Media banned from Hearts

PA Sport
Paulo Sergio

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Paulo Sergio

Hearts have announced they have imposed a media ban ahead of manager Paulo Sergio's Scottish Football Association disciplinary hearing on November 3.

The SFA on Thursday announced their compliance officer had issued the Portuguese manager with a notice of complaint in relation to alleged comments made before last Saturday's 2-0 win at Dunfermline. Sergio was unhappy the SFA had appointed Iain Brines as fourth official for the East End Park clash, after he had disallowed a goal in their cup defeat to Ayr.

The Portuguese had said: "He told me the linesman said to him that it was a handball but now he is saying that he saw a handball. I am not happy to have him in my sight."

The media then sought a reaction from the SFA who in turn responded by accusing the former Sporting Lisbon manager of breaching rules 68 and 69 of the SFA's disciplinary code.

As a result, the Scottish Premier League club on Saturday released a statement on their official website stating there would be no direct contact with the media, some of whom they accuse of being "duplicitous" and "seek(ing) to sensationalise and at times demonise".

While the club will continue to post information on their website there will be no direct media contact.

The statement read: "Following receipt of a letter from the Scottish Football Association earlier this week asking club manager Paulo Sergio to explain alleged comments made by him prior to the Dunfermline v Hearts game, Hearts today confirmed that the club will back the manager completely at the Judicial Panel hearing.

"The club will support Paulo against any claim that he has breached the governing body's articles of association in relation to comments about match officials or referees - which if both are found proven could lead to a minimum six-match suspension.

"It is this club's considered opinion that, above all else, Heart of Midlothian has a duty of care to its employees. As such the club feels that it is entirely wrong for Paulo Sergio to be potentially sanctioned given the circumstances.

"For this reason the club feels that, in addition to defending the manager's position, the club will also suspend all general media activity - including pre and post-match media conferences - until, at the earliest, the date of the hearing on 3rd November. All manager, player and game information will continue to be offered through the club website."

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