Celtic back call for overhaul of SFA review system

CELTIC have today backed the Scottish Professional Footballers' Association's call for a complete overhaul of the Scottish Football Association's review system of disciplinary matters.

• Celtic's Scott Brown was controversially red carded after a tussle with Rangers' Kyle Lafferty

Celtic were recently critical of the procedure after captain Scott Brown was sent off by Dougie McDonald in the Old Firm derby at Ibrox.

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The club appealed the red card but the referee, as is always the case, reviewed his own decision on video and there was no surprise when McDonald stood by his call.

SPFA chief executive Fraser Wishart has written to his SFA counterpart Gordon Smith, explaining that he believes the current set-up is outdated and unfairly weighted against players.

Wishart said: "If you look at the regulations they actually say wrongful dismissal claims can only be made in exceptional circumstances.

"The feeling within the game is that the SFA are almost trying to discourage appeals.

"Secondly, they can only be for clear refereeing errors. Thirdly, appeals will not be entertained if it comes down to a matter of opinion. Fourthly, it costs you a grand.

"I don't want to have a go at referees but in the terms of natural justice, anybody should be able to appeal a red card and have it go to a review panel.

"The person who issues the sanction should not then be the judge and jury on that appeal."

Celtic chairman John Reid backed Wishart, telling the club's website: "As a club we share Fraser's views on this matter and would echo his calls for the current system to change in the interests of clarity and fairness.

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"It cannot be right that the very first stage of an appeal process is in effect decided by the same person who took the original decision being appealed against in the first place.

"As a matter of course, an appeal should be heard by a Review Panel and not by the referee who made the initial decision – this is surely the only right and proper process.

"Referees have to operate within the system provided – and it's obvious that the problem is in fact the system and it is clear that it does not work."