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Dublin: 7 °C Sunday 23 February, 2020

What do we want? New whistles! When do we want them? Now!

Scotland’s top football referees are set to bring the SPL schedule to a standstill after they vote to strike next week.

Referee Dougie McDonald talking to assistant Steven Caven during a Clydesdale Bank Scottish Premier League match.
Referee Dougie McDonald talking to assistant Steven Caven during a Clydesdale Bank Scottish Premier League match.
Image: Lynne Cameron/PA Wire/Press Association Images

THEY’RE THE ONES who take abuse from players, are the subject of salty chants from the terraces and are criticised by angry managers.

Now, the referees in Scotland have had enough.

Scotland’s top whistlers are planning to strike during next weekend’s round of matches. The category one officials are understood to have voted to refuse appointments over perceived attacks on their personal integrity.

The action means the six games in the Scottish Premier League (SPL) and the Alba Challenge Cup Final are at risk.

Foreign refs could be drafted in to fill the void this weekend.

The men in black held a meeting on Sunday afternoon, at which the decision to take strike action was backed unanimously.

Former referee Kenny Clark told BBC Scotland: “Referees are at the end of their tether, and it’s not just how it’s impacting on them but it’s the impact it’s all having on their families and business lives.” He added:

Businesses in which referees are employed are being targeted by fans sending hate emails to employers saying things like, ‘why are you employing this guy?

The most high-profile incident this season saw referee Dougie McDonald overturn the decision to give Celtic a penalty in a game against Dundee United, and then receive a Scottish Football Association warning for lying about his reasons for doing so.

Celtic are still fuming over the incident and last week Bhoys chairman  Jim Reid called for McDonald’s resignation, claiming his position was untenable.

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