Steve Clarke and Kilmarnock have both been charged by the Scottish FA in relation to comments the Rugby Park manager made regarding the disciplinary process and an unsuccessful appeal against a sending-off.
The former West Bromwich Albion boss claimed that his club’s bid to overturn a red card shown to Gary Dicker was “pre-judged” because match referee Willie Collum was to take charge of Celtic’s match with Rangers.
In a prepared statement that Clarke read out at a press conference on August 31, the Killie boss said: “I’m in no way surprised at the outcome of our appeal.
“As soon as I heard the news that the referee in question had been appointed to take charge of the Old Firm match before our hearing had taken place I, and many other people, knew that the decision would go against Kilmarnock. “There is no doubt that the perception of most, and certainly of our club, is that the hearing was pre-judged by this early appointment.”
The 55-year-old insisted that Collum’s decision to send Dicker off for a challenge on Hearts’ Callumn Morrison “lacked a calm and rational approach”.
He said: “I have to say that I’m disappointed but not surprised by the decision of the confidential panel, who chose to ignore our appeal and back the referee’s original decision.
“An appeal process that excludes the people involved, namely the player, the referee and officials of the appealing club from putting forward their case face to face with the adjudicating panel will sometimes be open to strange and inconsistent outcomes.”
• READ MORE - Kilmarnock fail in bid to overturn Gary Dicker red card
Clarke also claimed that the official’s decision had effectively won the game for the capital club, with Uche Ikpeazu scoring the only goal of the game after the Irishman had seen red.
He continued: “My belief and that of the majority of people with a good knowledge of football would say that Gary Dicker’s tackle was a genuine effort to win the ball without malice or recklessness and with minimal contact on an opponent who proceeded to roll around as if seriously hurt, only to get straight back to his feet on the issue of the red card.
“The period of time between the tackle and red card decision was ridiculously short and lacked a calm and rational approach from such an experienced official.”
Clare Whyte, the Scottish FA’s new Compliance Officer who succeeds Tony McGlennan, reviewed Clarke’s statement and judged that he had breached the organisation’s rules with his comments.
A notice of complaint has been issued to the former Chelsea coach, who must now attend a disciplinary hearing at Hampden on October 25.
Clarke has been charged with making “comments that imply bias or incompetence by a match official” and faces an additional charge of bringing the game into disrepute.
The club has been accused of breaching rules stating that all member clubs should behave “with the utmost good faith” towards the governing body, and has also been charged with bringing the game into disrepute.
Clarke also said in his statement: “I don’t want, or need to, go through recent instances where red cards have been rescinded or downgraded on appeal, or where violent conduct on the field of play has been overlooked by officials, because they are there for everyone to see. Maybe smaller clubs [like Kilmarnock] are fair game.”
Despite his comments, Clarke did reaffirm his backing for referees, adding: “To finish I would like to reiterate my support for Scottish referees and believe that I have been a big voice in backing and supporting these sometimes maligned figures and despite issues like this one, they will continue to have my full respect and support.”
Both parties have until September 18 to respond to the charges.