Scottish FA creates new referee recruitment role

By Jim SpenceBBC Scotland
John Fleming, head of referee development at the SFA
The role was created by John Fleming, the SFA's head of referee development

Craig Thomson and Steven McLean have been appointed referee recruitment and education managers by the Scottish Football Association.

Both category one referees will remain as active officials while job-sharing.

They will concentrate on delivering recruitment, retention and development programmes, developing relations with schools, colleges and universities.

The SFA says it also hopes the duo will help to increase respect and understanding of the referee's role.

John Fleming, its head of referee development, said: "Their experience will be a huge asset to the department, the referee fraternity and the SFA.

"As part of the new Scottish FA strategic plan I considered it vitally important that we use the expertise and enthusiasm of two active referees.

"Previously the role of referee development officer was considered the next step for former referees but we need to be more proactive and forward-thinking."

Thomson will continue to work as a solicitor part-time while McLean has left his previous job as a physiotherapist to focus on the new job.

Thomson, with eight years' experience as a Fifa ref, described himself as "thrilled" to have been appointed.

"This new role will enable me to share my experiences with the next generation of referees," he said.

"I am also confident that by utilising two active referees, the public, the clubs and the media will gain a better understanding of the unique pressures and responsibilities of the job."