Scottish matches to go ahead as SFA draft in Euro officials
Scottish Premier League games will go ahead this weekend after the SFA reached an agreement with several European associations to provide referees as Scotland’s top officials go ahead with their strike action.
A statement from the SFA read: “The Scottish FA can confirm that agreement has been reached with several European National Associations to ensure matches in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League and the Alba Cup final will be covered this weekend.
“Negotiations are continuing with other national associations to help ensure that some, if not all, matches in the Scottish Football League go ahead as normal.
“Clubs will be informed by 3pm today whether their matches will go ahead or not in light of the Scottish Category One referees electing to persist with their withdrawal of labour.”
Scotland’s category one referees have opted to withdraw their services this weekend after a barrage of criticism aimed at them from clubs, their personnel, supporters, and some areas of the national press.
SFA chief executive Stewart Regan said: “I’m delighted with the team of administrators who have worked tirelessly to speak to a number of associations across Europe. We have been able to confirm that all the SPL matches will be taking place this weekend plus the Alba Cup final on Sunday.
“In addition we are also working on the Scottish Football League and Scottish Cup fixtures and are very confident that a number of those will also be able to go ahead this weekend. We can’t confirm any details at the moment but we are hoping to give some news on that as and when it is available.”
Regan continued: “These are FIFA listed officials or category one referees from their own countries.
“So they are proper referees. Fans will have no worries that they are getting top officials to referee the games at the weekend.”
Neil Doncaster, chief executive of the SPL, added: “It is really regrettable that there is this strike going ahead but we are delighted with the response from the SFA. There has been a lot of hard work from Stewart and his team to make sure that all of our SPL matches this weekend will be refereed.
“So whilst the whole situation is hugely regrettable, we are delighted that there is a positive outcome for supporters, for clubs, sponsors and our media partners who depend on these games going on.”
The nationality of the replacement referees is not yet known, but is understood that referees from France, Holland, Belgium and Denmark will not be involved, while representatives from the Norwegian, Icelandic, and Welsh FAs earlier ruled out stepping in.