Glasgow City emailed the Scottish FA on 26th October, asking for an email to be passed on to the League Management Committee who the club understood reset the fixtures during the summer. This request was looking for reconsideration of the SSE Scottish Cup Final date due to the fact it was an international FIFA date.
This email was passed on immediately to the Scottish Women’s Football (SWF) Board. The SWF look after the SSE sponsored Scottish Cup. The Scottish FA, look after the elite domestic game and League Cup.
Glasgow City received a response from the SWF on Monday 30th October at 17:14 stating it sympathised with our request for the date to be changed but the date would go ahead as scheduled and included documents to appeal to the SFA.
Two days later, as our club were preparing our appeal (which had to be submitted within five working days), we received another letter from the SWF stating they were incorrect in their initial reply to ourselves and we in fact had no right of appeal.
This they stated, was due to the fact that if we wanted the date of the SSE Scottish Cup Final to be changed we had to have appealed a notification to ourselves and other clubs of the final date within seven days of the initial notification which was emailed to us on 20th July 2017.
On the 20th July 2017, the Glasgow City management team, never thought for a minute it would have to examine every single fixture date for fairness of competition. We, as it turns out, wrongly assumed this would be a given.
On the 20th July 2017, only the second round of the SSE Scottish Cup had been played. As the months have passed and Glasgow City has progressed to the final, our attention correctly moves to the date of the final. To our horror, on the 26th October, we noted the final was during an international FIFA date and Ireland had a crucial world cup qualifier.
Glasgow City has four Ireland international players in its starting eleven.
All four players have been called up to senior international camps in the last 12 months.
On the 20th July, when the fixtures were received, we admit we did not rigorously check every single fixture date to ensure fairness. Did any other team? We believed this was the job of our governing body.
On the 20th July, the SWF changed the date of the final from the 19th November (not an international FIFA date) and changed it to the 26th November. At this point they would/should have noted it was an international date. We strongly question at this point that the SWF were not aware that changing the date of the final would impact on Glasgow City.
Our club, at the point of July in 2017, had been in six straight Scottish Cup Finals. The upcoming final is now our seventh in succession. We believe that in July, it would have been extremely ignorant of the SWF not to think that Glasgow City could have a chance of being in this year’s final.
We also believe that as a club who has had Irish senior international players in our first team squad since 2013 and indeed currently has four, and three on the 20th July, that the SWF were not aware that moving the date of the SSE Scottish Cup Final to an international FIFA date when Ireland had an international qualifier that Glasgow City, should they reach the final, which on history was extremely likely, would be significantly disadvantaged.
Yes, we should have not assumed competence/integrity of our major cup final scheduling, despite the fact we had only played the second round. Wrongly, we assumed we had a fair competition. We also wrongly assumed integrity of competition and professionalism and competence of our governing body to not schedule a Cup Final on an international FIFA date.
The only people who completely knew on the 20th July they had put our major cup final on a FIFA date were the SWF. Yet, they denied a duty of care to our club to inform us.
The SWF have informed us, and we quote ‘senior fixture schedule has traditionally been composed taking into account Scotland’s international calendar at both senior and Under 19 level’. This may be the case, but having looked at the past three years of fixtures, our Scotland squads have met up on every FIFA international date.
Therefore we would argue that Scotland not meeting up on the November FIFA international date goes against precedent. In addition, with this rule, only one team is discriminated and that is Glasgow City.
Our major Cup Final should have the best teams and the best players. Yet on the 20th July, our governing body knowingly put our final on a date which would have the most likely chance of having one of our best teams unable to field its best players.