McDonald quits as crisis deepens

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The crisis engulfing Scottish football's referees took a further dramatic twist on Sunday night when Dougie McDonald quit.

McDonald announced in a statement that he was retiring as a category one referee.

McDonald has been under pressure to resign since admitting he had misled Celtic boss Neil Lennon over his decision to rescind a penalty he initially awarded to the Hoops last month.

McDonald's penalty U-turn had sparked the escalation of events which led to this weekend's referees' strike.

McDonald said: "It is with regret that I have decided, with immediate effect, to retire from my role as a category one referee.

"My category one colleagues decided rightly to withdraw their services from matches this weekend in response to the outrageous way they have been treated by sections within Scottish football and, in my opinion, the lack of support they have received from the SFA General Purposes Committee in recent years.

"However, their united stand, and the position of strength they have established this weekend, has been clouded by one issue, namely the aftermath of the Dundee United v Celtic match on 17 October.

"I apologised for my role in that and wanted my previously unblemished 29-year career to move on.

"Now is the time for all of Scottish football to move on.

"My decision will therefore remove that issue from the debate and ensure that the next day of action - which, in my opinion, will undoubtedly come if the football community does not have a massive change of heart - will result in media coverage being concentrated on those who engage in referee bashing and those who condone it."

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Neil Lennon
Queens Park Rangers

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