Tuesday, May 01, 2007

SFA Hammer Kingston

A three match ban for Laryea Kingston. Hearts lose arguably their most consistent performer for the remainder of the season.

Kingston, who had already been on something of a rampage, was dismissed by referee Steve Conroy at which point he launched a tirade at Conroy using "offensive, insulting and abusive language."

This included accusing Mr Conroy of being racist. Mr Conroy is married to a black woman which added to the publicity the case received at the time.

The three match ban is serving to massage the combined neurosis of the Hearts fans but the fact remains that Kingston was in the wrong – and if the incident hadn’t taken place on the football pitch he could quite easily have faced legal action.

The SFA have chosen to make an example of Kingston but NOT because he is a Hearts player. Rather there is very little precedent for this type of incident so Larry has been dealt with in a way that shall hopefully discourage others.

Where the Hearts fan may have a case is in the way the SFA handle all these cases. There should be far more transparency in these disciplinary procedures. And, perhaps more importantly, the disciplinary system should be streamlined. The incident occurred in the second week of March. It should not be dragged out until May Day.

But the SFA have their methods and they like to stick to them. It was ever thus. In the meantime Hearts’ appeal should see Larry face Aberdeen this weekend in the crucial UEFA Cup qualifying match that Hearts can’t afford to lose.

By apologising Kingston essentially accpeted his culpability and the SFA were forced to act. It would be unfortunate however if the player was to feel that, having apologised and having served his time, his stay in Scotland has become untenable.

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