SFA Compounds Disgraceful Decison By Punishing Meekings

286591_1The SFA has today stood by its men, and decided to punish Josh Meekings instead.

The Inverness player, who’s clear handball on Leigh Griffiths cross was the catalyst for a frenzy of stories and editorials following Sunday’s game, now risks missing the Scottish Cup Final because the SFA is determined to press their excuse that none of its officials saw the incident in question.

This is a blatant example of throwing a player to the wolves to cover for a disgraceful piece of officiating. I hope, and everyone should hope, that Meekings succeeds in his appeal and is allowed to play in the biggest game of his career.

I don’t blame the player or his club one iota in this. Nor do Celtic, or any Celtic fans. This decision was nothing to do with them. Indeed, it seems clear that they would have accepted the red card at the time without complaint.

In the aftermath, as the questions start to pile up, the SFA has reverted to type and closed ranks.

This compounds the initial disgrace.

Inverness are furious, and have released a statement saying they are “taking legal advice.” They know, as we all do, that the only grounds on which the SFA can discipline the player is if all the officials missed the incident. So this is not, as some have suggested, a case where the SFA are claiming that the officials did see it but didn’t think it was deliberate.

We are being asked to believe that the people who’s job it was to watch for moments like this were amongst the only people in Hampden who didn’t quite see it. That stretches credulity to the snapping point.

Celtic have already asked for clarity, and been shot down in the press.

Now both clubs have serious issues with the decision and how it’s been handled.

Celtic has asked the SFA to explain what happened. This is not, as some of the media have said, Ronny Deila or Peter Lawwell demanding to know why a penalty wasn’t awarded. They are asking precisely what passed between the officials, and what their interpretation of the incident was. Celtic know, as everyone does, that the official behind the goal said something to the referee. Whatever that was, the need to know is now greater than ever. This travesty just became a scandal, as I suggested in the piece earlier today that it might.

Inverness’ threat to bring in the lawyers does open up one interesting possibility here. The officials involved will now have to appear in front of the panel and explain themselves. If audio exists of their conversation that will need to be released to Inverness.

We may well get to the truth about this after all.

That they are going with the “stonewall strategy” – that no-one saw anything at all – amazes me and Inverness’ reaction to it must have made Celtic’s night because the club no longer has to utter a word about this situation. All at Celtic Park can now leave this in the hands of the Highlanders. They appear to have the measure of the governing bodies here.

Because watching the TV footage, one thing is clear; the guy behind the goal saw something and he communicated that to the referee. Now, if he told the referee there was no contact between the players arm and the ball then there’s no case to answer for Meekings and the decision to discipline him is nothing short of a travesty.

If he said to the referee that the ball came off his hand then that’s a penalty to Celtic, and a red card and the referee has to answer for why that didn’t follow. Everyone is now asking the same question; what really happened in those few seconds that may well have cost Celtic the treble? This incident materially affected the direction of the game.

Will it now have an influence on the cup final too? That would be a further disgrace.

One way or another, Inverness’ refusal to accept the ban opens this can of worms wide.

Celtic’s decision to query this, and the reaction of our supporters in saying that it’s time for some form of change in how these things are done, suddenly doesn’t sound quite so paranoid, does it?

I look forward to the editorials tomorrow accusing Inverness of arrogance.

Of telling them to “stop bleating” and get on with things.

But I don’t expect them.

But then I didn’t expect answers either here.

Now it looks like we may get some after all.

Free the Inverness One.

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James Forrest

James Forrest is a writer and blogger from Glasgow, and the author of two books, Fragments and Believers, which are available on Amazon.

18 thoughts on “SFA Compounds Disgraceful Decison By Punishing Meekings

  • 21 April, 2015 at 5:55 pm

    well said james its not inverness player thats accountable its the inept officials

  • 21 April, 2015 at 6:12 pm

    The only agenda the SFA/SPFL have is to keep SEVCO in Scottish football,and the rest can go jump in the lake.
    I have said before on numerous occasions every single football supporter in the Scottish game “except SEVCO” should stop going to matches,starting now until the end of the season,its the only way,other than someone in authority asking UEFA to investigate this lot,but no ones got the balls if you’ll pardon the pun.Even our club ducked out of it.

  • 21 April, 2015 at 6:15 pm

    Its not the player to blame but getting pic taken celebrating the handball not very clever

  • 21 April, 2015 at 6:37 pm

    Hang yer heads Celtic, bully boy tactics forcing SFA to act. Shocking behaviour and bleating these last few days, I don\’t know why you are unable to take these decisions on the chin like the rest of us. Reverse the roles and ICT wouldn\’t be getting a look in.

  • 21 April, 2015 at 7:13 pm

    Lol you absolute dickhead Travis … absolute halfwit.

  • 21 April, 2015 at 7:16 pm

    this is a disgraceful decision.

    Players have always acted on instinct and the fact that the officials apparently “missed it” should not be rectified in part by punishing the player like this.

    Anyway better Celtic teams have overcome such things in the past.

  • 21 April, 2015 at 7:57 pm

    It is unlikely that any Celts, official or otherwise, brought the matter to the attention of the Compliance Officer.
    And so, who asked for an investigation by the Compliance Officer?
    Oops ……. The Compliant Officer .

  • 21 April, 2015 at 8:59 pm

    i like the angle of your argument james,a little bit of a Catch 22 for the SFA to ponder but I think they might just do their usual trick(ie,make it up as they go along)until all the fuss has died down.However,if there are recordings of what the officials said at the time of the incident then these tapes could have an apocalyptic effect on the game in Scotland if someone,anyone with the balls of a Turnbull Hutton were to step forward and galvanise the supporters of all clubs who are thoroughly sick to the back teeth of the favouritism bestowed on Sevco so that they might survive.Doesn’t anyone in any position of authority in Scottish Football value the game more than to put up with this shambles.If not,then I’m afraid that the threatened Armageddon of 2012 might just visit us in 2015 but not in the way forecast three years ago,but instead,brought about by the survival of the occupants of the Stade De Bigot rather than their demise as fans of every club desert the game in their thousands sickened by the blatent cheating.HH

  • 21 April, 2015 at 9:05 pm

    Travis In your own words \”You\’re full of shit, man. What are you talking about? You walk out with those fuckin\’ creeps and low-lifes and degenerates out on the streets and you sell your little pussy for peanuts? \”

  • 21 April, 2015 at 9:15 pm

    “You talkin’ to me? You talkin’ to me? You talkin’ to me?” Yes we are Travis!

  • 21 April, 2015 at 9:27 pm

    Travis you wouldn’t be from cranhill???????now living in bailiestoun????

  • 22 April, 2015 at 12:04 am

    Totally agree, to punish player now and let the muppets in black off the hook would be yet more ineptitude piled on top of gross incompetence…..great picture on CQN of referee/assistants before the game doing err…..masonic? handshakes….yeh couldnae make it up…

  • 22 April, 2015 at 3:37 am

    Last night on Sportsound the ex compliance officer stated that the match officials would be contacted to ask if the incident had been seen. If it had been seen by only ONE official then the compliance officer would not be able to continue with retrospective punishment.

    However everyone of the match officials have said “I saw nothing” (unbelievable in the extreme) therefore action was taken on Meekings.

    How cowardly can you get, these cowards who have been caught cheating are now happy to stick together and sink Meekings from the cup final.

    If clubs can’t or wont do anything about this blatant cheating in OUR game then maybe fans of all clubs in favor of a level playing field need to organize and take collective legal action against the SFA/SPFL, This would at least get the attention of UEFA and FIFA.

    I’d be more than happy to donate to that fund

  • 22 April, 2015 at 1:12 pm

    Taxi for Travis !!!!!

  • 22 April, 2015 at 1:13 pm

    See what I did there Travis ? Ya Rocket !!!!

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