Former referee Steve Conroy blasts SFA for treating fans with “contempt” and “inexplicable” VAR mistakes

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A former referee has blasted the Scottish FA for failing to tackle VAR controversy, describing some of the recent “shocking mistakes” as “inexplicable”.

The SFA has yet to comment publicly, but a BBC report has claimed that the governing body is considering drafting in specialist video assistant referees to improve the decision-making process. Former grade one referee Steve Conroy has branded recent errors “shocking” and called on his former bosses at Hampden to front up. He has criticised the SFA for not being open and honest about teething problems and mistakes. He believes better public communication to explain specific decisions would help.

Hibs were furious about decisions made in Saturday’s 3-1 defeat at Celtic Park, including the second yellow card shown to Elie Youan and the penalty awarded to Celtic that allowed Jota to equalise from the spot. Lee Johnson also felt his own team’s spot kick should not have been awarded and chief executive Ben Kensell became embroiled in a heated exchange with SFA officials at the stadium immediately after Saturday’s Premiership fixture.

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VAR technology has been the subject of intense debate since it was introduced to the Scottish game in October and it has been under intense scrutiny this week following a string of highly contentious decisions. The likes of Rangers hero Ally McCoist have now called for a dramatic U-turn and for the technology to be scrapped permanently.

VAR has had a difficult weekVAR has had a difficult week
VAR has had a difficult week

VAR failed to intervene to award Kilmarnock a penalty in their 1-1 draw with St Johnstone despite a handball against defender Andy Considine. There was controversy over Rangers' third goal against Motherwell over a potential offside against Fashion Sakala in the build-up, while Craig Napier was not summoned to the monitor after awarding St Mirren a penalty against Dundee United – even though replays suggested no foul had been committed.

Conroy said: “It’s been the most explosive, controversial and worrying weekend of VAR we have seen this season. There were major decisions in virtually every game – some bad and some inexplicable. We are now four months or so into this and it’s not getting any better. There is nothing wrong with the technology – it has been the interpretation of it. Referees can make mistakes, but VAR is supposed to be there to rectify them. That didn’t happen. There were shocking mistakes in Dundee United’s game with St Mirren and Kilmarnock’s match with St Johnstone that could have significant bearing on their survival."

Speaking to BonusCodeBets, Conroy added: “Every time something like this happens there is deafening silence from the SFA. They are treating the Scottish football public with contempt. Why not come out and say ‘we’ve had a howler and we’re going to try to get it right’? They have to say something."