Players’ union PFA Scotland have criticised the Scottish FA’s appeals process and backed Graeme Shinnie after the Aberdeen player received a four-game ban.
The union believe the rules are designed to deter players and clubs from contesting decisions and prevent “natural justice”.
Shinnie was sent off during Aberdeen’s win over Ross County on Friday, with referee Euan Anderson dismissing the player for using excessive force in a tackle, having reviewed the incident after VAR intervention.
Aberdeen appealed the decision and an independent panel met on Tuesday to hear their case but the original decision was upheld with Shinnie given a two-game ban for serious foul play and an extra one-game suspension because it was his second dismissal of the season.
However, the panel also added another one-game ban under a rule in place to deter appeals deemed to have no chance of success or thought “frivolous”.
That infuriated Aberdeen, who have called for the case to be heard again, and has now drawn criticism from PFA Scotland.
The player’s union say that they have long-standing concerns over the process and believe it to be flawed.
A statement read: “PFA Scotland has always been deeply concerned about the discretionary power of the Judicial Panel to add a further game ban to a player’s suspension should he/she lose their appeal.
“It is incumbent on any governing body to ensure that everyone has access to natural justice, win or lose. We feel the aim of this rule, and the appeal fee a club/player must pay, is to discourage players from actually appealing.
“This is of course very wrong and offends fairness and natural justice, nevertheless the Scottish FA may get its wish; many of our members have lost faith in a system.
“Whatever the opinion of the incident, it is exactly that, a matter of opinion not a question of fact. Remember the referee and his assistant were close to the incident and didn’t deem the tackle to be worthy of a red card at the time.
“On that basis Graeme should be perfectly entitled to appeal without the threat of an extra suspension. How a panel can deem the appeal to be frivolous is worrying. We support Aberdeen’s request to urgently review the appeal with a new panel.”
The organisation added that the introduction of Video Assistant Referees last year has increased the need for a fair appeals process. The application of the new technology has caused repeated controversy and drawn widespread criticism.
The statement continued: “This decision has meant Graeme has lost his place for 4 games with financial implications, a stain on his excellent reputation as a professional and possibly his place in the team longer term.
“It has been suggested the introduction of VAR would see no need for the appeals process – but we consider that the recent evidence shows the opposite is true.
“We call for the Scottish FA to take urgent action to remove the option to add an extra game from its rules, respect a player’s right to appeal and review the process of dealing with appeals from those whose employment is affected.
“We also call upon current players and PFA Scotland to be consulted properly on all matters relating to VAR.”
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