I am not a fan of ex-ref Steve Conroy; I’m on the record as saying that Scottish football has nothing to learn from him. But I was wrong, because yesterday he said something so basic and simple and clearly correct that every newspaper columnist should be trying to start the debate. He said what this site and other Celtic sites has been saying for ages.
It is high time that the SFA held referees accountable for these dire, often inexplicable, decisions. Instead of doing so this week, the governing body has rewarded the two clowns who were responsible for that “error” last weekend by giving them the game at Ibrox against Aberdeen, a decision which stinks to high heaven.
That is more akin to rewarding them than raking them over the coals. Conroy is not my favourite person but he is right this time; the Referees Protection Society is damaging the game. These guys should have to answer for their “mistakes.”
It is simply not good enough to keep on putting this stuff down to “human error.” Even if that were the root cause, some of these guys make far too many errors. Players see themselves in the headlines for mistakes. Managers are sacked for theirs. Directors and refs; these are the only people left in the game who are absolutely unaccountable.
It’ a joke, and Conroy has got to the heart of at least some of what is wrong with our national game. I would argue that you could go further though. As the ever-brilliant Alan Morrison pointed out in his latest Celtic By Numbers piece, both of those officials are compromised by connections to the Ibrox club. This is what Conroy failed to mention.
Only in Scotland – only in Scotland, unique of all the nations in Europe – would this be allowed. Those connections would be disqualifying in any other league but this.
Why not here? What is the problem with accountability? What is the problem with giving fans and clubs the comfort of knowing – not just hoping but knowing – that we are committed to a clean game?
It’s obvious that some don’t want the rest of us to have that reassurance, but why? What are they worried about? What is the downside? What are these people afraid of? What exactly is it that they are trying to hide?