October 26th 2011 Dinner
Our guest at the October meeting was an old friend of the Association, Campbell Ogilvie. Before taking up his current role as President of the Scottish Football Association, Campbell was, of course, Managing Director at Hearts and no stranger at our meetings.
After Saltire had served up an excellent meal, Campbell gave us an excellent presentation on the changes that are taking place at the SFA after the publication of the McLeish Report on Scottish Football.
His first point was to emphasise that the McLeish Report was not just sitting on a bookshelf at the SFA but is being treated very seriously and much of its recommendations have already been put in place. The SFA is looking at its whole management structure and how football is organised at all levels of the game. Traditionally it has been run by a large number of Committees and already the number of these have been cut and the Management structure is much more streamlined. One recent introduction is a self assessment of their own performance in specific target areas and Campbell admitted that their scores were not high and improvements have to be and are being made.
Much of Campbell’s presentation was spent on youth development and the importance of a structure being put in place at all levels and ages. He emphasised the importance of helping youth coaches both in their own development and that of the kids. This runs in parallel with the thoughts of Craig Levein who since his arrival at the SFA as International Team Manager is very keen to look at youth development, in particular, the amount of physical education and the hours of training required to keep up with other nations. Campbell is also very keen on the introduction of synthetic pitches at youth level and believes that we will see more of these in senior football in the future and that given time the kids will get used to them by the time they reach senior levels of the game.
More communication between the SFA and the SPL and SFL clubs was a consistent theme during the presentation and Campbell gave the example of refereeing, always a controversial area, where referees are now going out to the clubs and speaking to managers and players in an effort to build a better understanding between them.
Finance during these difficult economic times and the fans’ desire to have more football on a Saturday afternoon is a difficult balance says Campbell. Like a lot of fans he likes his football on a Saturday afternoon at 3.00pm. Although televised football with midday kick offs do bring money into the game he is aware that the crowds are less for these matches and wonders what the real amount of money is brought in from television. With TV contracts about to be renegotiated he believes that this would be an ideal time to work out a balance of what the fans want and television income.
Campbell agreed to answer questions from the audience and various subjects were covered ranging from sectarianism to goal line technology. Campbell believes that sectarianism is a national issue which manifests itself at football matches. He is not keen on goal line technology as he personally thinks that it would lead to further video analysis during the game and spoil the flow of the match. A new stadium for Hearts was discussed. Campbell is a big fan of Tynecastle but he is only too aware of the size restrictions and problems of compliance with EUFA rules for stadiums.
It was an absolute delight to welcome Campbell back to Tynecastle and there is little doubt that there can be no one better to explain the changes within the SFA than him and the audience went home having enjoyed a most interesting evening.