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By ESPN Staff
Apr 6, 2011

Brown and Boyle face SFA probe

Aberdeen manager Craig Brown and Motherwell chairman John Boyle have both been referred to the Scottish Football Association's disciplinary committee following their clash at Fir Park on Saturday.

But Brown will be free to take his position in the Hampden dugout for his team's Scottish Cup semi-final against Celtic after escaping an automatic ban.

That punishment would have befallen him if the incident was included in the referee's official match report, but Steven McLean was still on the pitch when the pair clashed in the mouth of the tunnel.

The detail explains the different action taken when Celtic manager Neil Lennon and Rangers assistant Ally McCoist were handed automatic bans for a very similar incident last month.

The flashpoint occurred when Boyle approached his former employee immediately after Motherwell's 2-1 Premier League win. The Motherwell chairman shook his hands with Brown but put his other arm around the former Scotland manager's neck and whispered in his ear.

Boyle turned and walked away down the tunnel and was chased by Brown before being grabbed by the jacket, with Aberdeen assistant Archie Knox also closely involved in the jostling. It later emerged that Brown and Knox, who left Motherwell to take over at Pittodrie in December, had launched a legal action against the Lanarkshire club over unpaid bonuses for the club's Co-operative Insurance Cup run.

The pair led Motherwell to a quarter-final win in October but had left the club, where they had not signed a contract, before the semi-final.

Brown was immediately spoken to by police, who confirmed they were making enquiries but did not anticipate any criminal action following the "minor pushing''.

The disciplinary panel next meet on April 12, where they will discuss McCoist's appeal against his ban among other things. But the Fir Park clash is unlikely to be on the agenda as the SFA will have to write to both men and study their responses before they are discussed.

The subsequent meeting is set to be in May, meaning Brown could face a ban for the start of next season while any punishment for Boyle could be academic as he is set to step down at the end of the season and hand his majority shareholding back to the Motherwell board.

Speaking before he was cited, Brown questioned why he should receive any punishment. The 70-year-old said: "I shook hands with the chairman and subsequently it wasn't a very pleasant situation. I didn't do a thing, in my opinion, to merit anything.''

He added that any action was the SFA's prerogative "but I personally would fight it vigorously''.

Brown claimed the incident had been blown out of proportion and claimed he had brushed it off, adding "words don't hurt me''.

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