London Hearts Supporters Club

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<-Page <-Team Wed 02 Mar 2005 Hearts 1 Rangers 2 Team-> Page->
<-Srce <-Type Scotsman ------ Report Type-> Srce->
John Robertson <-auth Paul Kiddie auth-> Hugh Dallas
Mikoliunas Saulius [I Novo 49] ;[F Ricksen pen 94] Dado Prso
41 of 048 Mark Burchill 87 L SPL H

Publish and be damned


REFEREE Hugh Dallas has sent an unprecedented letter to the SFA detailing his conversation with Hearts boss John Robertson in the aftermath of the league clash against Rangers.

The continuing fall-out from the controversial stoppage-time penalty awarded to the Ibrox side has taken a fresh twist with Dallas setting out in black and white what he says he told Robertson.

Now, in a bid to clear up the controversy surrounding the game once and for all, Hearts fans have urged the Hampden bosses to publish the crucial letter.

Dallas sparked scenes of chaos at Tynecastle last week when, on the advice of his assistant Andy Davis, he awarded the visitors an injury-time spot-kick which Fernando Ricksen converted to snatch a 2-1 victory.

Robertson claimed after the match that Dallas had told him his assistant "had clearly seen Lee Miller pull down [Sotirios] Kyrgiakos with both hands", a scenario which didn’t correspond with the available television evidence.

Scotland’s top whistler and Davis are said to be irate at Robertson’s version of their exchange of words and Dallas has felt compelled to send a second letter to the Hampden beaks in addition to his match report.

The furore which ensued after the final few moments of the match - Dado Prso and Salius Mikoliunas were also sent off - prompted Hearts to take the unprecedented step of asking the SFA to lodge an inquiry into the officials’ handling of the game.

The club’s stance has won overwhelming backing from the Gorgie faithful still harbouring a deep sense of injustice over the events of last Wednesday and the SFA were today urged by fans to demonstrate transparency in their dealings with the matter by making the contents of the letter public.

"The club has to be commended for taking the situation forward and demanding an inquiry," said John Borthwick, secretary of the Federation of Hearts Supporters’ Clubs.

"But what is required is for this letter to be made public so it can be determined what the assistant Andy Davis said to Hugh Dallas.

"If he said he saw Lee Miller pulling down Kyrgiakos then that doesn’t agree with what television evidence showed.

"Alternatively, if that is not included in the letter, then what did Hugh Dallas say to John Robertson?

"To me, publishing the letter would solve the whole problem and, instead of hiding behind a veil of secrecy, the SFA should be upfront and honest and issue its details so people can make their own minds up.

"Personally, I was sickened over the weekend listening to so-called football pundits from the west saying there is no need for an inquiry. If there is nothing to hide behind, then let’s see what the letter says."

Hearts’ protest sent shock waves around Scottish football but the board deserve enormous credit for its stance, according to Borthwick.

"There have been accusations saying that Lithuanians are trying to stir things up after being in the door just five minutes but that has got nothing to do with it," he said.

"We are talking about a decision which changed the outcome of a game and which may have a major bearing on our hopes of a European place and the club has to be applauded for what they have done."

With the SFA’s disciplinary committee set to discuss the matter next week, spokesman Andy Mitchell refused to be drawn on the issue.

He said: "The events of last Wednesday will be discussed by the Disciplinary Committee on Tuesday, March 15, so it would be entirely wrong to make the match report public before it goes to committee."

Asked if Dallas’ report would then be made public, Mitchell said: "That is a decision for the committee to make."

The astonishing finale to the Rangers game also sparked an unprecedented volume of traffic on the Hearts fans discussion board Kickback.

With more than 3000 members following its launch just over a year ago after Hearts withdrew the original discussion forum from its official website, the past few days have seen it busier than at any point since its inception.

"The board has had various periods of frenetic activity since it was created, notably during the draw for the UEFA Cup group stage and in the lead up to the derby," said co-administrator Peter Lindsell.

"However, it has rarely experienced the volume of traffic as it did on Wednesday evening and, indeed, on the days since the Rangers game."

Taken from the Scotsman

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