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Referees: Ciftci ban too lenient

The group representing Scotland's top referees claims the decision to ban Nadir Ciftci for just two games for manhandling a match official sends the "wrong message" to the nation's footballers.

Nadir Ciftci, third right, was dismissed for his part in the fracas

Dundee United striker Ciftci has been handed the suspension following an incident involving Gavin Harris during October's clash with Inverness.

But the Scottish Senior Football Referees Association claims the punishment was lenient and has now demanded talks with the Scottish Football Association.

Citfci was initially charged with "seizing hold" of Harris "by the throat" after being sent off following a brawl involving several players from both sides.

But the 21-year-old Dutchman was later charged with "placing an open hand into the lower area of the assistant referee's throat".

He is now banned for Saturday's meeting with Hearts, with the second suspended until the end of the season.

In a statement handed to Press Association Sport, a SSFRA spokesman said: "We wish to express our deep dissatisfaction at the leniency of the sanction imposed by Tuesday's Disciplinary Tribunal on a player who was found guilty of physically abusing one of our members.

"As an association, we feel this sends out completely the wrong message on issues surrounding the protection of match officials at all levels of the game in Scotland.

"Following a weekend of action taken by some of our number in 2010, assurances were given by the Scottish FA that it would take very seriously the protection of referees.

"Our association strongly believes that a thorough review of the governing body's duty of care responsibilities to match officials should now be undertaken to ensure that referees are operating within a safe working environment.

"We will be seeking talks with the Scottish FA within the next few days to discuss matters before reporting to our members."

Ciftci was sent off during a League Cup match against Caley Thistle on October 29.

His red card was downgraded to a yellow following a successful claim of wrongful dismissal for violent conduct.

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