Kilmarnock pass up opportunity to bring Lafferty hearing forward

Manager Derek McInnes had expressed frustration at the long wait for an SFA tribunal.

Kilmarnock pass up opportunity to bring Kyle Lafferty sectarian abuse hearing forward SNS Group

The Scottish FA’s disciplinary hearing over sectarian comments used by Kyle Lafferty could be brought forward to an earlier date but Kilmarnock are happy to wait until October 20 to learn the striker’s fate.

Killie boss Derek McInnes had expressed his “surprise and disappointment” that the governing body has not acted quicker to deal with a charge of using sectarian language, after Lafferty admitted his guilt to the club and was disciplined following an internal investigation.

The Rugby Park club handed Lafferty a substantial fine and ordered him to work with anti-sectarian charity Nil By Mouth.

The Scottish FA issued the player with a notice of complaint, and set the date of October 20 for the Northern Irishman to appear before an independent panel, where he could be handed a minimum ten game ban.

That date could be moved forward if all parties agree. Scottish FA rule 10.2.5 states that “Parties to a case may make a written application to the Judicial Panel Secretary requesting that a date and/or location for a Principal Hearing or any other hearing in a case be changed.”

STV understands that the governing body would have been amenable to a switch, and Kilmarnock are aware of this, and could have convened a hearing this week. However, Kilmarnock have not taken the opportunity to move for a date change.

A Kilmarnock spokesperson said: “We have not requested to change the date of the hearing provided by the Scottish FA, and we remain fully committed to cooperating with their investigation.”

McInnes said last week: “As a club we were more than a bit surprised and disappointed that the SFA hadn’t dealt with it quicker. We were hoping that would be the case, because ultimately we’ve fined Kyle and put our punishment towards him. We were expecting the SFA to follow suit.”

Lafferty was called to account after he was filmed in an altercation with a man in a nightclub who asked him for a picture before shouting “up the Celts”. The Northern Ireland international then shouted a sectarian term towards the Celtic supporter as he walked away.

The Scottish FA charged him under a new rule that was brought in to tighten the regulations around offensive behaviour.

Rule 81 read: “No recognised football body, club, official, Team Official, other member of Team Staff, player, match official or other person under the jurisdiction of the Scottish FA shall (i) use offensive, insulting or abusive language and/or actions which include(s) a reference, whether express or implied, to any one or more of the following :- ethnic religion, colour, race, nationality, religion or belief, gender, gender reassignment, sexual orientation or disability.” There is a mandatory minimum ten-game suspension for breaking the rule.

Lafferty will be in Kilmarnock’s squad for their Premiership match against St Johnstone on Wednesday.

Discussing the action the club had taken, which includes arranging one-to-one time with Nil By Mouth, McInnes said: “We’ve spoken to Kyle and we’ve demonstrated what we want to get from this.

“It’s not just a fine. The biggest thing for me – and it should go a long way – is the fact that he’s owned up to it and he’s very apologetic and remorseful for what he’s said.

“As a club, we wanted certain things put in place that we feel may help him going forward.”

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