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Scottish FA criticised for decision to part ways with Craig Levein

Updated: Tuesday, 06 Nov 2012 14:17 | Comments

Scotland look set to miss out on another major championship following a disasterous performance in 2014 World Cup qualifying so far
Scotland look set to miss out on another major championship following a disasterous performance in 2014 World Cup qualifying so far

The Scottish Football Association will embark on the search for a new national team manager amid the backdrop of serious criticism of their handling of the end of Craig Levein's tenure.

Levein was "relieved of his duties" four days after the SFA board met to discuss his position and 20 days after a 2-0 defeat by Belgium left Scotland bottom of their World Cup qualifying group with two points from four matches.

SFA chief executive Stewart Regan would not elaborate on the extra information required by the board over the weekend or whether the seven-man committee made a unanimous decision.

Regan last year declared his streamlining of the SFA's governance as a major overhaul but it appeared to most outsiders that little has changed after a prolonged decision-making process that saw Under-21s coach Billy Stark handed temporary charge less than 24 hours before a squad was due to be announced for next Wednesday's friendly in Luxembourg.

The SFA will continue to pay Levein his wages, with 20 months remaining on his contract, and it appears reasonable to assume financial considerations were the cause for the delay.

Regan last night stressed the board were entitled to ask for more information but it remained unclear why all relevant details had not been presented to the rest of the seven-man board before the weekend.

"I can't believe that it took three weeks to make a decision." - Former SFA president George Peat

Former SFA president George Peat was among those critical of the governing body's approach.

Peat told BBC Scotland: "I can't believe that it took three weeks to make a decision.

"To be honest, it could have been made in a couple of days. I certainly would have had the decision made long ago.

"I understand Craig was on holiday for a week, but that's only one week out of three.

"It doesn't take a rocket scientist to work out how much he was getting and what was the balance of his contract.

"It doesn't take a rocket scientist to work out, had he stayed, what the SFA would have lost in revenue from three home matches because the morale of the supporters is rock bottom and I could not see a full Hampden Park had he carried on."

Peat added: "My understanding was that most of this was done by conference call and I cannot believe that such an important decision was left to a conference call."

Former Scotland midfielder Craig Burley was even more scathing.

"I think the SFA are a bit of a shambles," Burley told BBC Radio 5 Live. "Why has it taken so long?

"I have been told that they convened board meetings as a seven-member board and half of them have not been able to turn up, some of them turned up some of the time and, sometimes when they all turned up, some of them had to go.

"Part of the meeting today I hear was convened via conference call to some of the board members.

"They couldn't even be bothered for whatever reason to get their backside there to make one of the biggest decisions in Scottish football."

Former Scotland defender Steven Pressley believes the decision itself was wrong.

The Falkirk manager, who played under Levein at Hearts, told talkSPORT: "We are not addressing the real problems, grass-root football and the style of play that we adopt.

"Until we address this we will continue to have these discussions.

"We are absolutely missing the point.

"I have worked with Craig Levein, I was very fortunate to work with Craig, he is a first-class manager.

"He was fully supported by his players but the SFA take the easy option and make the change."

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