Craig Thomson ban was Hearts decision, says SPL

Scottish Premier League chief executive Neil Doncaster has refused to intervene in Craig Thomson's situation at Hearts.

The Tynecastle defender has been suspended by the club after he was placed on the sex offenders register.

"It's very important that as a league we recognise what is within our jurisdiction and what isn't," Doncaster told BBC Scotland.

"When it's decisions on individual players that has to be something that's dealt with by clubs and clubs alone."

Following 20-year-old Thomson's conviction, Hearts stood by their player, citing "mitigating circumstances", but on Tuesday they announced that the player was suspended with immediate effect.

Doncaster added: "It would be a worrying sign if a league got involved with any decision on any player. Clubs have to take their own decisions."

Hearts were making the headlines on another matter on Tuesday - the SPL decided they should not be punished for the assault on Celtic manager Neil Lennon by one of their supporters at the end of last season.

And the league took no action against Celtic or Hearts for the offensive singing that was heard coming from some fans in that highly charged match.

"We were satisfied that all of our strict regulations were met by both clubs," Doncaster said.

"We investigated the incident very thoroughly.

"We were satisfied with the delegate's report, with the referee's report of the game, that everything that could have been done by the clubs was done.

"The individual has been banned for life from Tynecastle, he has had the full force of the justice system thrown at him and that is the appropriate way to deal with individual transgressions of this type.

"It's very important that we look forward to the season for the right reasons and draw a line under what happened last season."

The SPL kicks off on 23 July, its earliest ever start, and Doncaster is keen to point to the advantage that it presents to clubs and fans.

"It's important for supporters to make the best use of the summer that we do have," he said.

"We have to fit in a lot of games, so to focus on getting as many games as we can throughout the summer is surely better than having midfield mixtures in January.

"We know that in the past in European competition some of our teams have struggled because they are coming fresh from the beach, as opposed to being in training early and having a bit of competitive advantage over the other teams in Europe that haven't started too early.

"So I think it should help us in Europe over the long term.

Doncaster was at Fir Park on Wednesday to announce a new four-year sponsorship deal with football manufacturer Mitre.

"It's an exciting deal to be able to announce," he said.

"Our job as a league is to bring in as much money as we can for our clubs and to have distributed over £17m last season, we are looking to build upon that."