Hibernian defender Rocky Bushiri cited by SFA for playing in game when suspended

The Belgian played in Wednesday’s Premier Sports Cup tie against Morton.

By Press Association Published: 22 July 2022 - 5.15pm

Hibernian defender Rocky Bushiri has been served with a notice of complaint from the Scottish Football Association’s compliance officer after playing in a match while suspended.

The Belgian was on the pitch for the full 90 minutes of Wednesday’s Premier Sports Cup match against Morton even though he should have been serving a one-match ban after picking up bookings in each of the previous two matches in the tournament against Falkirk and Bonnyrigg.

Hibs drew the match 1-1 and then lost on penalties but the result was switched to a 3-0 defeat on Thursday after the Scottish Professional Football League established that the player was ineligible.

It has subsequently emerged that Bushiri himself faces punishment after being cited for breaching rule 208 which states: “No player or member of Team Staff shall breach a suspension and no club or Football Academy shall allow a player or member of Team Staff to breach a suspension.”

Bushiri will be the subject of a hearing on Thursday, August 11.

Hibs owner Ron Gordon, meanwhile, is adamant there will be no repeat of the administrative error that allowed Bushiri to be included against Morton, killing off the Easter Road side’s already slender hopes of Premier Sports Cup progress.

“The ops department made a boo-boo,” said Gordon in a video call question and answer session with several Hibs podcasts. “Something fell through the cracks. It’s a bit of a shame.

“We are rectifying it. I look at the improvements we have made and that’s one area where we have upgraded.

“Our ops department is better but in this particular case they made a mistake. They feel terrible but if there is a consolation, it’s the fact it doesn’t effect anything.

“It doesn’t change. It would have been really bad if we had won last night (against Morton) and been in a bad situation because of that (administrative error).

“I can assure you it is not going to happen again.”

Gordon also voiced his frustration at the Premiership fixture scheduling.

He is disappointed that Hibs’ first home game – on the second matchday of the campaign – will be an Edinburgh derby against Hearts as he feels his club will miss out on extra revenue from gate attendance as a result.

“I disagree with it for a variety of reasons, if I’m being honest. For starters we’ve still got construction ongoing at the stadium,” he said.

“We’re not going to get that completed in the West Stand until only a couple of days before that.

“They knew that and they scheduled the biggest game of the season. I mean, honestly, who schedules a derby as the opening day? You would never have Celtic-Rangers or Man City-Man United as your opening day.

“It makes zero business sense, it kills your season ticket. It’s just like ‘who does that?’.

“I’ve already had this conversation with the league, I just find it absurd. But, in any case, that is our reality because once it’s published, it’s published.

“We’ve got a big game and it puts us in a difficult position where we need to be ready to play those big matches.

“Not only do we have Hearts, we have Rangers after that at home. I think the schedule is really, really poor.

“Opening day is, by default, a high attendance day. We get 2,000-3,500 who walk up because it’s opening day and it’s a beautiful and sunny day. It’s a high attendance day and instead of having two (high attendance days) in the derby and opening day you collapse them into one.

“You kill 4,000, 5,000 attendance that you’re not going to get. It’s foolish.”

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