An Open Letter To The SAFA


I would like to use this blog, which will reach a substantial audience in footballing circles to ask that we become pro-active as an organisation (of which I am a paying member) to rid our game of cheats. To clarify, by cheats, I directly mean clubs who are paying substantial amounts of money to sign amateur football players.

The discussion on the clubs in amateur football who are cheating and bending the rules has been done to death. Teams who are sticking to the constitution are suffering because of a lack of action. Established clubs with excellent reputations are now disappearing for good because they cannot compete with teams who are attracting players to them by means of financial payment as well as other unsavoury incentives. Surely it is time to stop burying our heads in the sand when this topic is mentioned and to take action against these people. It is ruining our game, absolutely ruining it.

I have several suggestions that I would like to draw your attention to and that I would like to see implemented.

  1. The removal of the rule whereby clubs can legitimately pay players travelling expenses. It creates a loophole which is easily exploited.
  2. A whistle-blower telephone number for information regarding cheating clubs and players to be reported.
  3. Investigations carried out into the finances of the clubs who have been the subject of whistle blowing reports to either confirm or deny the information. The constitution states any club must produce their accounts when required to by the SAFA.
  4. Lifetime bans for any individual caught paying players.
  5. Acknowledgement  from the SAFA that the payment of players is going on and a promise to rid the game of cheats.

This close season has seen a huge surge in the rush to get in the right players and to throw money at gaining quality players signatures. Surely the person in charge of the player registrations can see a pattern emerge whereby a players previous club(s) does not reflect the standard of club he is currently signing for, or an influx of players of great quality suddenly and strangely appearing at the one club. We need to start asking big questions…

…you need to start asking big questions!

The SAFA should not take heed of the people in our game who say that if you can’t prove it then it doesn’t happen and there is no point discussing it. The organisation should be going out of their way to ensure it is not happening and to severely punish anyone involved. The proof is out there. You just have to be willing to find it.

I am far from being the only club Manager who has been affected by losing a player from my club because I could not pay him or buy him expensive football boots yet we are the ones suffering and we have been left hung out to dry for not resorting to underhand tactics.

I would encourage anyone who takes the time to read this article to re tweet it, share it, quote it and show it to your friends. Make sure that this message does not fall on deaf ears.

We are sick of the cheaters and we want them OUT.

Yours sincerely


The Gaffer

7 thoughts on “An Open Letter To The SAFA

  1. Can I just say it’s commendable that u want to try and stop this happening but I have also spoke to players who admit that they only signed for a club because they couldn’t refuse the money on offer BUT to then get them to admit it officially would be the stumbling block and also players get offered jobs to sign for clubs . I say that if clubs are so desperate to win the Scottish /west or leagues and have money to burn then GO and play in the juniors !!!!


  2. It’s always happened mate and it’ll be very hard to get rid off, in my playing days it was fairly rife in the league I played in but almost impossible to prove,quick story, player I know demanded £400 signing on fee at certain club or he wouldn’t sign,club weren’t happy but gave him £200 as a down payment BEFORE he signed any forms, he walked away and signed for another club and there was feck all that could be done to him,all the best in your project,fingers crossed


  3. Yup !good well run clubs going to the wall.
    Good to hear of some clubs also known for cheating folding too (if the cap fits)

    Disgusts me no end..
    But players who win trophies whilst being paid… your medals are meaningless… chuck them in the bin.

    May I add… guilty clubs should be also reported to the police and HMRC.


  4. Its a game that’s about winning! Winning costs! At present our game is run by people that were either pish or didn’t get a game at any level. Now, people that manage or run clubs for the glory or to say ‘I’m a committee member’ need to look at themselves. I remember good amateur teams and Junior teams that ‘fed’ good decent players into the senior ranks. Now it depends who your parents are,what estate you live in or do you know certain people in certain sports clubs in Ayrshire. Shame on you! Shame on boys club football.Shame on Scottish Football. No worries though, certain families and family member’s are in crucial positions so no worries,#familyfinanciallysound#


  5. well written. but this is something the ayrshire and amateur committee should have addressed about 5 years ago. they are also benefiting from this or they would have put a stop to it they have ruined ayrshire football by ignoring this its time to get a committee and chairman who is willing to take a finger out there hoop it’s getting embarrassing and they should be ashamed teams and players should be named and shamed as peodos


  6. A very well written letter and echoes the thoughts of the majority of decent players and managers throughout the amateur family.

    In my opinion there is one simple way to solve this – introduce a proper pyramid system like in England. Teams who want to pay players will climb the leagues until they find their financial level. It will give proper meaning to the game and allow teams to measure progress as seasons pass.

    Obviously there are huge barriers to this, namely integration with junior and senior levels, but if we can push to bring this in over the next 5 to 10 years I’m certain we’ll see not only a fairness in our game, but a chance for real talent to progress, develop and get their chance at a higher level.


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