Referees have been top of the agenda in Scottish football in recent weeks but the reported move to bring in foreign officials from next season is absolutely crazy and only panders to conspiracy theorists.

According to the Daily Record, the Scottish FA have agreed to look at bringing in foreign ref after a number of controversial decisions across the league.

20th September 2017, Dens Park, Dundee, Scotland; Scottish League Cup Quarter-final, Dundee versus Celtic; Neil McCann has a word with referee John Beaton after the match

(Photo by Vagelis Georgariou/Action Plus via Getty Images)

The report claims the idea is being driven by Celtic who feel aggrieved by decisions – despite the best disciplinary record of any top-flight club.

Rangers have also recently had their say, criticising the process which sees players brought before the compliance officer based on TV evidence.


Other clubs – like Hibs and Kilmarnock – have also came out and criticised the standard of officiating and there’s no question that there could be a better quality of referee in Scottish football.

MOTHERWELL, SCOTLAND - APRIL 9 : Leigh Griffiths of Celtic is yellow carded by referee Willie Collum after celebrating scoring the opening goal of the game during the Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership match between Celtic FC and Motherwell FC at Fir Park on April 9, 2016 in Glasgow, Scotland.

(Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

But bringing in foreign referees is not the answer.

The last time Scottish football had foreign referees – during the 2010 refs strike – they were replaced by their counterparts from the likes of Israel, Malta and Luxembourg.

It was hardly the elite of European football.

That won’t change now either and there will be bang average referees taking charge of games – the only difference will be that English might not be their first language.

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - DECEMBER 05: Kyle Lafferty of Rangers remonstrates with referee Steven McLean after Alfredo Morelos of Rangers lis given a second yellow card during the Scottish Ladbrokes Premiership match between Rangers and Aberdeen at Ibrox Stadium on December 5, 2018 in Glasgow, Scotland.

(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

There needs to be an improvement in standards across the board but unless the best referees from across the continent are suddenly going to flock to Scotland then nothing is going to change.

Clubs definitely have some valid points to make about officials.

‘Trial by Sportscene’ isn’t a new idea – St. Johnstone boss Tommy Wright was complaining about it four years ago.

That the whole push for foreign refs is being pushed by Celtic – with 16 fewer bookings than anyone –  is crazy and seems to be giving creedence to those who think there is some sort of agenda to stop them winning ten in a row.

If clubs want better referees then the best thing to do is work with the guys in the system now rather than parachuting in a crop of foreign refs.

It might even work as a short-term fix but it doesn’t help the long-term standards improve.


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