SFA pledge independent commission to probe Cup final disorder

AN INDEPENDENT investigation will look into the disorder that marred the Scottish Cup final, the Scottish Football Association has confirmed.

Monday, 23rd May 2016, 9:44 pm
Updated Monday, 23rd May 2016, 10:52 pm
A policeman draws his baton as Hibs and Rangers fans invade the pitch at the final whistle after the Scottish Cup final. Picture: Getty

It said a commission would review operational matters relating to the Rangers v Hibernian game on Saturday.

There were violent clashes at Hampden Park when thousands of fans spilled on to the pitch after the final whistle.

Rangers said their players and backroom staff were injured in scuffles following their 3-2 defeat.

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Fans of the Glasgow club also made it past stewards on to the pitch, leading to a period of fighting before officers on horseback separated the fans.

Hibs said they would co-operate with the inquiry, adding they were “sorry” for the pitch invasion by their fans.

Stewart Regan, the Scottish FA chief executive, said the commission’s findings would be published in full.

Mr Regan’s statement said: “I would urge all parties involved in the ongoing situation to demonstrate calmness, clarity of thought and responsibility as we proceed towards a satisfactory conclusion.”

The SFA boss said the independent commission into the disorder would look at “process and protocols” undertaken in the staging of the match.

Mr Regan added: “I have also instructed the compilation of a comprehensive report from all our internal group functions at Hampden Park to establish a full picture of the events of the weekend. The contents of this will be made available to the commission.”

He also confirmed the organisation’s football compliance officer had begun investigating potential rule breaches.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon yesterday insisted her social media congratulations to Hibs for winning the Scottish Cup could not be seen as turning a blind eye to crowd violence after the match, as some critics had suggested.

She said: “I condemn any acts of violence or disorder. Anybody who committed an offence after the final whistle should be dealt with by police.

“Congratulating a club for that achievement is in no way, shape or form condoning the actions of the fans who behaved in an inappropriate way.”

Assistant Chief Constable of Police Scotland Mark Williams said: “A full criminal investigation is now under way. Although we’ve made 11 arrests so far, I fully expect more to be made in the coming days as we sift through evidence from CCTV and other video footage and photographic images.

“If there’s lessons to be learned then we will do that with other partners so we can ensure scenes like those witnessed on Saturday don’t happen again.”