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Page last updated at 17:33 GMT, Saturday, 6 June 2009 18:33 UK

Smith opens door for banned duo

SFA chief executive Gordon Smith
Smith said he wanted to clarify the situation regarding the axed pair

Scottish Football Association chief executive Gordon Smith says Barry Ferguson and Allan McGregor could return to the national side.

The Rangers pair were told they would not feature for Scotland again after making V-sign gestures from the bench before April's 2-1 win over Iceland.

But Smith told BBC Scotland that the pair could be recalled if manager George Burley felt it was merited.

"There could be some sort of spirit of reconciliation," he said.

Ferguson, 31, and McGregor, 27, apologised for their actions while on the bench during the World Cup qualifier at Hampden on 1 April.

But the SFA issued a statement following the incident saying that the pair would not be chosen for Scotland duty again.

Smith said the media had wrongly indicated the players had received life bans, and the chief executive was keen to clarify the situation.

"It wasn't a life ban," Smith told BBC Radio Scotland's Sportsound programme.

"The press came out with the terminology 'life ban'. They're not being chosen at the moment, but that could change.

"Most players only play up to a certain age; they don't play for their whole lives. The statement from the SFA never said a life ban. It said they weren't going to be chosen again.

Barry Ferguson and Allan McGregor
Ferguson and McGregor were told they would not feature for Scotland again

Smith added: "Another manager in the future could decide to play them. That's the whole point. Now we're being judged to have been too harsh in handing down these bans.

"George Burley gave his approval to the decision that was made."

Burley would need the approval of the SFA board if he wanted to recall the pair, Smith added.

The Scotland chief executive said the SFA was judged to have been "too harsh" in handing down the bans, while Rangers manager Walter Smith was praised for his "strong" response to the matter.

The Rangers manager stripped Ferguson of the captaincy and suspended the midfielder and goalkeeper McGregor for their V-sign gestures.

Ferguson returned to the Rangers side before the end of the season, but the pair, who apologised for their actions, face an uncertain future at Ibrox.

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see also
Burley distances himself from ban
12 Apr 09 |  Internationals
No way back for Scots duo - Smith
09 Apr 09 |  Internationals
I had to set an example - Burley
05 Apr 09 |  Internationals
Union blasts SFA over gesture row
04 Apr 09 |  Internationals
Scots end Gers pair's cap career
03 Apr 09 |  Internationals
Peat demands Scots drinks probe
03 Apr 09 |  Internationals
Scotland's hall of shame
01 Apr 09 |  Internationals

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