SPL managers support plans to alter appeals procedure

JIM Jefferies claims common sense has prevailed after the Scottish Football Association proposed stripping referees of their power to veto appeals against red cards.

Hearts manager Jefferies has been one of the cheerleaders for changes to the SFA disciplinary process, which currently allows match officials to block claims for wrongful dismissal reaching a review panel.

SFA chief executive Gordon Smith has confirmed he will submit a draft proposal to the organisation's board for a radical overhaul of the system, which could come into effect in time for next season.

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Jefferies said: "There aren't too many (referees] who are going to agree they got it wrong because it doesn't make them look too good. I'm sure common sense will prevail and it'll be sorted out."

It is understood a three-strong panel – which could include a member of the SFA's referee development department, a former player and a former manager – will sit in judgment on red card appeals if the proposed changes are given the green light. The match referee will be invited to address the panel, though Jefferies questioned any involvement from the official. "It may be better if he's not and let them make a decision on it," he said.

Hibernian manager John Hughes was "delighted" at learning of the proposed changes.

Asked if it was a positive move, he added: "Definitely – anything that's going to enhance Scottish football. I'd like to think there's going to be an independent guy on there. Hopefully it's an ex-footballer or an ex-manager, someone who knows the game, who knows all the dos and don'ts. I feel it just takes the pressure away from the referee. It's awfully hard when you feel you've made a mistake to put your hand up to it because it makes you look incompetent."

St Mirren manager Gus MacPherson believes problems with the current system have been evident for some time. But he felt it took complaints from one of the Old Firm for changes to be considered. He said: "I think every manager would welcome it – every manager who has suffered because of the procedure as it currently is. We had it two years ago, we highlighted the deficiencies, but it didn't make any difference because it was St Mirren. Now that one of the big two has said there is an issue there, it becomes a big thing. The appeals process is there, it has deficiencies that have been highlighted. Now, hopefully, it can be changed."

Falkirk manager Steven Pressley missed the final SPL game of last season after failing in an appeal over a red card received against St Mirren. So he is pleased to see the SFA move towards a separate review panel.

"I think it's a very positive move," Pressley said. "I hope it applies to managers as well."