The Scottish Football Association has announced it plans to set up an Independent Commission to investigate the circumstances which lead to crowd trouble at Saturday’s Scottish Cup final.
Thousands of Hibernian fans flooded onto the Hampden pitch following their side’s 3-2 win over Rangers – but the scenes soon turned ugly.
Rangers say their players and backroom staff were assaulted during the pitch invasion while rival supporters engaged in fist fights after a number of Light Blues supporters stormed the field after being goaded by the Leith support.
SFA chief executive Stewart Regan said after the match that the incident was an embarrassment to Scottish football.
Now he has promised swift action with the governing bodies compliance officer set to launch his own investigation while the independent commission also looks into the causes of the shameful scenes.
In a statement, Regan said: “The Scottish FA has today initiated the process of appointing an Independent Commission to investigate the circumstances of Saturday’s Scottish Cup Final disorder.
“A chairperson will be appointed in early course and the commission’s remit will be to review all operational matters relating to the event hosting of the final. It will be convened to analyse the processes and protocols undertaken in the staging of the match and I would encourage all relevant stakeholders to contribute to it.
“In the interests of transparency, the commission’s findings will also be published in full.
“In addition, the Scottish FA’s Compliance Officer has also started the process of investigating potential rule breaches from a football regulatory perspective. It should be pointed out that as the cup final is now subject to a criminal investigation by Police Scotland, we will share all information gleaned so far with them.
“I have also instructed the compilation of a comprehensive report from all our internal group functions at Hampden Park to establish a full picture of the events of the weekend. The contents of this report will be made available to the commission.
“I am keen that the Scottish FA is proactive in the investigations with the police authorities and the Independent Commission. In the meantime, I would urge all parties involved in the ongoing situation to demonstrate calmness, clarity of thought and responsibility as we proceed towards a satisfactory conclusion.”
Regan’s statement came three hours after Professional Footballers’ Association Scotland chief Fraser Wishart backed Rangers’ calls for a full investigation into the Hampden disorder, claiming his members’ well-being was “endangered”.
Footage has emerged showing Rangers skipper Lee Wallace being punched and goalkeeper Wes Foderingham during the post-match melee.
Former Rangers defender Wishart said: “PFA Scotland supports calls for a full and thorough independent and transparent investigation in to the post-match events at the Scottish Cup final at Hampden on Saturday.
“Safety in the workplace is of paramount importance and it is forgotten that footballers’ workplace is the field of play, where they perform assuming like every worker that the environment is safe.
“On Saturday this was not the case and it is completely unacceptable that the safety of our members was compromised in the scenes which followed the full-time whistle.
“The well-being of our members was endangered and they were left open to threats and intimidation. No one should have to face these unsavoury conditions in their workplace, be it on the football pitch or an office environment.
“In the lead-up to high-profile matches such as Saturday’s cup final, players are advised by the authorities with regard to their behaviour on the pitch and the potential consequences in the stands of such behaviour.
“The players on Saturday behaved impeccably. It was their safety that was threatened and our members were left vulnerable.
“The scenes on the Hampden pitch tarnished what was a wonderful game of football and a historic day for Hibernian Football Club.
“It is particularly disappointing that both sets of players were denied the opportunity to go to their supporters in the traditional manner, the Hibernian players were denied the opportunity to celebrate a momentous occasion for their club with their supporters while the Rangers players were unable to collect their medals and acknowledge their supporters after a long season.
“We commend our members for the restraint shown under severe duress and believe that they are due a full explanation from the authorities as to how and why supporters were able to enter the field of play and threaten their safety.”
Hibs have already said they will “co-operate fully” with any inquiry but Rangers’ anger over the matter has not relented.
They released a scathing statement on Sunday night, saying they “demand that players, staff and fans be protected from the violence and hatred of supporters of other clubs”.
Police have so far confirmed they have made 11 arrests for minor offences.