Hibs CEO insists Scottish football body needs surgery needed


Hibs chief executive Leeann Dempster insists that the Scottish FA’s much-maligned compliance department requires ‘significant surgery’.

Dempster has spoken out about her own concerns regarding the disciplinary process in the wake of the game’s governing body attracting widespread criticism over its refusal to uphold Inverness’ appeal over the second yellow card James Keatings received for simulation during last Sunday’s Challenge Cup semi-final victory over Rangers Colts.

The striker is now suspended for next month’s final against Raith Rovers.

Closer to home, Dempster has also lamented the time and money entailed in defending Hibs assistant head coach John Potter in a recent misconduct hearing.

Leeann Dempster, Chief Executive of Hibernian helps launch an environmental initiative at Hibernian Football Club. Picture: Alan Rennie

The Hibs director is not alone in airing her grievances, Rangers managing director Stewart Robertson having already said this week that ‘we have been disappointed for quite some time in the way that the disciplinary process is working’ – while Motherwell CEO Alan Burrows conveyed a similar message on Twitter when responding to Inverness’ statement regarding their failed appeal.

“You only need to look at instances in the recent history to see there is genuine misunderstanding, discontent or annoyance with the process at the minute,” said Dempster.

“I don’t think it’s unfit for purpose but I think it needs some significant surgery. 

“Clubs need to be part of that. We all have individual voices but I think it’s time the clubs came together.”

On Hibs’ own recent experience of the disciplinary process, which led to Potter being censured after being shown a red card during December’s defeat to Rangers, Dempster added: “John Potter got a red card against Rangers and was sent to the stand. 

“But there is no protocol that allows us to take one-match or two-match ban. 

“We have to go through the rigmarole of submitting a defence or position. I’ve got a folder with 150 bits of paper for that one incident.

“Then we have to appear. John has to be taken out of training. Would it not be better to agree on a one-match or two-match ban?

“The compliance system has become much more complicated

“We shouldn’t be walking in with lawyers, trying to get off on a technicality.

“I think we need a robust system but I think we want it in a way that the clubs agree and understand.”

*Leeann Dempster was speaking at the launch of Hibernian’s pledge to build on being ‘The Greenest Club in Scotland’ to help combat climate change – in a move which has been welcomed by the Scottish Government.

Hibs are rated just behind Forest Green Rovers and Manchester United within the UK and lead the way in Scotland. They have also become the first Scottish club to participate in the UN Sports for Climate Action Framework.

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