DST Calls for Clarity Over SFA Disciplinary System

Dons Supporters Together has urged the SFA to clarify their disciplinary system, following the decision to uphold the red card shown to Michael Devlin during last weekend’s defeat to Kilmarnock.

Despite the appeal being rejected nearly a week ago, the reasoning behind the decision has yet to be published.

The group is representing the overwhelmingly negative response to the decision, and the perceived lack of clarity behind it, which has led many supporters to label the association ‘corrupt’.

Gordon Duncan, DST Spokesperson, said: “Steve Clarke at Kilmarnock was quite clear in his criticism of the SFA’s judicial process. We agree, and would hope that Aberdeen are similarly vocal in their displeasure, standing with their supporters and player.

“Gary Dicker’s and Michael Devlin’s punishments were for different offences but the hearing is the same, without the player, referee or club officials present. If Aberdeen, like Kilmarnock, feel this is a flawed system they should say so.

“The logic is that a removed panel can apply their interpretation of the rules to the evidence at hand. But with such a considerable level of subjectivity involved, there is room for common sense in a more open hearing.

“At very least, there should be clarity as to why claims are dismissed, including incidents cited by the Compliance Officer.”

The decision not to overturn Gary Dicker’s red card (for serious foul play) and Michael Devlin’s (for denying an obvious goal-scoring opportunity) has been scrutinised further due a number of high-profile violent conduct allegations that have passed with lesser or no punishment.

“The standard of the refereeing on the pitch is one matter, the retrospective action another.

“We are now in a ludicrous situation in which clubs are missing key players to suspension through decisions made based on an interpretation of the rules as two players contest for the ball, when other players go unpunished or have punishments downgraded for striking opponents off the ball because they are not doing so with sufficient force.

“Irrespective of the level of contact made or injury sustained, striking an opponent should carry a suspension. Violent conduct is so regardless of whether contact is made. The laws of the game cite the use of ‘excessive force’ as a requisite for a red card for violent conduct when not challenging for the ball. Excessive force is later defined as ‘using more force/energy than is necessary’. There is no necessary force in the striking of an opponent.

“The laws are being interpreted to excuse unsavoury behaviour instead of punish it. It sends out a very poor message and the outcomes are detrimental to the integrity of the game and, by extension, the fans and players. Amid accusations of favouritism and even outright corruption, we would ask that the SFA reevaluate their interpretation of violent conduct or, at the very least, explain it and why it ostensibly contradicts the laws of the game.”

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