Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths has been hit with a notice of complaint from the Scottish FA following video footage showing the Scotland international singing about Hearts going bust.
The self-confessed Hibernian supporter attended Sunday’s derby game at Tynecastle along with friends and fellow Hibernian supporters. However, his pre-match singing in a local put hit the headlines as the former Hibee mocked city rivals Hearts and their current financial situation.
Despite many seeing it as nothing more than a bit of banter, the Scottish FA’s compliance officer has sanctioned the player with breaching rule 86, which relates to “not acting in the best interests of Association Football”, with a principal hearing date of April 24th set for the complaint to be heard.
Disciplinary Rule 86 states: A 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, at all times, act in the best interests of Association Football . Furthermore such person or body shall not act in any manner which is improper or use any one, or a combination of, violent conduct, serious foul play, threatening, abusive, indecent or insulting words or behaviour.
Celtic have released a statement this evening, which read: “The SFA today served a notice of complaint on Leigh Griffiths, alleging a breach of disciplinary rule 86 – not acting in the best interests of Association Football by singing in public about Heart of Midlothian FC in administration.
“Following the incident, the player publicly apologised for his actions. Celtic have fined the player and the Club has also apologised to Hearts, an apology which they have accepted. Therefore, the Club feels there is no need for any further action, and this is something which we will defend.”
However, it seems that many Celtic fans are also criticising their club for punishing Griffiths, who moved to Parkhead in January from Wolves.
Questions must be asked of the Scottish FA and their consistency with said breaches of ‘not acting in the best interests of Association Football’.
May 2012, Airdrie’s on loan keeper Grant Adam was hit with a £500 fine for chanting a sectarian slogan outside a Glasgow nightclub.
May 2013, Motherwell striker Michael Higdon was arrested over an alleged assault hours after being crowned Scotland’s Player of the Year. The 29-year-old was held after a disturbance at the Corinthian nightclub in Glasgow.
December 2013, St Mirren midfielder Paul McGowan admitted attacking two police officers after a late night row.
There have numerous Scottish footballers/officials [of many clubs]breaking the law over the past few years – speeding, drunk and disorderly, involved with several cases with the DUI Defense Lawyer Los Angeles CA, driving while using a mobile phone and alleged assaults – yet the Compliance Officer has failed to cite those players. Why?
Is singing a song about a club/company going bust worse than the three examples above? The Scottish FA are setting a dangerous precedent with this ludicrous charge and one that has already seen the majority of football fans openly mock the governing body.