SFA 'will not countenance' using foreign referees, says Ian Maxwell

The Scottish FA will not "countenance" the idea of using foreign referees, says chief executive Ian Maxwell.

Maxwell met Scottish Premiership clubs on Monday to discuss and debate "the differing views on the judicial panel protocol".

The summit followed criticism of the current disciplinary process and calls for VAR to be introduced.

"Our match officials are highly respected at Fifa and Uefa level," said Maxwell.

"I am acutely aware that changes implemented in the summer - changes that had input from and were approved by the judicial panel working group comprising Scottish FA and SPFL staff, club, players', managers' and referees' representatives - have subsequently caused some confusion and uncertainty.

"For the avoidance of doubt, however, at no point during Monday's meeting did any discussion take place on referees from outwith Scotland, nor will the Scottish FA countenance such a notion."

Maxwell, who replaced Stewart Regan at the end of last season, stressed it was important not to "conflate refereeing performance and disciplinary procedures".

"We currently have 22 match officials on the Fifa list and while they are as susceptible to human error as players and managers, I reiterate my support to the match officials at all levels in this country," the chief executive explained.

"They are a vital part of our game and it is our duty as the governing body to support and encourage them as we do our players and coaches to achieve our objective of a vibrant and flourishing game in this country."

'Criticism of compliance officer unacceptable'

Clare Whyte took up the role of SFA's compliance officer last year - the third person to hold the post - and Maxwell insists she "does not offer any judgement on any incident".

"The compliance officer is to act independently and in accordance with the rule book with which she is provided," Maxwell said.

"In recent weeks the criticism of the incumbent has been unacceptable. Not only has it been personal in nature, it has also been grossly unfair.

"When an incident has been identified, the compliance officer asks one fundamental question: was the incident seen, in its entirety, by the match officials?

"If the answer is yes, the matter is closed pursuant to IFAB Law 5: the match official's decision is final.

"If the answer is no - due to either the incident being completely missed (such as an off the ball incident) or that a significant part of the incident has been missed because the match official's view has been obscured or blocked - the incident is referred, independently, to three former category one referees."

Maxwell went on to explain that "no retrospective action can be taken" unless the former officials reach a "unanimous view" that a sending off offence or act of simulation had taken place.

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