Egregious – What Does That Even Mean?

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We weren't too happy with the Disciplinary Commission's decision to spare the Silkmen – not least 'cos we had to look up what 'egregious' means

We weren’t too happy with the Disciplinary Commission’s decision to spare the Silkmen from the drop. If you didn’t already know, they only lopped off two suspended points for their latest rule breach. So, they stay above us in the table. And we go down. But that’s not been made any easier to take now the judgement is out in the open. Not least ‘cos it meant we had to look up the meaning of the word “egregious”.

No matter what your dictionary of choice is, “egregious” means much the same. For this one, it means “extremely bad in a way that is very noticeable”. Or we could make it a lot easier for us all by using another definition: “very bad indeed”. So, when the commission itself says that Macclesfield Town‘s rule-breaking is egregious, it’s not like they’re giving them the benefit of the doubt. Quite the opposite. They’re bang to rights, more like.

Not what it means, but what it means

Yeah, that’s a deep one to ponder innit? It’s fine and dandy to look up any old word in your finest English dictionary. But it doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things; not if a word means something different from one person or, let’s say, commission to the next. For the Disciplinary Commission, egregious misconduct “does not necessitate a sporting sanction which would result in [the Silkmen’s] relegation from League Two”.

The Silkmen were spared relegation after the Disciplinary Commission decided against any further sanctions

And, yet, our belief (and not just ours) is that ‘very bad’ rule-breaking actually does call for such action. Otherwise, what’s the point? How about using “mischievous” or “cheeky” or “impolite” to describe how the Silkmen broke the rules again. Then we could start to think that the punishment fits the crime.

Of course, we would say all this – wouldn’t we? If someone else goes down, the chances are we might stay up in their place. But this isn’t actually about us. You can take Boro’ out of this picture, but the argument doesn’t change. You can relegate us regardless, and the argument doesn’t change. It’s not like the commission’s decision went down well with “several [other] League Two clubs”, according to The Athletic.

So, what does integrity mean to the EFL?

There are some clubs, however, who back the commission’s decision. Well, the decision not to relegate the Silkmen. The basis for that is that relegation should be decided on the pitch. Not in hearings taking place behind closed doors. And we do get that. We know all too well we’ve been cack on the pitch. Yet, this brings us full circle to the matter of sending us down when our fate was still in our hands with 10 to play.

You either have integrity or you don't. Or are we being naive and asking too much of the EFL?

Tranmere’s idea for ending the 2019-20 season had that in mind. We can’t be bothered to go back over that, however. But the EFL did say “relegation across all three divisions is integral to the integrity of the pyramid”. Ah yes, that word integrity. How do you define that? Is it not integral to the integrity of the pyramid that everyone plays by the rules too? You either have integrity or you don’t. Or are we being naive and asking too much of the EFL?

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