The Scottish Women’s Football (SWF) announced that Motherwell’s opening day win over Kilmarnock has now been determined as a 3-0 win to Kilmarnock. According to the statement released on the SWF website, they were “advised by the Perform and Win Committee that they had considered a complaint” regarding the match against Motherwell. The investigation found that the following rule had been broken:
Competition Rule 22(a): ‘Not later than 45 minutes before the start of a Premier League and 30 minutes before the start of a Division 1-2, each club shall hand to the referee, a list, and to its opponent, a duplicate, both of which shall be signed by the Secretary or other accredited club official, of the proper names of the players in its team, of such substitutes as are permitted, and of the club officials on forms provided by the Management Committee.’
The ruling has seen Kilmarnock awarded the 3-0 win and Motherwell fined £50.
This highlights something that has been a frustrating trend in Scottish Women’s Football in recent years. I’m not sure why this is, whether it is for legal reasons or possibly to do with how the disciplinary system works across different bodies – but there is a frustrating lack of communications with the fans.
First of all, my frustration has nothing to do with the verdict and secondly I have a huge amount of sympathy with the SWF because, in my experience, the disciplinary procedures are complicated in terms of which body is responsible for each stage. And obviously, the SWF cannot go against any legal advice and most likely cannot go too far into the rulings.
But this is something that unless you are connected with the clubs, has probably come out of the blue.
There are positives. There has been an explanation and the procedure has taken less than two weeks, something that has improved over the two years.
But in my opinion, as soon as an investigation happens, the SWF should release a statement about the investigation relating to the charge. I would suspect that until Motherwell has appealed, or decided against an appeal, what the SWF can say is limited. As I say, I’m not a legal expert on this issue, but there has to be a better dialogue with the fans in this regard – whether it is just a simple statement saying a club is being investigated for a rule breach or a more detailed explanation in why a verdict has happened.