New SFA rule means players can't be charged over gestures

The Scottish Football Association has revealed it has changed the rules so no retrospective action can be taken against players and coaches for '˜gestures and actions'.

Josh Windass is free to face Celtic after it emerged he won't face action by the Compliance Officer, due to new SFA rules. Picture: SNS Group

The news comes as it was confirmed Rangers midfielder Josh Windass, who allegedly made an obscene gesture to Partick Thistle fans on Friday night, won’t face action by the SFA Compliance Officer.

There had been speculation that Windass would be banned for Saturday’s Old Firm game after he reacted to supporters who would not return the ball for a Rangers throw-in.

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However, it has emerged that, after the involvement of PFA Scotland and the Coaches and Managers Association, rule 200 - which covers retrospective action for on-field offences - was amended to remove gestures and actions towards the crowd.

An SFA spokesman said: “The only cause for retrospective action now is for violent conduct, serious foul play or spitting missed by the match officials.”

There was the possibility that Tony McGlennan, the compliance officer, could have used rule 202 which covers “excessive misconduct” if he wished to cite Windass but he decided it was not merited.

Had he done so, he would have been greeted with stern resistance from Rangers manager Pedro Caixinha who feels McGlennan’s hands were tied as he did not act when the Hibernian manager Neil Lennon gestured at Ibrox on 12 August.

Similarly, Kyle Lafferty seemed to make an offensive gesture at the Celtic fans a week earlier and the compliance officer did not get involved.

Caixinha said: “As long as they are current with the decisions they make. He should have the same punishment as others who did the same thing before him.

“If it’s like that, we need to accept it, but, if it isn’t, then I won’t accept it.

“‘If there is something decided before and you have a similar situation after, the decision needs to be the same. I am not a lawyer, but I know it is like this.

“First of all, I don’t know what he did. But if he did something, of course he needs to understand he cannot do that. That is something between me and him.

“But punishment from the SFA is another thing. I’m talking about jurisprudence. And I’m talking about the relationship between a coach and player. That is another thing.

“I don’t want my players to behave like that. I want them to be focused on the game because it is inside the pitch where you can change the course of things, not in the stand.”