Over to you Mr Regan

It is not about rival supporters having skewered moralistic bragging rights, further ammunition to taunt rivals on match days, new material for distasteful banners or lyrics for equally distasteful songs.

It is about one thing and one thing only – the protection of children.

It is about one thing and one thing only – the protection of children.

It is about one thing and one thing only – the protection of children.

As child abuse revelations continue to shake the foundations of our game to it’s very core it is beyond belief, beyond sheer incompetence in fact, that the Scottish FA have not mirrored the action of their English counterparts and ordered a comprehensive review of child protection procedures.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/38121724

Alarmingly, within the Scottish media there is a clear indication that there remains to this day a reluctance to speak about the reasons why such a comprehensive review is essential.

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Furthermore, you have to ask yourself why the normally intrepid Mark Daly at BBC Scotland allowed the Peter Haynes story to slip through the net until the current storm regarding child abuse started blowing.

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It is not only procedures and information sharing protocols which need to be reviewed, altered and challenged, but more importantly priorities.

The lessons of the Jim Torbett and Frank Cairney episode at Celtic Boys Club have a considerable irony about them. In their botched attempts to protect the name of Celtic Football Club, the failings of those Celtic officials to deal with the matter properly and effectively has left an indelible stain on the name of Celtic Football Club forever. The psychological stain on the victims however is even worse.

As you work through the recent media revelations of child abuse within the Scottish game there is a common denominator – a catalogue of errors and missed opportunities. It goes well beyond arrogance and into the territory of neglect to suggest that Scottish Football does not require a comprehensive “warts and all” investigation into child protection and child abuse procedures.

Courage and foresight is required at the Scottish Football Association. It is abundantly clear from the Peter Hayne’s story that many of Mr Regan’s predecessors will not emerge from such an investigation with their reputations intact. But when we are presented with a set of circumstances where a victim of child abuse is offered a tour of SFA headquarters as some sort of remedial action then you really must declare “enough is enough”.

It is clear from the past that child protection measures within Scottish Football having fallen far short of what was required, and for a variety of reasons were not fit for purpose. We have an opportunity to right that wrong, to safeguard children in the future and to build a robust and sustainable model of child protection within our national game in the future.

Will we Mr Regan? Or will we once again fail Scotland’s children?

 

The NSPCC offers a free helpline for footballers who have been abused. It is available 24 hours a day on 0800 023 2642.

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