THE Scottish Football Association has dismissed any suggestion a fine imposed on Cowdenbeath for failure to comply with club licensing regulations is unfair, or has played a meaningful part in the owners' attempts to offload the club to Spartans.
A punishment of 7,500 is hanging over Cowdenbeath – they are currently in the midst of a period in which they have 30 days to pay the SFA that amount – for their failure to make the improvements to their ground necessary for a club licence to be granted. The SFA has adopted their own, although not quite as stringent, version of Uefa's licence procedure with every club in the Scottish Premier League, Scottish Football League and Highland League duty bound to meet a specific set of requirements.
It has been known for the past year that Cowdenbeath's pitch did not meet the 100 x 64 metres dimensions put in place for a licence to be granted. The position of stock car tracks around the vicinity of the football pitch – stock car racing has been one of the few money-making ventures available to the club in recent years – render expansion of that playing surface troublesome.
However, the SFA's general purposes committee is unhappy that not enough effort has been made to remedy the situation.
Part of the fine, thought to be 1,500, relates to Cowdenbeath's failure to repair lighting at Central Park; a matter first brought to the club's attention last September. At the January meeting of the general purposes committee, it was decided that the fine would be implemented immediately, with Cowdenbeath informed in writing thereafter.
"Other clubs have invested heavily in making improvements within the licensing criteria," said a spokesman for the SFA. "They have been given valuable support from the Scottish Football Partnership in doing so."
The SFA believe Cowdenbeath should not be allowed to work outside stipulated boundaries, when other clubs have made the effort. Morton, for example, are believed to have spent 120,000 upgrading lighting at Cappielow in a bid to receive their club licence.
If some clubs are granted too much leeway, a senior figure insisted, the licence procedure would collapse altogether.
Brechin City clashed with the general purposes committee last year as their pitch at Glebe Park did not meet necessary dimensions to fulfil the criteria of the license. Brechin's gripe was that the landlocked status of their ground meant the pitch dimensions could not be altered.
However, the SFA say the 30,000 fine has been suspended because at least some work has been carried out by the Second Division outfit to alleviate the problem. Brechin, as Cowdenbeath had done in the past, also intimated to the SFA that they could be looking to move stadium.