Motherwell FC found to have breached SPFL Rules on Unacceptable Conduct and directed to make and report on a series of changes and actions at Fir Park.
The SPFL today announces that Motherwell FC were charged by the SPFL Board with a number of breaches of SPFL Rules relating to Unacceptable Conduct in relation to the second leg of their PlayOff Final match at Fir Park against Rangers FC on 31 May 2015 (the “Match”).
Motherwell FC were found by an SPFL Commission to have failed to discharge the requirements of SPFL Rules H33 and H34 and to have as a consequence breached and failed to comply with the SPFL Rules regarding Unacceptable Conduct.
Following receipt of the Match report of the SPFL Match Delegate and an investigation by the SPFL Executive, the SPFL Board commenced disciplinary proceedings against Motherwell FC before a Commission chaired by solicitor Rory Bannerman.
The Commission, after a hearing extending over a number of days, found that:
- a partial failure in the implementation of the ticket sales arrangements by Motherwell FC for the parts of the ground reserved for Home supporters contributed to Rangers FC’s supporters obtaining tickets for those parts of the ground, which resulted in an increase in the risk of Unacceptable Conduct occurring within the ground;
- the ticket allocation arrangements for the Match adopted by Motherwell FC, which resulted in the majority of the seats in its South Stand being left vacant whilst the others were occupied only by Rangers FC supporters, led to an increase in the number of Rangers FC supporters seeking and obtaining tickets for other parts of the ground reserved for Home supporters, contributing to a partial breakdown in the segregation arrangements and which resulted in an increase in the risk of Unacceptable Conduct occurring within the ground;
- a flare was thrown from the main stand by a person who has not been identified by Motherwell FC. This flare was dealt with inappropriately and in an unsafe manner by an employee of Motherwell FC who had not been adequately trained;
- individual Motherwell FC supporters entered the pitch area during the Match and a significant number of Motherwell FC supporters immediately after the end of the Match entered the pitch area in a disorderly manner, taunting and provoking the Rangers FC supporters who remained in the South Stand; all of which constituted Unacceptable Conduct in circumstances where the stewarding arrangements were inadequate in light of the history of such post-match pitch incursions at Fir Park at the last match of previous Seasons;
- Motherwell FC did not, so far as was reasonably practicable, ensure that incidents of Unacceptable Conduct did not occur at the Match; and
- Motherwell FC has yet to demonstrate sufficient action being taken by it to identify those of its supporters and others who engaged in Unacceptable Conduct at the Match and has failed to demonstrate any action being taken against those supporters who have been so identified and who engaged in Unacceptable Conduct at the Match; this includes those who were involved in the throwing of the flare and those who entered the pitch area both during and after the Match.
At a separate, later hearing, the Independent Commission decided to defer a final decision on sanction for 18 months. During this 18 month period Motherwell FC is directed by the Commission:
- to give, within 28 days of the date of the Commission’s determination, a written undertaking to the Commission attaching an adopted policy of the club agreed by the club’s board of directors that decisions regarding ticket allocation and ticket issuing in respect of Fir Park will have as their primary consideration safety and security.
- during the 18 month period of deferral to comply with the SPFL Rules on Unacceptable Conduct and produce a written report on that compliance;
- during April 2016 to provide the Commission with an interim written report on the Club’s identification of as many as possible of those who were guilty of Unacceptable Conduct at the Match and the proportionate steps taken by the Club in relation to each of those identified persons, and to provide a full report on this issue at the end of the 18 month period;
- one month prior to the expiry of the 18 month deferral period to provide a written report evidencing compliance with documentation requirements on Health and Safety, training of all staff on how to deal with flares etc. and how to respond to incidents of Unacceptable Conduct; and
- one month prior to the expiry of the 18 month deferral period to provide the Commission with a final written report of the measures taken and which will be taken to prevent ‘last home match pitch incursions’ at Fir Park and to provide an interim report on this issue during April 2016.
At the end of the 18 month period the Commission will make its final decision on sanction. It is reasonable to expect that one of the factors which the Commission will take into account at that stage is compliance by Motherwell FC with the various matters which the Commission has directed be actioned by Motherwell FC during that 18 month period.