The Tough Situation SFA & Celtic Find Themselves In Over Tonev


Today the Scottish FA announced that Celtic’s Aleksander Tonev had been found guilty of racially abusing Aberdeen’s Shay Logan and have punished the Bulgarian winger with a seven game immediate suspension.

Like in most situations like these, a lot of debate has been created as things are far from clear. Especially since Celtic have come out backing the player and are appealing against the guilty verdict.

In their statement Celtic said this…

“Racism has no place in football and as a Club for all people, Celtic absolutely abhors racism of any kind.

“This was a very unfortunate case, but the Club has accepted Aleksandar’s explanation that he did not say the words that were alleged to have been said and that he is not a racist.

“We are, therefore, very disappointed by the outcome today and can confirm that Aleksandar will be appealing this decision.”

Now the SFA and Celtic seem to be in a bit of a stand-off which could become very embarrassing for one of the opposing parties.

Evidence could be huge in this saga.



If the SFA have strong evidence that Tonev (on loan from Aston Villa) was indeed guilty, then Celtic will be extremely red faced to say the least. They will have effectively publicly backed a racist. That would be a PR disaster for the club. Some of Celtic’s support have been questioning the board for a while now and if Celtic were to get this incident wrong, calls for the board to go will only grow and grow. I believe in a case like this, Celtic would have had a representative during any hearing and would have had access to all the relevant evidence. It would also be on the back of the Leigh Griffiths case (where he sang songs against Rudi Skacel) and Celtic struggled with the criticism that came from that incident.

On the other hand, surely the SFA need to come out and tell us what evidence they convicted Tonev on. Some have suggested that the SFA don’t need hard evidence and they can go on balance of probability. That could look weak, especially if it’s one players word against another. In a huge case like this I’d like to think they would have more to go on than just one persons word against the other. Racism is such a strong topic, we can’t have players scared to come out and complain if they’re racially abused. But in fairness for all concerned, we need to have evidence that is backed up with other people or footage. A ban for racism is a huge mark against any player and harmful to their careers. If it turns out that the SFA have messed up here, then quite a few teams and their fans may see it as an ideal time to attack the heart of Scottish football and the people who run the game.

We now need to step back and wait for the SFA to comeback with the reasons for the guilty verdict. If they deem us worthy of that! Then await the findings of any appeal. It is certainly an unsavoury situation but it has to be dealt with correctly and with clear and calm heads.

13 Responses to “The Tough Situation SFA & Celtic Find Themselves In Over Tonev”

  1. This is a problem with regards to “closed door” hearings, the verdict is announced with none of the evidence that was heard. If there is such evidence to justify the verdict, it should have been released simultaneously.
    This article spouts that Celtic appear to be backing a racist, rubbish, they are backing a player who claims innocence, and Celtic are doing what any other club would do. When all the facts are known and if indeed the evidence supports the verdict, then I would have no doubt that Celtic will terminate the players loan agreement. While if there is nothing other than one players word against another, then this would be yet another questionable decision made by the ruling body.

  2. Hi Phil, thanks for the comment.

    I certainly didn’t say that Celtic were backing a racist. I said it would look that way if SFA had strong evidence from the hearing, Celtic would have had an official at the hearing.

    I also agree that evidence to justify the verdict should be made at same time as the punishment. Would make things more transparent for all of us.

  3. surely any evidence must be published,otherwise this is a mockery of the truth,fair play ,justice and human decency,or are their dark forces at work here,one persons word against another does not constitute evidence in any rule of law ,maybe in the middle ages this was acceptable,but witchhunts in 2014? only the sfa can answer this,

  4. I would go a little further Phil. Celtic will terminate Tonev’s loan agreement if hard evidence points to racism and therefore it would not look like Celtic were backing a racist player. But if the SFA are only taking the words of the two players in question then this would be worse. In fact if they (the SFA) have hard evidence then they have a public duty to inform the police

  5. The SFA are again making a rod for their own backs by not publishing the full account of the hearing. The five way agreement is testament to their previous show of ineptitude in pursuing their secretive policies. They need to realise the Scottish football fans, and the public in general, do not rely on weekly newsreels at the cinema to find out what’s happening in the world. If they are confident their findings will stand up to scrutiny, or more importantly, appeal then they should have the courage to publish them. By not doing so they encourage doubt and second guessing by everyone on the outside.

  6. Many of my best friends are not white. The world of soccer has opened up a massive can of worms with yhe introduction of this and other racism charges. Firstly, everyone knows only non-whites will accuse others of racism. It means that any non-white player who gets a real going over from a white player can accuse them of racism and the world suddenly believes him. The white guy will never be proven to be telling the truth. You will never have a white guy complaining that a non-white called him a racist name. This is a very dangerous situation that could lead to all sorts of backlash. If Tonev is guilty, he deserves to be released back to his club. But it is really clear he has had little chance to state a case. Bitterness between Aberdeen and Celtic will grow. This is a very typical SFA move. They act first and think later, as long as they act against Celtic. This stuff creates racism, it does not prevent it. Am I missing something or do non-whites never say anything against whites? Is racism one sided? Not in my life it isn’t. I see and hear it every single day coming from both sides. The SFA can be proud of their bigotted stance again.

  7. This is a worrying course of action by the SFA. Corroboration is still the cornerstone of justice in this country. I assume that Celtic have launched an appeal on the basis that Tonev has advised them that he did not say the words in question. Aberdeen take the opposite view and are backing their man. This would appear to be one mans word against another.

    I the evidence exists, get it out there. If he is guilty, rip up his contract (at both Celtic and Aston Villa)

  8. As usual, from the responses it can be seen again that “it isnae oor fault, the SFA are biased”.

    For once, just once, take account of your guilt and accept it. There are no “dark forces”, just a player from a country that is known to have racism problems, making a stupid horrible comment to another player. But I’m sure it will be someone else’s fault… again.

  9. Where does it state that celtic are backing the player,and how will celtic look red faced if they back the player?
    If you read the celtic statement properly it clearly states that its the player himself that is appealing the decision.
    If he did say a racist comment then he will have to accept the punishment,however as you have raised,its the fact he got found guilty of one players word against another or balance of probability is the problem that lies at the heart of this matter!

  10. Charles: They have clearly said that the accept Tonev’s word, SO i’d say they are backing him and if that turns out to be false then they’ll have got it wrong.

  11. One persons word against another person is no proof at all. The SFA must tell us on what evidence he was found guilty of. It is that simple. For now Celtic must also accept Tonev’s word until they also have some evidence that he is guilty, otherwise they would be in the wrong also.

  12. Steve

    Tll me a country anywhere in the world that does not have a rascis

  13. Steve

    The implication of your statement is that he must be guilty because some people in Bulgaria have racist views. That is at best a ridiculous generalisation though actually appears much more like a racist statement itself.

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