Leeann Dempster: Hibs chief executive says SFA disciplinary system needs 'positive surgery'

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The Scottish FA's disciplinary system needs "positive surgery" to quell "discontent" from clubs, says Hibernian chief executive Leeann Dempster.

Dempster followed Motherwell counterpart Alan Burrows in voicing concerns in the wake of Inverness Caledonian Thistle's failure to overturn a James Keatings red card.

Celtic and Rangers also criticised the system after December's Old Firm game.

"There is a general discontent with the protocol at the moment," Dempster said.

"And instead of just sitting whingeing about it, clubs need be part of it. I certainly want us to be part of it and I know there are other clubs who feel the same.

"We want a compliance system that everybody buys into. I genuinely feel sorry for James. That is just one example of how the compliance system needs a bit of positive surgery."

Keatings will miss the Scottish Challenge Cup final after a three-man SFA panel upheld his sending off in Sunday's semi-final win over Rangers Colts. The striker was shown a second yellow card by referee Greg Aitken for simulation, but Inverness believe video evidence proves he was fouled by Ciaran Dickson.

The Championship club claimed their failed appeal shows the system is seriously flawed, while Burrows called for the judicial panel protocols "to be completely torn up and rewritten".

Rangers this week reportedly criticised "severe flaws" in the disciplinary process, while confirming they will appeal a £10,000 fine from the SFA for for gestures made by Alfredo Morelos and Ryan Kent in the 29 December Old Firm game.

And St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright has added his support to the calls for change.

"I've been to these disciplinaries and always get the feeling you are having to overturn the impossible when that shouldn't be the case," Wright said.

"I don't know where it's the people they bring in to be on the panel, if they have an understanding of what's going on. There does seem to be something that needs rectified."

And Livingston boss Gary Holt says the make-up of the judicial panel should be addressed.

"I think it should be a panel made up of people that we know," he said. "Why should it be an independent panel that no one knows?

"It should be a collection of six people that are rotated round that have a standing in the game and that are respected. You could rhyme them off - Gordon Strachan, Willie Miller and Alex McLeish. There are three off the top of my head."

How does the process work?

If SPFL clubs decide to appeal against a decision, they must prove that an obvious error has been made.

They have until 13:00 on the first working day after the match to lodge their intention to appeal, and their case must be submitted by 17:00 the next day.

The player or any other personnel cannot attend the hearings, which will be a video conference between a tribunal of trained, independent judicial panel members.

The Scottish FA's compliance officer plays no part in the proceedings.

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