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Steve Clarke charged by SFA over Dicker appeal comments

The Kilmarnock boss has been called to account after critical comments following a red card.

Criticism: Clarke slammed the SFA.
Criticism: Clarke slammed the SFA. SNS

Kilmarnock manager Steve Clarke has been charged by the Scottish FA following comments criticising the disciplinary process and a failed appeal against a red card.

Clarke suggested that an appeal against Gary Dicker's sending off last month was pre-judged because match official Willie Collum had been appointed to referee the Celtic v Rangers game.

He also said that the decision to show Dicker a red card for his challenge on Hearts player Callumn Morrison "lacked a calm and rational approach".

The manager's statement was reviewed by the Scottish FA's compliance officer, who believed Clarke may have breached the rules with his comments. A notice of complaint has been issued and Clarke has been summoned to a disciplinary hearing at Hampden on October 25.

He has been charged with making comments that imply bias or incompetence by a match official, and also faces a second charge of bringing the game into disrepute.

The club has also been charged with bringing the game into disrepute after publishing the comments, and is also accused of breaching rules about ensuring that employees act within the regulations.

Clarke and Kilmarnock have until September 18 to respond to the charges.

Clarke's statement in full

"I have to say that I'm disappointed but not surprised by the decision of the confidential panel, who chose to ignore our appeal and back the referee's original decision.

"An appeal process that excludes the people involved, namely the player, the referee and officials of the appealing club from putting forward their case face to face with the adjudicating panel will sometimes be open to strange and inconsistent outcomes. This panel will usually be made up of three people and will, in all probability, include no former players, coaches or managers who understand football and the decisions that are made within a game.

"My belief and that of the majority of people with a good knowledge of football would say that Gary Dicker's tackle was a genuine effort to win the ball without malice or recklessness and with minimal contact on an opponent who proceeded to roll around as if seriously hurt only to get straight back to his feet on the issue of the red card.

"The period of time between the tackle and red card decision was ridiculously short and lacked a calm and rational approach from such an experienced official.

"I don't want, or need to, go through recent instances where red cards have been rescinded or downgraded on appeal or where violent conduct on the field of play has been overlooked by officials because they are there for everyone to see. 

"Maybe smaller clubs like ourselves are fair game. 

"However, as I said at the start, I'm in no way surprised at the outcome of our appeal. As soon as I heard the news, very early in the week, that the referee in question had been appointed to take charge of the first Old Firm match of the season before our hearing had taken place I, and many other people, knew that the decision would go against Kilmarnock. There is no doubt that the perception of most and certainly of our club is that the hearing was pre-judged by this early appointment. 

"To finish I would like to reiterate my support for Scottish referees and believe that I have been a big voice in backing and supporting these sometimes maligned figures and despite issues like this one, they will continue to have my full respect and support."

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