Scottish Football Association aim to support referees

November 29, 2010

Scottish Football Association chief executive Stewart Regan is confident that there will be no repeat of the referees’ strike.

Category one officials withdrew their labour at the weekend.

And Regan told BBC Radio 5 live: “We have recognised that we do need to support referees more and we have made a certain number of offers to do that.

“If we can put those measures in place, we can satisfy the referees that we are taking their point seriously.”

On Saturday, all four Scottish Premier League matches went ahead with foreign officials in charge but 10 Scottish Football League games were called off.

“Our understanding is it’s one weekend to make a point. Hopefully they’ll be back next week,” Regan added.

Scottish referees have already made it clear that they will be working as usual next weekend.

They are unhappy that their integrity is being continually questioned and, despite assurances from the SFA that it would take a firm line with critical clubs, the officials refused to call off their strike at the weekend.

And Regan is determined to push ahead with the promises made to the disgruntled match officials.

“We will be very tough on any player who challenges or abuses referees in a way that is unacceptable,” he continued.

“There is a process in place already for dealing with anybody from any club that steps out of line. Those individuals are dealt with through the various committees that operate within the SFA and that will continue.

“But obviously we will take a much tougher stance, going forward.

“I came out last week and said that I sympathised with the position referees have found themselves in.

“Over a period of weeks they have taken an awful lot of stick in the press. Their integrity had been challenged, lots of questions had been asked about them.

“A number of them had received threats, which is really not on.

“As a governing body, we met with the referees and proposed a number of areas of improvement but, unfortunately, they wished to have a weekend of action to make a point, which I personally didn’t agree with.

“That’s why we had to go elsewhere to bring in referees.”

Referee John McKendrick told BBC Radio Scotland: “It was always our intention to take a time out, have a moment of reflection, then get back to normal next Saturday.

“We’ve had an understanding response from everybody involved in football.

“Hopefully, next weekend there will be a different atmosphere towards referees and we’ll move away from referees being the centre of attention.

“We’ve had a check on the ridiculous over-the-top criticism, which is based on nothing to do with points of play.

“Things won’t change overnight. We have to work towards a climate where we can have an open discussion with clubs and players.”