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Vincent Lunny Q&A

Wednesday, 01 February 2012


Scottish FA Compliance Officer Vincent Lunny speaks about his first few months in the job, and discusses some of the myths and preconceptions around his role and the new disciplinary processes, introduced at the start of the season.




Q. How have you enjoyed your time as Compliance Officer?


A. It has been terrific. Having come from a legal background, and been fortunate enough to send some time at The Hague, it is a great contrast. It is something new and I can appreciate the interest in it but it is also important to clarify the misconceptions among supporters and some aspects of the media.


Q. What are the biggest misconceptions?


A. The main one is that I punish players. The fact is that decisions are made by an independent panel made up of three members. This is a fundamental part of the new disciplinary procedures agreed at last year’s AGM.  I refer cases to that panel based on what I believe are potential rule breaches.


In order to get to that stage, it is vital that I liaise with the Referee Development Department, and in particular the Head of Referee Development, John Fleming. They are the experts in the FIFA Laws of the Game. There is a difference between these established on-field ‘football rules’, and the Scottish FA’s disciplinary rules which we use as part of our process.


Q. Given the well-documented issues with the previous committee structure, do you find the occasional criticism or misunderstanding frustrating?


A. It is ironic that some were critical of ‘football people’ making disciplinary decisions in recent years, but now the same people are criticising ‘disciplinary people’ making football decisions. The system works, it is legally robust and, as Campbell Ogilvie said when I arrived, some people will still be unhappy with the outcome but with the new system they will be unhappy quicker.


Q. How have you found the club representatives to deal with?


A. They have been excellent. Obviously I do not sit in during the panel deliberations and that is a good opportunity to speak to the managers or players involved. They all leave with a better understanding of the process and how decisions are arrived at.


Q. There is a review period on the horizon, with a view to amendments for the new season: do you foresee many changes to the process?


A. You should always strive to improve and refine. The most important enhancement is joining the Referee Development Department on the Club Visitation Scheme in the summer. It is important that I get out to the clubs and explain directly how the system works and hear any constructive comments not just from the coaching staff but the players.


Q. What is the biggest myth?


A. That there is ‘trial by television’. The fact is the majority of cases in the 144 we have dealt with do not involve television evidence but are based on referee reports, media comments from players or team staff or are registration issues. I think people expect me to sit in the house every weekend with a notepad and pen waiting for something to happen. The truth is my heart sinks: I want us to focus on football and have a disciplinary system that works under the radar and is the best in Europe.


Q. How is a complaint processed?


A. A complaint can be make, under the protocol, ‘by whatever means’ but provided it is accompanied by evidence. The majority of cases either come to myself or the Referee Development Department through the referee reports, Claims for Wrongful dismissals by clubs that are accompanied by television footage, or the high-profile issues that seem to dominate the agenda.

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