Mulraney pledges £50m for facilities after SFA challenges ‘doomsayers’ with TV deal

De Schotse FA-president Mike Mulraney heeft geen tijd voor iemand die het Schotse voetbal bagatelliseert.  <i>(Image: SNS)</i>” bad-src=”–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTY0MA–/ 473522c63ed94″ src= “–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTY0MA–/ 2c63ed94″/><button class=

Scottish FA president Mike Mulraney has no time for anyone who downplays Scottish football. (Image: SNS)

Mike Mulraney is no shrinking violet, that’s for sure.

The chairman of the Scottish FA has an air of confident bullishness about him that makes it difficult to determine whether his proposal to double the pay of the Scottish FA board went unchallenged at yesterday’s AGM because members agreed that they messed up, or because they were scared. from him.

He would argue that it was most certainly the former. And he’s more than willing to show off his work.

Yesterday he was able to point to the ink still drying on a newly agreed recording contract for the Scottish Cup as evidence of the work they are doing: a 33 per cent increase in terms he believes goes against the prevailing winds of the industry. , and proves that Scottish football is ‘flying in the face of the negative doomsayers’.

READ MORE: Mulraney slams ignorant SFA brass critics after pay rise

What’s more, he’s not afraid to put the money the Scottish FA brings in where his mouth is, making an unprecedented pledge to reinvest £50 million of commercial income into football facilities across the country over the next five years, after spending £30 million have invested. compared to the previous pair.

Such ambitious targets could not be considered without deals like the new deal with BBC Scotland and Premier Sports, he says, and without the work of his board.

One thing that cannot be doubted is Mulraney’s passion for the Scottish game. His years as chairman of Alloa Athletic seem to be proof enough of that.

His message of positivity about Scottish football – the record attendances, the unique environment – ​​is one he wants to seep through to the governing body’s staff throughout his time in office, as well as to the world.

According to him, this is how such deals are made. And how investments will follow in the future.

“I make no apologies for my views, my views are clear. Most people who downplay Scottish football are talking about Scotland,” Mulraney said.

“It’s a very Scottish character trait, which is disappointing, and I don’t share that character trait.

“We have a great product. We are not the English Premier League, so don’t try to be. We are the Scottish Premier League, we are Scottish football. We are not the English Cup or the German Cup, and we don’t want to be. We want to be Scottish and we want to be the best we can for our nation.

“I don’t want to imitate any other country. I want to understand what they’re doing, and so does the team here, and then we’ll make a value decision on how we implement that so that it best suits our country.

“We are not Germany, we are not France, we are not Sweden, Norway, Spain or the Netherlands. We are Scotland, and I believe in that balancing act [between protecting attendances and broadcast rights] that we are not always exactly right, but we are broadly right.

“It’s reflected in the fact that people are willing to pay to walk through the doors of the game, it’s an exciting product. The SPFL ratings have been released [this week], and just wow. Again, that flew in the face of anyone who is a negative doomsayer. They blew it out of the park.

“We had 6,000 Scotland fans watching training in the rain on Thursday morning.

“We’re flying in the face of the doomsayers, it’s a fantastic place to be.”

What critics would say, and have said in particular about the latest SPFL TV deals, is that limiting the number of matches shown, or the companies that can bid for them, does not get the best deal for Scottish football at all.

They would also argue that there is little evidence from elsewhere to support Mulraney’s claim that audiences would decline if every game were made available for broadcast. But he says such complaints stem from an unskilled position.

“In a market where TV deals are becoming tougher across Europe and the rest of the world, where incomes are falling as a result of TV deals, and everyone knows you have to give more for less, Scotland is in a position where our boys have negotiated a 33 percent increase. over a period of five years,” he said.

“That is unprecedented. It’s incredible when you raise that much money. It bucks the trend and I think it’s a reflection of where Scotland is as a nation and where our football is.

“Anyone who thinks that’s not good news in the current climate doesn’t understand the current climate, because the current climate is incredibly difficult.

“Criticism comes easy to people who don’t understand what they’re talking about. If you don’t understand the market and the environment you’re talking about, it’s easy to criticize.

“The bottom line is that not only are we doing well, but we are doing well in an environment where everyone else is struggling. And the team not only did it well, but they made it a success.

“We built stability for the revenue streams, we built stability for the fans who support our game.

“The revenue streams are only there because they buy the TV [packages]which gives confidence to the market, supported by the huge UEFA contract we got because we trusted UEFA to negotiate on behalf of Scotland.

“The amount of money that comes from this is fantastic, we have benefited enormously from it, and that allows us to put young football boots on artificial turf and grass.

“We can’t do it without the money, and that’s the big win for Scotland. And that’s the big win for us if we’ve been considering media contracts, and this is not only being considered, it’s an economy breaker.

“It goes against the grain of everything else happening in Europe. It’s great news for Scotland.”

Great news for Scotland in the short term would be a successful European Championship for Steve Clarke and the national team, something that Mulraney, like every Scot, would like to see.

But he believes the feel-good factor that would create would be of little significance if the facilities are not there to take advantage of it.

READ MORE: No UEFA request for audio between Spain and Scotland, says SFA chief

“What the national team does historically, you look at the legacy they achieve and you look for a sporting legacy,” he said.

“What I’m saying is part of the legacy that can be not just about the sport, but also about the facilities. If we don’t build the facilities, there will be no sporting legacy.

“So what the national team is doing is helping us in our journey, in our mission, to rebuild the facilities in Scotland, to rebuild the sporting infrastructure to stop the decline, and I have said it repeatedly: what we we have, we keep, what we have, we improve, and what we don’t have, we build.

“It’s quite simple. The board agrees, everyone agrees, and we do it.

“Because what Steve does with his team will build a legacy on the park, and it will create ambition for our young boys. And the same goes for the women’s team: it will be an ambition for the girls of today to become the footballers of tomorrow. But without facilities, not only can they not, but they cannot.

“So if he (Clarke) wins all the games in the world, if they can’t get on the grass and artificial turf and can’t kick a ball, then honestly it will be great and everyone will feel good for a summer. and then it disappears into the sand.

“The SFA will build. The foundations of our sport must be renewed and rebuilt. That’s what we do.

“I accept that £50 million is an incredible amount. But I told my members that that’s it, there’s no, ‘We’re going to find £5 million somewhere.’ In five years we will find £50 million.

“We don’t just build for football, we build for Scotland.”

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