The Appeal’s Committee of the Board of Scottish Women’s Football (SWF) yesterday considered Aberdeen FC Ladies’ (AFCL) appeal against the Perform and Win Committee’s decision, communicated on Monday 17th September.
The Committee noted that it was not disputed by AFCL that they had breached the Competition Rules by listing and fielding an ineligible player.
The unanimous view of the Committee was that there wasn’t any basis for AFCL to believe that registration had been effective, that the responsibility to ascertain that registration had been effective rests with them and in particular that they should not have fielded the player concerned until they had received an email confirmation from SWF confirming that the registration process had been completed in the usual way.
The Committee accepted however that there was significant mitigation on the part of AFCL and in particular that there had been opportunities on the part of both SWF and the Scottish FA/League Administrator to bring this to the attention of AFCL earlier in the season, including the issues with manual processing of dual registrations between the Scottish Youth Football Association (SYFA) and SWF.
The Committee took the view that had SWF and the Scottish FA/League Administrator been alert to and acted upon these opportunities the player concerned’s ineligibility would almost certainly have come to light well before it did. Having considered the submissions on behalf of the Appellants around the enquiries made by the League Administrator on or around 15 June 2018, the Appeal’s Committee, in the exercise of its discretion, determined that there should be no penalty imposed in respect of any fixtures in which the player concerned was fielded after the 15th of June 2018.
The Appeal’s Committee further determined that as the Appellants would have been entitled to field the player concerned in three fixtures as a trialist, there should be no penalty imposed on the first 3 matches the player appeared.
Accordingly, the Appeal’s Committee held that the Appellants were in breach of Competition Rule 20(a) for each of the fixtures in which the player concerned was fielded between 15 April 2018 and 15th June 2018 (both dates included). All fixtures featuring the ineligible player will remain awarded 3-0 to their opponents and Aberdeen will be issued with a revised fine for each match featuring the player ineligibly. Half of the fine will be suspended until 1 June 2019 with the suspended amount becoming immediately payable should any further rule breaches by AFCL occur during this period.
The result and league tables will be updated accordingly. SWF will make no further comment on this matter.