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Dublin: 9°C Monday 10 May 2021

Scottish MP under fire for missing meeting so he could work as assistant ref in Champions League

Douglas Ross was officiating at the game between Sporting and Real Madrid last night.

Karim Benzema and assistant referee Douglas Ross.
Karim Benzema and assistant referee Douglas Ross.

A MEMBER OF the Scottish parliament has been criticised for opting to serve as assistant referee for the Champions League match between Sporting CP and Real Madrid.

Douglas Ross works as a specialist assistant referee alongside his main job as an MSP and missed a parliamentary committee meeting to fulfil his duties in Portugal.

Madrid won Tuesday’s match 2-1 and one of Ross’ political opponents has called for him to stand down as the justice spokesman for his party, the Conservatives, due to his involvement in the Lisbon fixture.

Ross, who also holds a role as a councillor and reportedly missed events in the past due to his officiating duties, was criticised by SNP MSP Ben Macpherson.

It is declared on Ross’ register of interests with Scottish parliament that he earns between £35,001 and £40,000 (€41,000-€47,000) per year from his role for Scottish and Uefa matches, but he has now committed one foul too many in the eyes of Macpherson.

“The arrogance and blatant disrespect of ‘three jobs’ Tory Douglas Ross is simply staggering,” Macpherson flagged up while speaking to the BBC.

“Last time the whistle was blown on one of his refereeing junkets the Tories claimed it was just a ‘one off’. But he’s at it again — and this time it should be a straight red card.

“Obviously he values his £40k-a-year weekend job — and all-expenses paid trips to Lisbon and other European cities — more than his responsibilities as an MSP and local councillor, demonstrating complete contempt for the people who elected him.

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“If Douglas Ross can’t pitch up to do his job, it’s time for relegation — he should either take a step back from refereeing or stand down from Holyrood’s justice committee with immediate effect, and (leader) Ruth Davidson should give him the boot from her frontbench team.”

However, the Scottish Conservatives responded by hitting out at Macpherson, saying: “Earlier this year Ben Macpherson asked Douglas to kindly speak to clubs in his constituency about refereeing — presumably this invitation has now been rescinded.”

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