London Hearts Supporters Club

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By PA Sport Staff

It is time for the Scottish Football Association to take swift action against the officials who have brought the game into disrepute.

There have been some dubious calls made over the years, but Hearts' latest bleating will take some beating.

The Edinburgh side have all but called linesman Andy Davis - the man who advised referee Hugh Dallas to award a last-minute, match-winning penalty on Wednesday night - a cheat.

They did so in a press conference they arranged themselves - and as a result they have laid themselves open to punishment.

At least they should have. The SFA are notoriously slow when it comes to meting out justice but perhaps they will be speedier when it is the integrity of one of their own men which has been called into question.

So if their case is thrown out would there be good reason to punish new Hearts owner Vladimir Romanov and his Lithuanian right-hand man Serejus Fedotovas? Perhaps.

The SFA have promised to give time over to the inquiry requested by Hearts - and now they must decide how such an undertaking might work.

It would seem near impossible to prove that a linesman was biased. There would have to be some exceptional evidence, which has not yet come to light.

Romanov, a Russian banker, has made a big play of all the cash he claims he has at his disposal to turn Hearts into contenders.

So why not relieve him of a hefty portion of it in the shape of a fine and spend the money on referee recruitment?

Who would be a referee or an assistant referee, especially after this witch-hunt?

Davis cut a lonely figure on the line at tiny Stirling Albion on Saturday, and that should give the Hearts hierarchy a clue as to how he spends his weekends.

How many hours has he spent freezing his frame off over the years officiating in games watched by one man and his dog? How many years of his life has this man given to football at various levels?

Would Mr Romanov be prepared to do the same? Just how committed a football man is he exactly?

In England, referees are prevented from taking charge of games involving the club they support.

But in Scotland the picture is different, because there are fewer clubs to follow and the pull of the Old Firm is huge.

So it is understandable that an official would not want to rule himself out of taking charge of matches involving Celtic and Rangers, because these will always be at the top of the pyramid north of the border.

Hearts chairman George Foulkes, ever the politician, was also quick to jump on the bandwagon - because he knows Old Firm bias is a popular theme with the rest of the footballing family.

But that argument does not wash with Chris Robinson, the former chief executive who remains on the board and who has rejected calls for him to leave the club for years.

He has yet to do so, and there he was on Friday - leading the club's affrontery.

A quick glance at the SFA's handbook shows Robinson is a member of two of its committees as well as the board of directors.

One is, believe it or not, the referee committee. It is time the SFA threw the book at the Hearts hierarchy - starting with their own man.

Taken from

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