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SCOTLAND'S referees are to be stripped of the right to sit in judgment of themselves.

SFA bosses are poised to ditch the farcical appeals system that has sparked fury among players and managers.

It means refs will no longer have the power to uphold their own decisions.

Instead, appeals will be decided by a three-man panel from next season.

SFA chief executive Gordon Smith said: "I can confirm draft proposals have been made with regard to improving the disciplinary procedures.

"These proposals - which the Scottish FA have been working on for some time - will be submitted to the board for approval with a view to being implemented for the start of next season.

"I'm in favour of stream- lining and harmonising the disciplinary procedures. I am pleased that other organisations also share my views."

The new guidelines, which look certain to be approved in the summer, appear to mark a U-turn by Smith.

Last week the SFA supremo suggested taking appeals decisions out of the hands of referees contravened FIFA rules which state the decision of the referee is final.

Smith has acted after a rash of complaints over the failure of officials to overturn their own dodgy decisions.

In the current process, refs have the final say on whether or not a club's appeal is upheld.

That has angered clubs, who claim most referees simply rubber-stamp their initial verdicts, even when TV footage suggests they were wrong.

It's understood that referees WILL still be involved in the process but only to advise the panel. A similar system is in place in England and Smith believes it will answer the critics.

The panel would be likely to include an former referee, a former player and an ex-boss.

Smith insists it does not mean the SFA don't trust refs to come to an honest conclusion.

It is clear the SFA have been stung by the constant criticism.

Celtic, Rangers, Hearts, Hibs, St Mirren and - most recently - Ross County have all called for the rules to be changed.

Yesterday SPL chief executive Neil Doncaster revealed he had written to Smith urging a rethink.

Doncaster said: "We need an open appeals system - one that is independent of those making the decisions in the first place."

A Hearts spokesperson last night welcomed Smith's comments.

He said: "A review of the current system is to be welcomed."

The new proposals will also recommend reducing the time it takes for any disciplinary investigation.

Read more: http://www.thescotti...l#ixzz0kSbvjaHL

Common sense prevails..

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Hope that the three men panel will be independent and neutral SFA, y'all better make that independent and neutral. I know most of the folks will say, "Aye, riiiiiight!!"

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