Scottish Daily Mail

SFA will not punish Hibs or Rangers


THE lack of a strict-liability rule in Scottish football means Hibs and Rangers have escaped punishment for the shameful scenes which marred last season’s Scottish Cup final. It was confirmed by the SFA yesterday that a judicial panel had thrown out notices of complaint issued to both clubs in the wake of the onfield violence and damage at Hampden. And their judgment highlights the inability of the authoritie­s to pin supporter misbehavio­ur on clubs. As there is no strict-liability procedure in current regulation­s, it means any offence can be successful­ly defended if a club can show they did everything ‘reasonably’ practicabl­e to

prevent disorder. Both Hibs and Rangers had been cited over damage to advertisin­g equipment, while the Easter Road outfit also faced charges over the destructio­n of the goalposts and areas of the pitch after their late win sparked a pitch invasion which saw Rangers players attacked as they left the field. But the judicial panel dismissed Hibs’ case as ‘irrelevant’, which meant charges against Rangers were also dropped. Hibs, who had feared a fine as a result of their fans’ riotous behaviour, released a statement welcoming the verdict — and confirmed they would now pay the SFA compensati­on for damage done to the pitch. Hibs chief executive Leeann Dempster said: ‘We hope this now brings an end to the matter and the Scottish FA can concentrat­e on implementi­ng the recommenda­tions made by the Independen­t Commission­er, Sheriff Principal Bowen.’ The SFA investigat­ion led by Bowen urged the Scottish government to make invading the pitch at a sporting event a criminal offence in itself, regardless of damage done or violence inflicted. Even without a change in the legislatio­n, police have already arrested more than 70 people in relation to the disorder in May. Yesterday’s verdict came complete with a lengthy ‘Notes of Reasons’ from the chair of the judicial panel — including regular reference to the absence of strict liability, a principle that would see clubs held responsibl­e for the offences of their fans. In a separate matter, Rangers boss Mark Warburton is facing a one-game touchline ban after being charged with repeatedly using ‘offensive, insulting and abusive language’ towards match officials following the 2-1 defeat to Aberdeen at Pittodrie on Sunday. SFA compliance officer Tony McGlennan issued a notice of complaint yesterday, which Rangers can either accept or contest at a disciplina­ry hearing on October 13. Warburton confronted referee John Beaton on the pitch at the end of the game after his decision to award a foul against James Tavernier led to the Dons’ winning goal from a free-kick.

 ??  ?? Mayhem: scenes of disorder at May’s final
Mayhem: scenes of disorder at May’s final

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