PFA Scotland has called for changes to the appeals process after Aberdeen captain Graeme Shinnie had his suspension increased.
The midfielder, on loan from Wigan, was handed a straight red card in stoppage time of the Dons’ 1-0 cinch Premiership win over Ross County on Friday night – following a VAR intervention – after a robust challenge on Jack Baldwin.
Aberdeen failed with their unfair dismissal case and the tribunal panel decided an extra game should be added under the Scottish Football Association’s judicial panel protocol.
The serious foul play offence in Dingwall carries an automatic two-game ban and that was extended to four matches after his previous red card against St Johnstone earlier in April and the failed appeal.
The additional punishment can be added under SFA rules if the claim either had no prospect of success, was an “abuse of process or a delaying tactic” or was deemed to be “frivolous”, which Aberdeen described as “not only insulting to the club but grossly unfair and entirely untrue” as they asked the SFA to “urgently review our appeal with a new panel”.
PFA Scotland, the trade union for all professional footballers in Scotland, issued a statement which 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.
“This decision has meant Graeme has lost his place for four 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.”
Shinnie’s four-game ban means he will miss Sunday’s visit of Rangers plus the Dons’ first three cinch Premiership matches after the split.