Hibs chief Leeann Dempster launches scathing attack on SFA disciplinary process as she calls for urgent change

Easter Road CEO spoke out after James Keatings' failed appeal

By Patrick McPartlin
Thursday, 20th February 2020, 7:35 am
Updated Thursday, 20th February 2020, 7:55 am
Leeann Dempster has called for change in the SFA disciplinary system
Leeann Dempster has called for change in the SFA disciplinary system

Hibs chief executive Leeann Dempster has called for urgent change to the Scottish FA's disciplinary system in the wake of Inverness Caledonian Thistle failing in an appeal to get a red card overturned.

The Highland outfit sought to overturn the second yellow card and subsequent sending off for former Hibs striker James Keatings who was dimissed in the Caley Jags' 2-1 win over Rangers Colts in the Tunnock's Caramel Wafer Challenge Cup semi-finals last weekend.

The 28-year-old went down under a challenge from Gers midfielder Ciaran Dickson but received a second caution and his marching orders from match referee Greg Aitken and even though television replays looked to prove there was contact between the two players, a fast-track tribunal panel dismissed Inverness's appeal.

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The club said the players and staff were "incredulous and furious in equal measure", with chief executive Scot Gardiner and chairman Ross Morrison counter-signing a statement which suggested the decision had "damaged the credibility of the SFA and brought the game into disrepute".

It continued: "We have been contacted by Chairmen, Chief Executives, Directors and fans of other clubs in a completely unique show of support and solidarity with James Keatings and ICTFC.

"As appreciated as this has been undoubtedly been, it does not change the fact that 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."

Motherwell chief executive Alan Burrows took to Twitter in response to the statement and said: "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."

Dempster echoed her Fir Park counterpart and former colleague, adding: "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."