Scottish FA chief slates MP over 'grossly misguided' comments

The Scottish Football Association's chief executive Stewart Regan has hit out at an MP who called for an independent inquiry into the governing body in a bid to root out any "bias or bigotry".

Regan, who is in the process of reforming the SFA's decision-making procedures, described the comments by Labour MP Jim Sheridan as "grossly misguided".

The MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, who sits on a Westminster sports committee, gave several newspapers details of a letter he planned to send to Regan. Among other things, Sheridan called for the SFA to divulge its views on its structure and "conspiracy theories" surrounding referee decisions.

Regan responded: "I am surprised by the comments attributed in the media yesterday to Jim Sheridan MP. Mr Sheridan spoke publicly before making any effort to contact me or ascertain details of the work currently ongoing to improve our game. Mr Sheridan's comments on alleged bias within the Scottish FA are divisive, grossly misguided and deeply unhelpful.

"He has called for an independent review, when it is widely known that the former First Minister, Henry McLeish, presented the first part of his completely independent review of Scottish football earlier this year, and that part two is due to be published imminently."

Regan, who joined the SFA from Yorkshire County Cricket Club in the autumn, added: "My intention to conduct a review of internal processes at the Scottish FA has also been widely reported.

"Finally, with regard to Mr Sheridan's comments on referees, we have, again, already stated our intention to work with all relevant parties to create a referees' charter.

"In short, we are in the process of addressing every point Mr Sheridan makes. I am also interested to hear more on the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee's renewed interest in Scottish football."

The Westminster committee has announced an inquiry into football governance, which will include discussion of whether government intervention is justified in debt-hit clubs. However, with sport being a devolved matter in Scotland, the committee's inquiry into governing bodies will focus solely on England and Wales.

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