SFA backs down over Lennon ban
Self-satisfaction was bursting out all over at Celtic Park last night as the SFA caved in over the question of Neil Lennon's multiple bans. The Celtic manager is excluded from his technical area after having been banned for six games for offences committed at Tynecastle in November, a sanction reduced to four games on appeal.
During the course of the appeal, Lennon attracted a further four-game suspension because of his confrontation with Rangers assistant manager Ally McCoist at the end of the Old Firm clash in the fifth-round Scottish Cup replay at Parkhead on March 2.
The SFA argued that the two bans should be served concurrently, in accordance with 'custom and practice', while Celtic contended that the SFA's rules stated that any ban took effect two weeks after it was imposed and that the two sanctions overlapped, so that Lennon should serve a total of five games in the stand.
A statement issued by the SFA read: "The Scottish FA has received independent counsel advice on this point and regrettably has been advised that its interpretation of the rule is legally unenforcable. As such, the club have been notified that Lennon can return to the dugout on April 9, 2011."
Celtic also issued a statement which said: "We note the lengthy statement issued today by the SFA in connection with the straightforward issue of Lennon's suspension running consecutively or concurrently. It should not have been necessary for Celtic to involve our lawyers in this matter. But it is vital that the SFA properly applies the rules that it imposes. The SFA cannot operate above the law or its own rules."
Lennon will sit in the directors' box at the Caledonian Stadium for the second time in as many weeks when his players take on Caley Thistle in today's lunch-time SPL kick-off. The Highland Jags have an unchanged squad, while Freddie Ljungberg is back in contention for the Hoops. (© Daily Telegraph, London)
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