SFA ‘to consider foreign referees’ amid disciplinary procedure shake-up

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The Scottish Football Association is to consider introducing foreign officials as part of a wider shake-up of refereeing and disciplinary procedures in the Scottish game, according to reports.

The Association met with compliance officer Clare Whyte and the 12 Scottish Premiership clubs on Monday, with the BBC reporting an agreement was struck for an SPFL working party to be set up to examine “fundamental change”.

Maltese referee Christian Lautier has words with Hibs striker Colin Nish in November 2010. Picture: SNS Group

Maltese referee Christian Lautier has words with Hibs striker Colin Nish in November 2010. Picture: SNS Group

The group will report back with proposals which could be introduced as early as the 2019/20 campaign.

A number of Scotland’s football clubs have raised concerns about the standards of refereeing and have backed tentative plans to increase the pool of officials by bringing in whistlers from England, Wales or overseas.

The meeting also focused on the issue of compliance, with most clubs agreeing that changes need made to the existing system.

Rangers managing director Stewart Robertson claimed on Tuesday that Scottish football is “re-refereeing” matches under the existing system.

He said: “It is placing intolerable pressure on the referees, which places pressure on the compliance system and disciplinary system.”

Referees from overseas were brought in in November 2010, during an unprecedented strike by Scotland’s top whistlers.

Officials from Israel, Luxembourg and Malta took charge of matches between Celtic and Inverness Caledonian Thistle, Hamilton and St Mirren, Hibs and St Johnstone and Kilmarnock and Aberdeen as just four matches out of a scheduled 20 beat the weather.