KILMARNOCK manager Steve Clarke has taken legal action in his battle with the SFA, who have charged both him and the club for bringing the game into disrepute.

The 55-year-old has been accused following a statement he made over the failure of an appeals tribunal to rescind the red card shown to midfielder Gary Dicker by referee Willie Collum during a match against Hearts last month.

Clarke also claimed that the matter had been pre-judged as a result of Collum having been tasked with officiating at that week’s Celtic v Rangers Premiership meeting.

The Ayrshire club has also been charged due to the fact they put the manager’s statement up on their website.

Clarke has also been charged with making critical comments concerning the performance of Mr Collum but he intends to take the fight to the authorities.

“Myself and the club will have legal representation,” he said. “I think the charges are serious enough for that. We can lighten the mood in here when we talk about it, but these are serious charges; I don’t like being told that I’ve brought the game into disrepute when I look at a statement and see nothing wrong with it.

“There will be no retractions on my part. Like I say, this is serious and we’ll be treating it accordingly. I don’t know what the SFA is like when it comes to hearings but in England 99% of people who have one are found guilty. I don’t know what the percentage is like here.

“It’s nice to have the chance to state my case and it’ll be equally nice for them to explain to me why I’ve been charged with bringing the game into disrepute because I just don’t see what I’ve done.

“They cite the relevant rules but, inside them, there are five or six possibilities which could be attached to the charge. What’s annoying – and I know it’s pedantic - is that they can’t even be bothered to spell my name properly. That’s just wrong.

“I stand by everything I said in my statement – no retraction – so I look forward to the hearing.

“If you’re going to the lengths of charging someone and sending them a document of that size then the least you can do is show some respect and get their name right. I won't use the word amateurish but certainly unprofessional.”

Clarke also expressed disgust that the SFA’s charges were addressed to Steven Clarke when his Christian name is Stephen, a matter he believes is indicative of the authorities’ lack of attention to detail.

“I gave it back to the person who handed it to me and said: ’Please inform the SFA that that’s not me’ and asked them to send it back with the correct name on it,” he said. “It took them two goes but they eventually did it.

“If this had been a criminal case I could have accepted it and probably got off on a technicality but I’m not a criminal – at least I don’t think I am.

“This is part of the process but the biggest disappointment for me is that the club has been charged because they don’t deserve to be. They’ve done nothing wrong.

“If the SFA think I’ve done something wrong then that’s fine. I’ll fight my corner but there’s no way the club should have been charged.

“I believe the club were charged because they put it on the website but it’s my statement, so I’m the one who deserved the charge…if the charge is deserved.”

The SFA issued a statement last night stating that changes to judicial panel protocol had been made following extensive consultation with clubs - and stressing that the system was continually being monitored.

The statement read: “There has been much discussion and debate around the changes made for this season to the Judicial Panel Protocol.

“One key change that was made was in respect of unseen offences of serious foul play and violent conduct. As of this season, the match referee is no longer asked to provide a statement of opinion. This removes any perceived conflict where the match official is placed in the position of reassessing their original decision.

“Instead the Compliance Officer asks a three-person panel to review whether a sending off offence occurred. Only where all three individuals agree that a sending off offence occurred will a Notice of Complaint be raised.

“The panel are drawn from a pool of former Category One referees who remain active in the game and are therefore up to date with the any modifications to the Laws of the Game and current coaching guidance.

“This panel is only used to assess unseen offences of serious foul play, violent conduct and spitting. It is completely separate and distinct to the Judicial Panel itself who are tasked with reviewing Notices of Complaint and Fast Track Claims. The Judicial Panel is made up of people from across the game.

“The overall changes introduced this summer were the subject of discussion and input from two separate working groups comprising representatives from across Scottish football, including clubs, managers and players who met on numerous occasions to discuss and agree to these changes to the Protocol.

“The SPFL Competitions Working Group, which includes representation from all four leagues, were also consulted during the process. Systems used across other national associations, including the FA, were considered as part of the process, and influenced the recommended approach. These recommendations were approved by the Scottish FA board and all member clubs received details of all the changes in writing at the start of the season.

“We are always open to making the system more transparent with written reasons for Fast Track proceedings now published on the Scottish FA website alongside details of all Notices of Complaint and Claims lodged and dealt with under the Judicial Panel Protocol.

“The clubs, players and managers are represented in the ongoing review of the Judicial Panel Protocol and we will welcome any input this season through our usual processes.

“In addition, our Referee Operations Department will continue to offer the opportunity to clubs to be refreshed on the current coaching guidance given to referees and any modifications to the Laws of the Game in the future.”