HOLLAND’S biggest and richest clubs are using their wealth to make the Dutch league better.
So why has it been left to Aberdeen and Hearts to lead the charge in Scotland?
I really respect the Dons and the Jambos for saying they’ll help fund the installation of VAR in the Premiership.
The pair have also said they’re ready to pay for full-time referees – and they will formally tell the SFA next month.
But where on earth are Celtic and Rangers?
They are Scotland’s biggest clubs by an absolute mile, both in terms of fanbase and turnover.
Celtic have years of Champions League money behind them. This season they’ve reached the knock-out stages of the Europa League.
Rangers, meanwhile, made it to the group stages – and will have made a pretty penny in doing so.
So why aren’t they following the example set by Ajax, Feyenoord and PSV in Holland?
The Dutch giants agreed to hand 10% of their Champions League and Europa League cash to the rest of the clubs in their league.
Part of the money is earmarked to pay for clubs with plastic pitches to replace them with grass.
That’s a terrific gesture – sacrificing a wee bit to make the game better as a whole.
There’s no doubt in my mind that Celtic and Rangers should be doing the same.
For them to be lagging behind Aberdeen and Hearts on this issue is poor.
Neither the Granite City club, nor the Gorgie side, have coined in the sort of money the Old Firm have this year.
So why should they be the ones who feel they have to lead the way on handing funds to the rest of the Scottish league?
I suspect it’s because they didn’t believe either Celtic or Rangers would set the agenda, and are effectively forcing them into it.
That surprises me, but look no further than Rangers’ midweek draw with Hibs.
I know Steven Gerrard made a point of saying he had no complaints about missing out on a penalty when Hibs’ Mark Milligan appeared to move an arm into the path of a second-half Alfredo Morelos shot.
To my mind, if VAR had been in use, the Gers would have been awarded a spot-kick.
There’s also every chance that Hibs’ Ryan Porteous would have been sent off for his wild challenge on Lasanna Coulibaly.
VAR officials can intervene in games, after all, when they reckon the match referee has made a clear error in an incident involving serious foul play or violent conduct.
Given how the game was going, VAR intervention in Rangers’ favour would probably have meant three points.
So if any team ought to see the value in VAR this week, it’s the Gers.
But this issue isn’t just to do with technology.
It’s also about creating a full-time set-up for referees in Scotland.
There has been so much criticism of match officials this season – and more of it justified than ever before.
The argument I’d make is that they need as much help as they can get.
Allowing them to concentrate on refereeing as a full-time job would be really beneficial.
Rangers, in particular, have been vocal critics of Scottish refereeing this season.
So fair play to Aberdeen and Hearts for getting the ball rolling.
But I reckon the Gers – along with Celtic, who have the cash – should be embarrassed that they aren’t spearheading the movement to help officials out.