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We Need Professional Officials!

Date: 23rd February 2022

Once again we have seen a spate of officiating decisions in Scottish football that has caused much anger and mirth this season. 

Some easy decisions are being missed and calls on social media for VAR (Video Assistant Referee) technology to be introduced has been growing once again. 

I feel that it’s time for The SFA, The SPFL and their member clubs to come together and come to the conclusion that we need change. No I’m not calling for VAR, I don’t have any confidence that we can implement it successfully at this moment, instead I want professional referees and assistants being introduced. 

If we were to introduce VAR, then that comes at a hefty cost. At the moment the media (and the fans) struggle to properly debate these marginal decisions because of a lack of cameras within our grounds. Will the authorities put their hands in their pockets and pay for the right equipment and the right amount of cameras to make it worthwhile? 

Plus who will manage the VAR system? The same officials who have been much maligned for getting easy decisions wrong this term! That makes little to no sense to me. Plus it will only be implemented at the top level, our game should be about helping all the levels to improve not just The Premiership. 

I think it’s of paramount importance that we give our officiating teams the best backing possible and the best way for us to do that is by making them professional. 

They should be training both physically and by studying the game as much as possible. That should see increased fitness levels and give our officials a much better understanding of the game.

At the moment, the role as a referee or a lines-person is that person’s second job. That means they’re not fully invested in that position.

I respect that the current refereeing teams are willing to put up with the grief that they do as a second job but that doesn’t make it right nor does it mean we’ll get the best refs officiating at our games. 

If we’ve got professional referees then that could give us a better system to promote those doing a good job and have a structure to discipline and educate those that aren’t reaching the levels required. 

Also by giving the game professional referees, then the whole game will benefit not just that privileged top tier. 

Now I don’t think our officials are the worst in the world and supporters will always find ways to moan about them. But I feel there’s a way in which we can improve the refereeing decisions and help those brave enough to take charge of our games. By making the decision makers professional then we should see those in charge making better and more consistent calls, who doesn’t want to see that happen within the Scottish game?

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