Sex row football manager returns after beating ban

Gorgie Hearts coach Bobby Collins

Gorgie Hearts coach Bobby Collins

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A FOOTBALL manager banned for ten years for allegedly making sexual remarks to a teenage girl is back in the game after appealing to the Scottish Football Association.

Bobby Collins, 35, took his case to the SFA after the Lothian and Edinburgh Amateur Football Association (LEAFA) banished him from the game for a decade following the incident in 2009.

Officials there were disgusted at allegations made about Mr Collins, from Bonnyrigg, and his Preston Athletic team ahead of a match at Peffermill.

It was reported that he and others in the side subjected the 18-year-old attendant to “crude abuse”. But Mr Collins has vowed to clear his name, and has successfully reduced the ban from ten years to eight months. He took up work with AC Midlothian in the summer.

Officials at LEAFA are furious at being “undermined” by the SFA, and will uphold his ban within their jurisdiction.

Secretary Charles Gallacher said: “We found the decision by the SFA inexplicable.

“We investigated the matter, made our decision for the good of our members, and will absolutely stand by that.

“The club themselves were banned for a year, and so were some players involved, and he, as the one responsible for them, was banned for ten years.”

The team Mr Collins now runs plays in the Edinburgh and District Sunday Amateur league, over which the LEAFA has no jurisdiction.

It is understood the full council of the Scottish Amateur Football Association will meet next month, at which it will debate whether to make a recommendation to that league over Mr Collins’ involvement.

Mr Collins, who has been recognised by Holyrood for his contribution to football coaching, said he wanted to put the incident behind him.

He told the Evening News: “I wasn’t even there when the incident is supposed to have taken place. All I heard was a couple of the lads asking the girl if she had a boyfriend, and I told the committee that.

“But people there have it in for me, so I took it all the way and was proved right in the end. It’s great to be back. The LEAFA have said I’ve to go and explain myself, but I don’t see why I should, I’ve already taken it right to the top.”

The SFA was unavailable to comment on the issue.

amorris@edinburghnews.com