Henry McLeish seeks summit to revamp Scottish football

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McLeish calls for radical action

The man tasked by the Scottish Football Association to produce a review of Scottish football in 2010 is calling for a summit to discuss the way ahead.

Former First Minister Henry McLeish wants to hear no more excuses for failure after Scotland fell short in their Euro 2016 qualifying campaign.

He says the Scottish government and football bodies should together produce a radical plan to revamp the game.

"We cannot have excuses every time we fail to qualify," said McLeish.

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"That's just not good enough.

"I think we can safely say that, if we were in Iceland's group, we may have done better, but let's not go too far down that road.

"You cannot face every major tournament since 1998 and say 'well, hard lines, if that happened or if this had happened we might have made it'.

"You get to a point after 20 years that it doesn't stand examination."

Read more on McLeish review in archive stories
McLeish review part one
McLeish review part two

Since playing in the World Cup in France in 1998, Scotland have failed to reach a major tournament nine times in a row.

McLeish also says failure to qualify for Euro 2016 had nothing to do with bad luck and that things will only change if clubs stop putting themselves first.

The McLeish review five years ago highlighted failings within the game in Scotland. He called for major change, including league restructuring and more investment.

He believes things are moving in the right direction but has called on the SFA and the Scottish Professional Football League to make urgent changes.

"Forget about more reviews - maybe this is an opportunity for the SFA and the league set-up to get together," he said.

Scottish FA spokesman
"Scotland United: A 2020 Vision sets out a clear commitment to improving football in areas of grassroots, performance, finances and governance. We are committed to working with our member clubs and bodies to improve in all areas of the national game."

"The government should get involved too but government must be shown that the game wants to help itself.

"Self interest must be ditched for the national good - which is far more important than any club or the SFA or the league."

The SFA responded by stressing that it is committed to implementing McLeish's 2012 recommendations.

"We are committed to working with our member clubs and bodies to improve in all areas of the national game," said a spokesman.

SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster added that the league body was working with the SFA, government and others to make improvements.

"In the two years since the SPFL was formed, there has been much positive change, including the introduction of Premiership play-offs, financial redistribution to assist Championship clubs, new sponsor and TV broadcast deals, increased revenues and greater fee payments to clubs," he said.

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