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Last Updated: Tuesday, 16 November, 2004, 22:03 GMT
Chick Young: Rules are archaic

By Chick Young
BBC Scotland football correspondent

He's an awful nice man is Willie Young. He was brought up in that wee fishing village in South Ayrshire, Girvan, where the bright lights turn red, red and amber, green, amber, red.

Places to go include an all-night phone box and a pub locked in another era. The kind of place that has a picture of Benny Lynch on the wall, sawdust on the floor and whose idea of a fancy cocktail is lime in the lager.

Of course, successful lawyer that he is, Willie now has a big house in a posh part of the south side of Glasgow. Furthermore, he is one of this country's most entertaining after-dinner speakers. And I'll tell you another thing. He is a top-notch referee.

Willie Young sends off Nacho Novo against Hibernian
Willie Young sent off Nacho Novo after linesman's advice
The management of Rangers, the club's players and its fans may be unable to see my point in the wake of the ordering off of Nacho Novo at Easter Road, given that, in the wake of the red card, there has been mounted a campaign the likes of which hasn't been seen since the last Royal pardon.

In fact, I am surprised they haven't been in touch with the Palace.

Strictly speaking, the club have no complaint. It was an ordering off. Soft, I agree, but within the laws of the game a correct decision.

And the referee was only dragged into making the decision in the first place because of the involvement of linesman Steven Craven, who in turn had to draw his attention to Novo lashing out because he knew the cameras would catch it.

All of which brings me nicely to my point. There is too much pressure on our match officials and not enough compassion.

The system forced Young into an embarrassing situation and then allowed Rangers the right of appeal, action that I did not consider to be an act of dignity, nor style.

Of course, I am aware that Celtic have used a similar tactic in the past, but surely we left the "I did it because he did it first" mentality in the school playground. Or maybe we didn't.

Or you could just argue that Rangers are right to abuse the system because the system allows them to do so.

Mark Wilson is sent off for hand-ball despite heading it
Wilson was the victim of a mistake that could not be corrected
Meanwhile, what about poor Mark Wilson and the case of the hand-ball that never was? His sending off was a huge mistake and even the referee agrees with that. And, no doubt, Dundee United manager Ian McCall will be fined for highlighting the folly of it all.

But because the rules of appeal cover only - and I quote from the SFA disciplinary procedures clause five, subsection two - "wrongful dismissal for serious foul play, violent conduct or spitting at an opponent" and NOT mistaken handball, Wilson was hung out to dry.

The rules are archaic. They are so out of date in terms of acknowledging the introduction of camera technology that there is sepia round the edges. They were drawn up by crusty old men with pince-nez and quill pens in dusty rooms and they need changing. Urgently.

And who, pray, can change them? The SFA. And who are the SFA? The clubs. The same clubs that scream about injustice and blame referees.

The rules are horribly, shockingly, disgustingly and obviously wrong and there is no point in hiding behind them. Just change them - now - without waiting for agms and sub-committees and the next leap year.

And allow Willie Young to hold his head high in the streets of Girvan once again.





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