Hillsborough expert calls on SFA to approve Livingston boss David Martindale ahead of fit-and-proper hearing

Livingston manager David Martindale has received support from one of the key figures behind the Hillsborough investigation ahead of tomorrow's SFA hearing into his suitability to work in Scottish football.

Livingston manager David Martindale encourages his team from the touchline during the 1-0 win over St Mirren in the Betfred Cup semi-final at Hampden. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)
Livingston manager David Martindale encourages his team from the touchline during the 1-0 win over St Mirren in the Betfred Cup semi-final at Hampden. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)

Professor Phil Scraton, the primary author of the ground-breaking Hillsborough report published in 2012, was moved to write to the SFA after watching coverage of Martindale's impending case on the BBC Football Focus programme.

The SFA will rule on whether Martindale passes a fit-and-proper person test following a six-year prison sentence for drugs offences in 2006.

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He remains unbeaten in 11 matches since taking over the Livingston helm following the departure of Gary Holt in November, and led his team to the Betfred Cup final with a 1-0 win over St Mirren at Hampden on Sunday.

Prof Scraton, an emeritus professor of law at Queen’s University Belfast, has written extensively on the need to review the use of prison sentences, and is a long-time advocate of transformational justice.

In a letter to the SFA, he wrote: "Granted remission, it is clear in David Martindale’s case that the punitive element of his sentence had been realised.

"He admitted his guilt and in prison he took the opportunity to gain a University degree. His release laid the foundation for continuing rehabilitation which clearly has been successful.

"Almost a decade on, his progress at Livingston FC and his appointment as the club’s interim manager demonstrates the Board’s confidence in his employment as a ‘fit and proper person’.

"I expect that Livingston’s confidence is based not only on the success of the club under his management, but also on how he has adjusted to working with players, all involved with the club and the media. His media statements have been contrite and show humility in the face of exceptional public scrutiny.

"I believe that within its grasp the Scottish FA has the opportunity to acknowledge David Martindale’s remarkable personal and professional transition. By accepting he passes the ‘fit and proper person’ test, the SFA not only, rightfully, would recognise his transition but also demonstrate to other authorities and employers that those who have committed serious offences, through their own efforts and with the support of others, can turn their lives around."

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