What Scottish football clubs have said about the SFA disciplinary process as tensions rise

Hibs chief Leeann Dempster is the latest figurehead to speak out against the SFA's disciplinary process

By Angus Wright
Thursday, 20th February 2020, 8:47 am
A general view of Hampden as clubs hit out at SFA disciplinary process
A general view of Hampden as clubs hit out at SFA disciplinary process

Celtic and Rangers both had their say last month in the wake of charges stemming from their tempestuous meeeting at the end of December, while other clubs have piled in after Inverness Caledonian Thistle failed in an appeal to overturn a red card issued to striker James Keatings.

Here's what the clubs are saying...

Inverness Caledonian Thistle CEO Scot Gardiner and chairman Ross Morrison on Keatings incident, February 19 2020

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"We do not want to call into question anyone’s integrity with this statement but we must call into question the actual football knowledge of those sitting in judgement on all Scottish football players under this current system.

"If the individuals involved in the Tribunal can watch the footage we supplied and call this simulation, then there can be no other conclusion other than they do not understand football or the rules of the game.

"As harsh as this sounds, there can be no other conclusion. We believe [the decision] damages the credibility of our governing body and brings the game into disrepute. The decision is plainly wrong and the dogs in the street know this. We have no right to appeal this final decision and it is painful to accept.There is clearly something wrong with the system.

"If it is not addressed, we are all responsible for the continuing denigration of our standards, our supporters view of the national game and sporting integrity in Scottish football."

Hibs chief executive Leeann Dempster, reacting to Keatings scenario, February 20 2020

"We’ve spoken so much about this to the powers that be and I personally feel we’ve not made much headway.

"It needs to change - and by the way, if I hear the words ‘it’s a members' organisation’ one more time I might cough my liver up laughing."

Motherwell chief executive Alan Burrows, reacting to Keatings scenario, February 19 2020

"I agree with the sentiments in the Inverness statement that the whole Judicial Panel Protocol, its terms and how it is implemented, need to be completely torn up and rewritten, starting with a blank sheet.

"More about football and the spirit of the game and much less legalese."

Celtic, in a statement regarding a retrospective charge for violent conduct issued to midfielder Ryan Christie, January 6 2020

"Given the recent treatment of Celtic players and the lack of sanctions being imposed on those responsible, the fact that a sanction has been imposed on Ryan for the incident in question demonstrates a worrying lack of consistency in the Scottish FA fast track process.

"Naturally, we will be contacting the Scottish FA regarding our concerns. Scottish football deserves a disciplinary process which is fair, consistent and fit for purpose."

Celtic boss Neil Lennon, in comments made to the meduia regarding Christie incident, January 8 2020

“It’s so inconsistent. Honestly, we’ve been talking about this for years. There is so much confusion – but we have seen incidents that are a lot worse than that go unpunished.

"There really wasn’t much to it, yet he’s been cited for it and found guilty of how they describe it. But it’s absolutely bizarre.

“It’s so inconsistent. I’ve seen worse that either goes uncited or goes unpunished even when they have been cited. We are angry about it."

Rangers managing director Stewart Robertson, in a statement regarding SFA-issued fines of £15,000 relating to incidents in December 2019 matches against Hibs and Celtic, February 19 2020

“We have been disappointed for quite some time in the way that the disciplinary process is working. We've been quite vocal in that.

“There's also been a lot of lobbying going on in the background for changes and it's good to see other clubs are joining in that lobbying campaign at the moment.

"We feel there are still severe flaws within the judicial process and we are in active discussion with the SFA to address that. A lot of that will go on behind the scenes.

“I know the fans are maybe frustrated that they don’t always see what we are doing or hear what we are doing, but they can be assured that there is a lot of lobbying going on behind the scenes to change that."