Amid the controversy over the resignation of the FIFA chief executive, Sepp Blether, it seems appropriate to remind ourselves of the fate that befell John McBeth, a former President of the SFA, who back in 2007 was thrown to the wolves for saying what so many Johnny Come Latelys are prepared to say now.
Mr McBeth made the mistake of not only speaking out against corruption but specifically against corruption among the African and Caribbean national associations.
Immediately he became subject to cries of “racism”, the cheerleader being Jack Warner, the FIFA vice president, who now runs the risk of spending the rest of his life in an American jail because of his less than ethical activities.
As people who knew Mr McBeth said at the time, the allegations of racism were ludicrous given the man’s strong Christian faith, which made no distinction between colour and creed.
The SFA was quick to distance itself from these remarks, as were the other three British national associations, both on the grounds of political correctness and for fear that it would endanger the very role of the British vice-presidency of FIFA, a position to which Mr McBeth had recently been elected and which some Afro/Caribbean countries have described as an “anachronism”.
Indeed many of these countries continue to take the view that there is no justification for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland enjoying separate membership of FIFA when they are, in effect, all part one country – and have been known to threaten to play that card when it’s been in their interest to do so.
Although the controversy effectively ended Mr McBeth’s vice presidential career, he stuck to his principles and, back in December last year, was quoted in The Herald with a statement that now seems remarkably prescient: “Knowing Blatter as I do, I have always said that he will either die in the job or go to jail.”