London Hearts Supporters Club

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37 of 048 Mark Burchill 87 L SPL H

Hearts will settle for apology over penalty

Hearts will drop its appeal for an inquiry if the SFA or match officials admit Rangers should not have been awarded that penalty at Tynecastle. By Neil White

HEARTS’ bid for an SFA inquiry into the decision to award Rangers a late penalty at Tynecastle on Wednesday may be satisfied by an apology. An acknowledgement that the match officials were incorrect in awarding a foul by Lee Miller on Sotirios Kyrgiakos from the SFA, referee Hugh Dallas, or his assistant Andy Davis, may terminate a complaint that has caused as much controversy as the decision itself.

Sergejus Fedotovas, the club’s acting chief executive until Phil Anderton takes over on March 21, instigated the move for “an inquiry into the integrity of the decision” on Friday at a heated press conference alongside Chris Robinson, his predecessor. However, when he was later asked if an apology would suffice, Fedotovas appeared agreeable to a compromise that would not diminish the message at the centre of his plea: Don’t mess with Hearts.

“I want something,” he said. “I want an explanation. It’s difficult when mistakes cause so much emotion and feeling, but it may be human error. It (an apology) would be something significant to give our supporters, if someone was to say that it was a mistake, if that is the decision of the SFA. After that there can be the implication that referees thinK twice, that they must know for sure that it is the right decision.

The SFA have already stated that, according to all available evidence, the decision-making process should end with the referee. The consequences of a successful appeal became apparent with each hypothesis thrown at Robinson.

Should Hearts be awarded a late penalty in the future — and they scored from one in yesterday’s 1-1 draw at Dunfermline — would it be right for their opponents to react in a similar way? A shrug of the shoulders. Can’t he see how that would lead to anarchy? “Yes,” he replied.

Why not challenge an earlier incident in the same game, when Kyrgiakos appeared to foul Andy Webster of Hearts in the Rangers penalty box? “Mistakes happen in football.”

Was this more than a mistake then? Was he saying this was a deliberate decision to award Rangers an unjust penalty? Was he questioning the integrity of Dallas or Davis? Reports last night stated that both officials’ lawyers were monitoring any such intimations.

“We don’t know what we’re saying,” said Robinson, in a moment of brilliant bathos. “We want reasons. From what we see, the reasons given just don’t marry with what happened.” These “reasons given” are believed to be the explanation by Dallas to John Robertson, the Hearts manager, that Davis had seen Miller holding Kyrgiakos’s jersey with two hands.

Anderton’s introduction on Thursday as the chief executive in waiting was lost in the controversy. The appointment, though, will have a much greater impact on Hearts’ future. The former chief executive of the Scottish Rugby Union spoke of unlocking the potential of the club he supported as a boy and of filling the 18,000 seats at Tynecastle.

As Anderton described his role in the revolution started by Vladimir Romanov, the club’s new majority shareholder, his paymaster was enthusiastically discussing his plans for a new main stand that will see Hearts meet Uefa guidlines on ground size and allow them to host European matches.

On the pitch, there are Deividas Chesnauskis and Marius Kizys (after his charge on Davis, Saulius Mikoliunas may not be there for a while). In the boardroom there will be Anderton, “the top sports administrator in Scotland”, according to Hearts chairman George Foulkes. Romanov is delivering for the club on a scale that reduces one penalty decision to the inconvenience they should let it be.

Taken from

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