, CHAIRMAN
GUS MACKAY, MEMBER
TARIK SHAMEL, CO-OPTED MEMBER
24th JUNE 2020

 

 

See also West Region Management Committee Statement

30 Jun 2020

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Cannot argue too much about the Conclusions.

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The stakeholders comments are quite telling. One going for maybe titles awarded, maybe null & void and the other five going for null & void. Says it all. 

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Interesting to read the report recomending the entire consitution being re-written if the WRJFA was continuing noting some of the language being 'archaic'.

All academic now obviously but hopefully lessons are learned from it & can be taken forward as the WOSFL constitution/rules change & evolve over the coming seasons.

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Like a said all along we will never know Chisholm's real motive. For the benefit of the region or benefit of his club ? Off the record we will never know how much lobbying he did beforehand. Think we can see though that stakeholders would have preferred the null and void decision to stand and the management committee although doing nothing untoward left themselves open to criticism by revoting. Good report , good read , well done. Well done Kennie fantastic praise.

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18 minutes ago, GNU_Linux said:

Interesting to read the report recomending the entire consitution being re-written if the WRJFA was continuing noting some of the language being 'archaic'.

All academic now obviously but hopefully lessons are learned from it & can be taken forward as the WOSFL constitution/rules change & evolve over the coming seasons.

I haven't read the WRJFA's constiution, but I'd guess it was based on the SJFA's, which is a real dog's breakfast.

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So West Region Juniors are wound up because of world wide pandemic.

Talbot are unhappy as they want in the big Scottish Cup for a possible pay day.

Talbot are declared champions and boss it into big cup with hints of legal actions.

Whats left of the SJWR hide under the table looking like inept and embarrassed fools.

Case closed.

LL front men take over and promise full set of league fixtures as soon they get the go ahead from the football authorities.

 

 

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5 hours ago, clash city rocker said:

Like a said all along we will never know Chisholm's real motive. For the benefit of the region or benefit of his club ? Off the record we will never know how much lobbying he did beforehand. Think we can see though that stakeholders would have preferred the null and void decision to stand and the management committee although doing nothing untoward left themselves open to criticism by revoting. Good report , good read , well done. Well done Kennie fantastic praise.

Sorry but I must disagree. Chisholm's motives are clear (no matter what tie he had on at the time). What possible benefit was the MC u-turn to a region that was about to disappear down the plug hole? Only one beneficiary as far as I can see. The fact that the overwhelming majority of stakeholders wanted null n void yet it was completely ignored is inexcusable.

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14 minutes ago, fieldofdreams8 said:

Bloody hell the two minute non league football guy who has a thing for the boys club in alloa letting us all know how terrible this is when its clearly a storm in a tea cup. 

Trying poorly to cast doubt over atfc officials to suit his own plastic club.

Shameless. 

Two minute non-league (translate) you’ve no history therefore your opinion shouldn’t count.

Boys club (translate) your not run by grumpy old men with a hankering for the good old days before floodlights and assistant referees were invented.

Really there is nothing more shameful than ignoring the majority in support of the one. 

Plastic club (translate) I wish we could get a run in the Scottish Cup like BSC


 

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