The SFA have made an error in interpreting their laws. They refuse to discipline Calum Butcher as the rules do not allow them to switch a punishment retrospectively. This is correct, but the rules do allow retrospective action which the referee has not seen.
Craig Thomson saw the Butcher-van Dijk incident inasmuch as he was looking at the players, but didn’t see it well enough to call an infringement. SFA rules permit retrospective action under these circumstances.
The matter becomes theoretically more complicated by the involvement of the assistant referee, Graham Chambers. Chambers also saw the incident inasmuch as he was also looking at the players, but he didn’t have a clear understanding of what happened either. He couldn’t even identify the Dundee United player involved.
The rules on retrospective action do not require a referee to be looking in the opposite direction before the Disciplinary Panel become involved. A ref can see the incident but not see if sufficiently well to correctly report what happened. This is the basis under which Nadir Ciftci has been asked to attend the Panel.
Both referees on Sunday saw the incident. Neither saw it well enough to bear witness to the actions of the two Dundee United players involved. SFA laws allow both to be examined retrospectively.
Aiden Connolly, at the very least, has a case to answer for diving in the box. Should the SFA ban Virgil van Dijk while turning a blind eye to Connolly and incorrectly interpreting their own rules on Butcher, and almighty row will kick off on the competency of those who govern our game.
Delighted for Stefan Johansen, who is February’s Player of the Month. His goal in Perth was a joy and a fitting mark to the development he has achieved this season.
Before Friday’s CQN 11 St Patrick’s Dinner you can win a Celtic jersey signed by the 2008 squad, who won one of the most remarkable titles in our history. All proceeds go towards building a fourth CQN school kitchen in Malawi, for Mary’s Meals.