It has been argued that if Rangers, in some shape or form, is permitted leave to remain in the SPL without any significant sanctions for their past misdemeanours, Celtic supporters will protest by boycotting away games to the detriment of the financial health of the entire league.
On the other hand, it has also been argued that if significant sanctions are imposed, Rangers supporters will protest by taking the very same course of action, with the very same result.
And thus it is believed that the SPL is facing an impossible decision. Whichever decision it takes, it is feared that the outcome will be financially disastrous. Indeed, followed through to its conclusion, either course of action could signal the end of Scottish football as we know it.
A false dichotomy is offered when it is argued that there are only two options available, neither of which are particularly palatable, but one of which, so the arguer will suggest, would be so damaging that we really need to accept his preferred option.
Should the SPL decide against imposing further significant sanctions, it would not be too inaccurate to think that they believe that the lesser of the two evils would be dealing with the boycott by Celtic supporters, rather than face the wrath of Rangers supporters.
In other words, they would be taking what they consider to be a calculated gamble: they would be assuming that it would be easier to encourage Celtic supporters back, than deal with the impact of banishing Rangers to Scottish footballing wilderness for the next few years.
This is the direction we would be pushed in if we were asked to accept that it would be better not to punish Rangers any further.
But it is a neat psychological confidence trick wrapped up in what would appear to be a choice between only two options: financial ruin for all concerned, or a gentle slap on the wrists to safeguard the future of our game.
A false dichotomy is often used when the arguer wants to avert our attention away from the existence of other possible solutions. It may take some creative thinking, and perhaps a strong dose of courage, but other solutions are always possible.
A false dichotomy is usually a scare tactic designed to secure an outcome that looks less than desirable to those who need to accept the choice and get on with it. And more often than not, a false dichotomy points towards a concealed preference; it’s just that they cannot come out and say as much.