SFA chief promises improvements

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Scottish Football Association chief executive Stewart Regan has pledged to overhaul the national governing body's disciplinary processes in an effort to avoid a repeat of the current crisis which led to last weekend's referees' strike.

Domestic officials last weekend withdrew their labour, meaning just four Clydesdale Bank Premier League fixtures could take place - two others were postponed due to adverse weather - using referees drafted in from Luxembourg, Malta and Israel.

Regan, who was appointed as SFA chief executive in the summer, has endured a tough baptism since taking up the role and now hopes to oversee "significant improvement for the Scottish FA and the game in general".

Regan said: "The last week represented a challenging and traumatic time for Scottish football.

"Now that the refereeing fraternity has made its point through a withdrawal of labour, it is essential for the image and indeed the health of the game that we all learn from this experience to ensure no repeat."

Scotland's leading officials last week took the decision to strike, seeking a "fundamental reappraisal" of their relationship with football and society, after their integrity was brought into question.

The SFA offered referees a range of conciliatory measures, including a blanket ban on comments about match officials. But the match officials insisted they would not back down as they ruled out any chance of a "quick fix" and the strike went ahead.

The SFA chief executive, who took up his role in early October, added: "In relation to Dougie McDonald's retirement, we appreciate the difficulties senior referees are facing with increasing pressure exerted on them.

"Dougie felt that pressure in the aftermath of the Dundee United v Celtic game had become intolerable.

"In his statement, Dougie referred to a perceived lack of general support from one of the Scottish FA committees. We have already identified the need to make changes to our current disciplinary processes. These changes will lead to significant improvement for the Scottish FA and the game in general."

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