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Sone Aluko ban upheld


Rangers manager Ally McCoist has furiously hit out at the decision to hand Sone Aluko a two-match ban for diving.

The 22-year-old was found guilty of simulation after winning a penalty in Saturday's 2-1 win over Dunfermline in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League.

He was issued with a notice of complaint earlier this week by the Scottish Football Association's compliance officer Vincent Lunny and offered a fixed suspension of two games, which was swiftly rejected by the Scottish champions.

The matter was referred to the judicial panel before a fast-track tribunal was convened today, which decided that the sanctions should stand, meaning Aluko misses SPL games against Hibernian and Inverness.

McCoist reacted angrily to the verdict and believes his player has now been branded a "cheat" and a "liar".

He told http://www.rangers.co.uk: "I have to say that I am absolutely shocked and extremely angry at the fact this committee has upheld the decision to give Sone a two-game ban.

"The meeting was chaired by a former referee and I have to say his decision making hasn't improved any since he stopped refereeing.

"The three gentlemen on the panel have effectively called my player a cheat and a liar, neither of which he is.

"What they've effectively done is they have said the player has cheated to get the penalty.

"It's an absolutely incredible decision given that the referee [Steve Conroy] is literally five yards from the incident.

"He has a better view than anybody in the stadium and they have gone not only against the referee but the player as well.

"The thing that stuns me is that the panel agreed there was contact, so for them to uphold the decision and go against their own referee, who had a particularly good game, is ridiculous."

Aluko is not the first Rangers player to be punished under the SFA's new disciplinary process, with Steven Naismith accepting a ban earlier in the season after elbowing Dunfermline full-back Austin McCann.

However, Hibernian striker Garry O'Connor escaped punishment when he was cleared of simulation after he found himself in the same position as Aluko following a game against St Johnstone in September.

McCoist also made reference to other incidents where sanctions were not imposed.

Celtic striker Georgios Samaras was not punished following an incident with Rangers goalkeeper Allan McGregor in an Old Firm derby last season which was deemed not to be violent conduct.

This season, no action was taken against Hibs goalkeeper Graham Stack after a clash with Kyle Lafferty which was studied by the compliance officer, while Motherwell midfielder Steve Jennings accused Celtic striker Gary Hooper of deliberately striking him in the face but his claims were not investigated by the SFA.

McCoist added: "It seems to me that there are rules for some and rules for others.

"There is a complete lack of continuity and consistency, you have to look at the previous incident regarding Garry O'Connor, and we do not even know if it was the same individuals on the panel.

"We took it on the chin with Steven Naismith at Dunfermline but I can also remember off the top of my head someone having a fly kick at our goalkeeper last season.

"I can also remember a goalkeeper having a go at Kyle Lafferty this season and a Motherwell player getting elbowed this season.

"Nothing has been done about any of them and O'Connor has obviously been found not guilty."

McCoist also questioned the suitability of the recently-appointed Lunny for the role of compliance officer.

He said: "The other thing I would like to point out is the compliance officer is a thoroughly nice man but he is a lawyer, he comes from a legal background not a football one.

"So effectively we've got someone who hasn't played professional football telling me my player is a cheat.

"It's staggering, absolutely staggering, and to say I'm angry would be a massive understatement."

When contacted by Press Association Sport tonight, the SFA said they had no official comment to make in response to McCoist's quotes.

However, chief executive Stewart Regan tonight attempted to explain the process behind the decision on his Twitter account.

"Important to stress our compliance officer simply presents the case to a panel," Regan said.

"The panel then consider the evidence and decide if a sanction is warranted. In the case heard today the verdict was simulation.

"There will always be those who do not like the outcome. But the new process is there to deal swiftly with those who have offended.

"Separate panels sit for every case and consider the evidence. You cannot compare one case directly against another."