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Gordon calls for transparency in disciplinary process

The Celtic goalkeeper said 'clouded' system could cover up 'allegiances'.

Celtic goalkeeper Craig Gordon has called for greater transparency within the Scottish FA's disciplinary system and suggested the "clouded" system means people may believe club allegiances play a part in decisions.

The Scotland international's comments come after a period of intense criticism for the national association and the disciplinary process.

Among a number of contentious disciplinary issues, Kilmarnock's Gary Dicker and Aberdeen's Mikey Devlin were controversially sent off, with both losing their appeals, while no action was taken against Rangers goalkeeper Allan McGregor after footage showed a kick at Celtic's Kristoffer Ajer during the recent Old Firm derby.

The latter decision prompted discussion about the interpretation of violent conduct rules, as well as scrutiny of the Scottish FA's Judicial Panel Protocol with a change to the process now meaning three former top level referees have to agree that a red card offence was missed.

Gordon, asked if the uncertainty over the rules made things difficult for players, said the risk shouldn't be taken.

He then criticised the process where he claimed a lack of transparency meant there was no faith in the system, saying nobody knew where the referees' "allegiances" were.

'It's a strange system, you never know who the referees are or what their allegiances might be. I just think that's probably not the best way to go about it.'
Craig Gordon

"I think if [players] are in two minds or they don't know then they shouldn't be doing either, to be honest," he said.

"You're going to put yourself in a difficult position and make referees have to make a decision, or a compliance officer or, however, they go about trying to adjudicate these things at the moment.

"It seems quite a clouded subject in how they get to the decisions. As far as I'm aware it goes to three referees and there's no comeback. You don't know who they are.

"It's a strange system, you never know who the referees are or what their allegiances might be. I just think that's probably not the best way to go about it.

"I'm not saying I've got the answers but certainly if you've got the incidents that things are happening on the pitch, if the referee misses them then there has to be that system in place that there is retrospective action and they should be getting that right."

Gordon didn't say club allegiances were influencing decisions but said that the anonymity required by the Scottish FA process meant that it could always be questioned.

He also said players hadn't been fully briefed on changes to the interpretation of the rules before the new season kicked off.

"We don't know who the panel is so it's hard to know either way," he said. "It makes it look like there's that possibility and it shouldn't be that way.

"We just need to know exactly what's happening, what is violent conduct and what's not. Then everybody abides by those laws and we get on with it.

"It's happened now, that's the decision and we move on. He's free to play in the next match but for Rangers they've got more than two great goalkeepers so whoever plays in the first team they'll have a great goalie.

"So I don't think it makes a difference to points or to the league it's just about getting decisions right."

Under the new Scottish FA rules, incidents that have been missed by the match referee are referred by the compliance officer to a trio of former Category One referees who independently review the incident. If all three agree that a red card offence has been missed, then the player will be issued with a notice of complaint and the offer of a fixed ban, or the opportunity to argue his case and have the matter decided at an disciplinary tribunal.

Where a player has been sent off during play, an appeal is permitted. The club and player submit evidence to support the appeal, and the match referee is asked to explain his original decision. Neither is present at the hearing where the decision is reviewed.

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