SFA chief has ‘sympathy’ for Hearts and Partick Thistle

Ian Maxwell insists he has no role to play in the dispute over their relegations

SFA chief executive Ian Maxwell. Picture: SNS
SFA chief executive Ian Maxwell. Picture: SNS

Scottish FA chief executive Ian Maxwell admits he has sympathy for the plight of Hearts and Partick Thistle but insists he has no role to play in the dispute over their relegations.

The independent arbitration process, facilitated by the Scottish FA, is currently hearing the case of Hearts and Thistle against the Scottish Professional Football League’s controversial decision to demote them to the Championship and League 1 respectively after curtailing the 2019-20 season.

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The clubs have also received separate notices of complaint from Scottish FA compliance officer Clare Whyte pictured, for allegedly breaching the governing body’s articles of association by initially taking the issue to the Court of Session.

Maxwell, a former Partick Thistle player and then managing director of the Firhill club before he joined the Scottish FA two years ago, played down his organisation’s part in the process.

“It is impossible not to have sympathy for everyone affected by this virus,” said Maxwell. “We are dealing with a set of circumstances you would never be able to foresee. You don’t have a Covid or pandemic section in your rulebook to get you through these difficult times. We are dealing with unprecedented uncertainty over society as a whole.

“It has been really challenging and decisions have been taken and clubs like Hearts and Partick Thistle find themselves in the situations they find themselves in.

“But the Scottish FA’s focus has been on looking forward and getting the game back as soon as we can.

“We’re not involved in the process, it’s an independent arbitration. The Scottish FA provide some secretarial support, but it’s the panel members and the panel chair that deal with the submission of any information.

“I’m not involved in that at all, there is no need or requirement for me to be, and it’s absolutely right that we aren’t because it is an independent process.

“That will run its own course, but we are not involved at all. I’m not trying to dodge the question, it’s just not mine to answer.

“Arbitration is totally independent, our disciplinary department are providing a secretariat but the decision they come up with will be what it will be.

“The consequences for that will be for others to navigate. It’s not for us to deal with in terms of the outcome.”

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