The Scottish FA have released a statement on their much-maligned judicial panel.
SFA disciplinary processes have come under scrutiny this season, most recently after failing to overturn a red card issued to Aberdeen’s Michael Devlin against Kilmarnock at Pittodrie.
Referee Craig Thomson deemed Devlin to have hauled down Eamonn Brophy when he had a clear goalscoring opportunity, and despite an appeal from the furious Dons, the red and a one-match ban were upheld.
A Scottish FA spokesperson said: “There has been much discussion and debate around the changes made for this season to the Judicial Panel Protocol.
“One key change that was made was in respect of unseen offences of serious foul play and violent conduct. As of this season, the match referee is no longer asked to provide a statement of opinion. This removes any perceived conflict where the match official is placed in the position of reassessing their original decision.
“Instead the Compliance Officer asks a three-person panel to review whether a sending off offence occurred. Only where all three individuals agree that a sending off offence occurred will a Notice of Complaint be raised.
“The panel are drawn from a pool of former Category One referees who remain active in the game and are therefore up to date with the any modifications to the Laws of the Game and current coaching guidance.
“This panel is only used to assess unseen offences of serious foul play, violent conduct and spitting. It is completely separate and distinct to the Judicial Panel itself who are tasked with reviewing Notices of Complaint and Fast Track Claims. The Judicial Panel is made up of people from across the game.
“The overall changes introduced this summer were the subject of discussion and input from two separate working groups comprising representatives from across Scottish football, including clubs, managers and players who met on numerous occasions to discuss and agree to these changes to the Protocol.
“The SPFL Competitions Working Group, which includes representation from all four leagues, were also consulted during the process. Systems used across other national associations, including the FA, were considered as part of the process, and influenced the recommended approach. These recommendations were approved by the Scottish FA board and all member clubs received details of all the changes in writing at the start of the season.
“We are always open to making the system more transparent with written reasons for Fast Track proceedings now published on the Scottish FA website alongside details of all Notices of Complaint and Claims lodged and dealt with under the Judicial Panel Protocol.
“The clubs, players and managers are represented in the ongoing review of the Judicial Panel Protocol and we will welcome any input this season through our usual processes.
“In addition, our Referee Operations Department will continue to offer the opportunity to clubs to be refreshed on the current coaching guidance given to referees and any modifications to the Laws of the Game in the future.”