SFA writes to football's law makers for '˜clarification' on red cards

The Scottish Football Association has contacted the International Football Association Board (IFAB) seeking 'clarification' on the red card law, after a mumber of recent high profile incidents in the Scottish Premiership.

Alterations were made to the rules relating to discipline prior to the start of the 2018/19 campaign, with a Scottish FA insider telling Sky Sports News it would be “remiss of the Association to not seek guidance” in light of recent events.

Scottish football’s governing body is understood to be seeking guidance concerning the interpretation of the altered rules, with particular focus on the inclusion of the word “brutality”.

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IFAB rules state that “A tackle or challenge that endangers the safety of an opponent or uses excessive force or brutality must be sanctioned as serious foul play”.

The SFA is seeking clarification over red card laws. Picture: SNS GroupThe SFA is seeking clarification over red card laws. Picture: SNS Group
The SFA is seeking clarification over red card laws. Picture: SNS Group

Additionally, under the violent conduct section, the guidelines stipulate: “Violent conduct is when a player uses, or attempts to use, excessive force or brutality against an opponent when not challenging for the ball, or against a team-mate, team official, match official, spectator or any other person regardless of whether contact is made”.

The Scottish FA has sent a number of incidents to the IFAB for examination, including the red card shown to Alfredo Morelos during Rangers’ 1-1 draw with Aberdeen at Pittodrie on the opening day of the season, and Gary Dicker’s sending off for Kilmarnock after a challenge on Callumn Morrison of Hearts during a Scottish Premiership fixture.

Hearts striker Steven Naismith avoided retrospective disciplinary action after kicking out at Celtic winger Jonny Hayes during a match at Tynecastle and that incident is also believed to have been sent to the IFAB for consideration.

The most recent controversy saw a three-man panel for former referees conclude that Rangers goalkeeper Allan McGregor had no case to answer, after footage showed him kicking out at Celtic defender Kristoffer Ajer during the Old Firm match at Celtic Park earlier this month.

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Kilmarnock and manager Steve Clarke were charged by the Scottish FA’s Compliance Officer Clare Whyte following the reaction to Dicker’s dismissal.

The 55-year-old former West Bromwich Albion manager has been summoned to a hearing at Hampden after being charged with “making comments that imply bias or incompetence by a match official” and bringing the game into disrepute, while the club has been hit with the same disrepute charge and faces accusations of breaching rules stipulating that all members clubs must behave “with the utmost good faith” towards the governing body.

No indication has been given on when the IFAB is likely to respond to the Scottish FA.

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers said at a press conference on Thursday that he was unsure what constituted a yellow or red card offence.

He said: “It probably needs clarification - we have seen a number of incidents in the early part of the season where players have been punished, or not punished.

“So it’s probably just clarity needed, and a voice within the federation can let everyone know.

“I have seen something around brutality on the pitch; unfortunately it’s the police that deals with that, and not the referee.

“If there is excessive force or something like that, then that would merit a red card, but it is then open to interpretation.”

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Rodgers’ goalkeeper Craig Gordon echoed his manager’s comments, adding: “It seems quite a clouded subject in how they get to the decisions.

“As far as I am aware [cases] go to three [former] referees, there is no comeback, and you don’t know who they are. It is a strange system. You never know who the referees are, or [to] who their allegiances might be.

“I just think that’s probably not the best way to go about it.

“I am not saying I have the answers but certainly if there are incidents that the referee misses, there has to be that system in place that there is retrospective action and they should be getting that right.”