Celtic demand SFA respect rulebook

By 02 April 2011 10:00

Celtic vowed to continue holding the Scottish Football Association to account after their legal team ensured manager Neil Lennon's touchline ban would end three matches earlier than envisaged.

The SFA admitted their assertion that two four-match suspensions should run consecutively was "legally unenforceable" after seeking independent advice. Celtic had declared Lennon's bans should run concurrently after the manager was handed an automatic punishment for misconduct over his dispute with Rangers assistant manager Ally McCoist last month.

A club statement read: "We are pleased that the SFA has recognised that Celtic's position is absolutely correct."

Lennon was already serving a four-match ban - reduced following a lengthy appeal process - after being sent to the stand during a defeat at Tynecastle on November 10.

Now he will serve just five matches in the stand in total, allowing him to return to the dugout for the Clydesdale Bank Premier League clash against St Mirren next Saturday.

SFA chief executive Stewart Regan, who is revamping the organisation's disciplinary procedures ahead of next season, claimed it was important that the system was not used as a "costly legal playground".

Regan spoke of ensuring "a happy balance where every decision is not subject to an appeal and football can self-govern without constant legal interventions".

But Celtic, despite backing Regan's reform proposals, were in no mood to hold back.

The club statement continued: "It should not have been necessary for Celtic Football Club to involve our lawyers in this simple matter, and we would have much preferred not to have had to do so.

"But it is vital that the SFA properly applies the rules that it imposes, whatever those happen to be. The SFA cannot operate above the law or its own rules."

Source: PA