Scottish FA Judicial Panel uphold ‘unduly harsh’ points deduction for fielding one ineligible player

Clyde’s anger at “unduly harsh” punishment as their four-point deduction for fielding an ineligible player is upheld by SFA judicial panel.

Clyde say their “unduly harsh” punishment for fielding an ineligible player is inconsistent compared to similar offences after their appeal was rejected.

A Scottish FA judicial panel on Monday upheld the SPFL’s decision to dock Danny Lennon’s team four points. It came after Declan Fitzpatrick appeared in February’s 1-0 win over Albion Rovers and 1-1 draw at Queen’s Park.

Both results were overturned, with the opposition awarded 3-0 wins.

Clyde, currently four points behind Scottish League Two leaders Peterhead with three matches remaining, highlighted Hearts being docked two points for fielding an ineligible player in their League Cup win over Cove Rangers this season.

A Clyde statement said: “That SPFL sanction resulted in Hearts accruing a point from a competitive game in which they fielded an ineligible player. At both the hearing and the appeal, the club cited the League One match between Ayr United and Peterhead in 2014, when Peterhead were found to have breached the rules by fielding an ineligible player.

“The match was not declared void, but ordered to be replayed ‘in the interests of sporting integrity and fairness to both sides.'”

Clyde admit they made an “honest mistake” in fielding Fitzpatrick after he returned from a loan spell at Clydebank when the registration window had closed.

While Clyde are totally correct in mentioning Hearts – who would have been OUT of the League Cup in the Group stages and Inverness would have been through so there would have been no meeting with Celtic at Murrayfield – they have not listed the example of Rangers who fielded ineligible players for years yet were given a small fine as their punishment from the Scottish FA.

Lord Nimmo Smith

Here’s some reaction from supporters of Clyde as well as some comments from a Dundee Utd and a few Celtic fans.

“Wow. Imagine what the punishment would be if a club fielded improperly registered players over several years & won major trophies doing so? Trophies like the 2008 League Cup, for example,” Ceres Arabs, a Dundee Utd fans account, observed.

“Celtic FC – This should be a decision challenged at the highest level by us! Ok for Old Rangers to cheat DELIBERATELY for over a decade, Clyde make a clerical error – punished!” Neil, a Celtic supporter commented.

Frank reckoned Clyde missed a trick: “They should have played multiple unregistered players for years and ran up millions in debt. That is how you get away with it with the Scottish FA,” he said.

Another comment was this: “Imperfectly registered should be used all the way to CAS where it’ll be laughed out the door, like LNS report would be. Corruption and bias are stick in trade for
Scottish FA. Clear the decks. Start again.”

“‘Sporting integrity’ in Scottish football? Do me a favour. Rules are inconsistently applied, bent, ignored and made up depending on the club involved. As the song goes “Send in the clowns, don’t bother, they’re here,” supporter Tony S stated.

Another, Mark, noted: “Funny how they only punish smaller clubs.”

Another Clyde fan, Alan Donald had a question for his own club: “Can we as a club not challenge this appeal deduction as it’s clearly one rule for the big boys and another rule us little clubs,” will Tam had this suggestion: “Maybe Clyde could ask for a six way agreement.”

About Author

The Celtic Star founder by and is editor, who has edited numerous Celtic books over the past decade or so including several from Lisbon Lions, Willie Wallace, Tommy Gemmell and Jim Craig. Earliest Celtic memories include a win over East Fife at Celtic Park and the 4-1 League Cup loss to Partick Thistle as a 6 year old. Best game? Easy 4-2, 1979 when Ten Men Won the League. Email editor@thecelticstar.co.uk

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