Wishart gives backing to both Brittain and Sandaza

Francisco Sandaza: Hoax call. Picture: Getty
Francisco Sandaza: Hoax call. Picture: Getty
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PFA Scotland chief executive Fraser Wishart has pledged his backing to Ross County captain Richard Brittain as he attempts to extricate himself from a 
pre-contract agreement with St Johnstone.

Brittain, who is PFA Scotland’s union representative at Ross County, has found himself at the centre of an acrimonious war of words between rival managers Derek Adams and Steve Lomas after he declared his change of heart and desire to stay with the Dingwall club next season for personal reasons.

“I hope things calm down as I don’t think public slanging matches help,” said Wishart. “The only way to resolve this is to get around the table and find an amicable solution.

“I have sympathy for 
St Johnstone but we are certainly supporting Richard in this tough time as it is a family issue. His reputation as a professional is unblemished. His performances this season and the way he’s led Ross County both on and off the field have been impeccable. We’ve got to support our member as best we can.

“It’s an unusual situation. Although we’ve had pre-contracts in football for the past ten or 15 years, they have no real locus as neither the contract or registration can be made until June. I’m not sure where it is going to go but we hope we can find an agreement that suits all parties.”

Wishart also confirmed PFA Scotland’s support for Spanish striker Francisco Sandaza, {http://www.scotsman.com/sport/football/top-football-stories/rangers-francisco-sandaza-tricked-by-celtic-fan-1-2849134

|who was sacked by Rangers for discussing details of his contract with a hoax caller|Sandaza sacked} purporting to be an agent in a telephone conversation which became public earlier this year.

Sandaza is appealing his dismissal and Wishart added: “I know Sandaza has spoken to our lawyers but he has his own lawyers running the case at the moment. We may well be involved in the future. At the moment it is going through an appeals process.

The focus should be more on the actual person who made the call. People say it is a hoax call or a crank call but they tend to have a bit of humour to them. This had absolutely no humour. It was designed to find somebody out.

“He was probably naive at worst. So it is going through an appeals process and he will have our full support, if and when required.

“It’s quite sad that a professional footballer can’t answer a phone call or a few questions without the threat of dismissal. Clearly, we feel the sanction and punishment was far too severe. It was not proportionate to the offence.

“Where do we go with this? If you have a football player in a restaurant or a pub and someone comes up to speak to him, does he just not speak to anybody anymore?

“We’ve had recordings of Craig Whyte and Charles Green recently. There are recordings everywhere. It’s a very difficult time. We certainly feel Sandaza’s sanction was over the top.

“You have to take into consideration the circumstances. If it had been a true situation, he was clearly saying [to the caller] that the alleged club would have to pay £500,000 to Rangers for his services.

“I think we all know Rangers would have grabbed that opportunity. Had that been a real situation with a real deal on the table, I think Charles Green would have grabbed it.”