Dundee approach SFA for talks on discipline

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Dundee have requested a meeting with the Scottish Football Association next week to address their disciplinary problems.

Dundee have requested a meeting with the Scottish Football Association next week to address their disciplinary problems.

Ivano Bonetti, the Dundee player-manager, will hold an informal meeting with SFA refereeing officials, along with his players and coaching staff, after the club have had six players sent off in seven matches.

Bonetti is in regular contact with the Chelsea manager, Gianluca Vialli, who is a friend, to draw on his experiences in the British game and is determined to make a concerted effort to reinforce club discipline.

"It is not necessarily a question of us trying to clean up our act as we do not feel that Dundee are a dirty side," said a club spokesman. "But the number of red and yellow cards we have received so far this season has brought the team discipline into sharp focus. That is something we are concerned about as a club and it is something that we are determined to deal with ourselves."

The former referee Bob Valentine has already talked to the Dens Park players about the disciplinary procedure in Scotland and the SFA has welcomed the move by Bonetti. "We are always happy to go and meet with clubs at their request," said its disciplinary and refereeing secretary, Drew Herbertson. "As it was Dundee who invited us we will be going with a blank sheet of paper, but we will answer any queries that they have and try to put this issue into context in terms of how the system works in Scotland. Dundee appear to be determined to address this matter and we are happy to assist them through meetings such as this."

The Hearts chief executive, Chris Robinson, admits that the Edinburgh club will opt to remain in Scotland rather than join any proposed European League.

Celtic and Rangers are discussing the possibility of breaking away from the Premier League to join clubs from the Netherlands, Belgium, Portugal and Scandinavia, with the possibility of other Scottish clubs following suit, but Robinson is prepared to stay and chase success in Scotland rather than compete in any new European league.

"For Hearts, it would be a very interesting scenario to be challenging for the championship in a post-Old Firm era," said Robinson. "The possibility of getting good crowds because it would be better competition and the possible lure of the Champions' League revenues would be a great carrot.

"It depends a lot on how this [proposed] league shapes up. We may stay in Scotland but, if it was to be a very big league and hugely lucrative, then we would have to give that serious consideration.

"From Hearts' point of view, we are and always will be a Scottish club with a Scottish identity. We have a big problem competing against the two giants and the cost of that regularly causes us financial pain.

"It is difficult not to agree with David Murray when he says that perhaps the rest of Scottish football would do better without having to put themselves into financial difficulties trying to compete with Celtic and Rangers.

"Clubs are put under intolerable pressure to compete with the Old Firm on a playing field which has never been level."