Referee age limits abandoned in Scotland

Scottish referee Steven McLean

Scottish referees will no longer have to hang up their whistles at 47, now the mandatory retirement age for match officials has been dropped.

The Scottish Football Association has agreed the change in time for the start of next season.

Referees will instead be judged on their fitness and performance.

John Fleming, the SFA's head of referee development, said: "This is a positive step... the fitness of referees has increased significantly."

The decision follows a period of review undertaken by the SFA's referee committee and a recommendation submitted and passed by the governing body's main board.

"With the advances in sports science we have been able to tailor programmes for individual referees," added Fleming.

"We have seen examples elsewhere of match officials maintaining standards beyond the previous cut-off of 47 and it will be a major benefit to us in Scotland.

"It means referees will enjoy greater longevity if they maintain their levels of fitness and performance and will enable the referee development department to incorporate longer-term planning into our current commitment to match officials."