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Page last updated at 16:30 GMT, Friday, 15 October 2010 17:30 UK

Scottish FA makes disciplinary system changes

Rangers goalkeeper Allan McGregor
McGregor's ban has put the disciplinary system in the spotlight

Improvements have already been made and more are to come, the Scottish Football Association has stressed in light of criticism of its disciplinary system.

Rangers manager Walter Smith voiced his concern following a ban for violent conduct imposed on goalkeeper Allan McGregor based on video evidence.

New SFA chief executive Stewart Regan has already acted to make changes.

"There are elements of the process that I, as a newcomer to the Scottish FA, am not entirely content with," he said.

"I have already requested a tightening-up of certain elements which I believe will help improve the transparency and functionality of the procedure.

Disciplinary process unfair - Smith

"It is my intention that formal notification of investigations will be made sooner and that a fixed timescale for any subsequent appeal is established.

"It should be noted that, compared to previous procedures, the current investigation system is now completed within a two-week timeframe and is therefore more efficient."

McGregor was banned for one match after television footage showed him aiming a kick at Aberdeen striker Chris Maguire at Pittodrie on 26 September.

But the disciplinary committee did not meet to consider the case until last Friday, a decision having been delayed while awaiting Regan to take up his new post.

"The timing was unfortunate - and not how I intended to spend my first day in office," he said of a decision taken on the day McGregor was appearing in goal for Scotland against the Czech Republic in their Euro 2012 qualifier.

SFA chief executive Stewart Regan
Regan took up his post with the SFA last week

"But the investigation process is designed to ensure violent conduct is eradicated from the game while also providing a support network for match officials who may have missed such instances."

Smith and Celtic counterpart Neil Lennon believe that the greater television exposure given to their clubs mean that their players are under increased scrutiny.

But Regan said: "While some of our more prominent clubs argue that their media exposure leaves them unfairly at risk of such investigations, I would point out that, adopting the same principle, they are also in a position to have a higher percentage of claims for wrongful dismissal acted upon.

"Furthermore, we have dealt with many cases from lower divisions using club television or analysis footage."

Lennon called for greater transparency as, had McGregor been his player, he would want to know who had alerted the disciplinary committee to the incident.

McGregor ban 'strange' - Weir

Arguing that it is "a far more streamlined process than previously", Regan said: "The review panel consists of a pool of former players, with input from PFA Scotland, former managers, with input from the League Managers' Association, and former referees.

"It ensures a cross-section of opinion across the football family, but to reveal their identities on a case-by-case basis would be detrimental to the integrity of the process.

"Finally, it has been mentioned that, while the process deals with misconduct missed by a referee, it does not include instances where it is believed a referee 'maybe didn't judge properly'.

"This falls under the category of claims for wrongful dismissal, a procedure with which clubs are familiar. It should be emphasised, though, that the investigation process is designed to assist match officials.

"To intervene in instances that fall between investigations into incidents missed by a match official and claims of wrongful dismissal would compromise the authority of referees in relation to the Laws of the Game."

see also
Smith wants disciplinary equality
15 Oct 10 |  Rangers
One-match ban for keeper McGregor
09 Oct 10 |  Rangers

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