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Celtic Fans Are Right On Refereeing Reform No Matter How The Other Side Squeals.

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Like so many debates in Scottish football, the one over officials continues to be had mostly on the fringes, because our media is terrified to touch it. The continued cowardice of the mainstream press holds back this game in so many, many ways but this is one of the worst because if they were on their game this would have been fixed years ago.

This debate draws the nutters and Neanderthals like a discarded ice cream draws flies.

Some of them, like McCoist flapping his trap tonight at a kid just in the country because the boy expressed his view that when an outfield player in his own penalty box virtually throws the ball into the air like he’s playing netball that it looks like a penalty. These jokers are better left out of the discussion, their own prejudice is so raw that involving them in it serves no function at all.

I’m going to start by putting my cards on the table here, and I think it’s important to do that. I think that some of the officials in Scotland are biased. I don’t think some of them should be allowed near our games.

I believe John Beaton getting photographed drinking in a Sevco supporter’s bar was the moment that should have ended any prospect of his ever officiating at another Celtic game, or one involving their club either.

The reason I believe there is bias is not just that I’m fairly certain that I’ve watched decisions which are so bad that they can’t be mere mistakes but for a much more prosaic reason; it’s just not credible that there isn’t.

When you strip this argument of all the artifice we’re essentially being asked to believe either that refs don’t have football allegiances in Scotland – ridiculous, absolutely ridiculous – or that those don’t translate into bias.

What do you know about human nature? What do any of us know about it?

Let’s be clear here; we’re not saying that refs in Scotland are evil. They’re human, and we’re only kidding ourselves on if we pretend that this stuff does not affect them. It does not take you long, if you look around, to see how surrounded we are by all this.

We have a media where bias is everywhere and the reek of it is obvious.

It’s gotten so bad at the BBC that the running joke is that the biggest pre-requisite to getting a gig at Sports Scotland is having had some sort of prior connection to Ibrox.

Hell we have – as I’ll talk about later – a legal profession which had amongst it people who were so outraged by what they saw happening to their club that they broke the laws they were meant to uphold in order to get revenge. Not justice. Revenge.

The tax-payer is still counting the cost of that.

One of the men involved in the Charles Green scandal initially fled this country prior to having his collar felt because he said he did not stand a chance of a fair hearing when the police themselves were all Ibrox fans and determined to put blood on the walls.

Imran Ahmed was called paranoid too. Every word he said has been vindicated and the CPS has apologised for ever having issued a warrant for him in the first place. Who was paranoid there?

The SFA either conspired with Rangers during the EBT era or its own chairman with-held information from the rest of the organisation about the side contracts. He was never brought to book for it. We know that what went on up at Hampden during that time is the biggest scandal in the history of Scottish sport, dwarfing even what was happening at Ibrox itself.

We have proved bias against us at the SFA, in a court of law, over Farry and Cadete. In my opinion we should have taken the SFA to CAS over their handling of the EBT scandal and ousted a second President of the Association.

The head of referees was sacked over the sending of a sectarian email in the same month that we proved an official had lied to us, which sparked a strike for which we somehow got the blame. Which creates a second level of prejudice against our club above and beyond even that which football allegiance conveys.

Ibrox has long believed that the SNP Government and the SNP run Glasgow City Council is loaded down with people who hate their club.

When their new head of communications was announced yesterday the media dutifully reported that he was an ex-Labour MSP, vocally unionist and just for giggles that he was the guy they had hired to do PR in their “war” against the perceived biases of the political class. We have a media which seems to accept that as fact.

See, I’m not just some loony down in a basement banging out conspiracy theories. I believe some refs are biased because this is Scotland and we’re surrounded by this stuff and to expect any of us to swallow the notion that refs are immune to it is like asking someone to swallow a Ford Fiesta. Let’s not pretend to be stupid. Let’s not pretend this isn’t a real debate.

Last night I wrote a piece about the refereeing reform most of us want to see, the same policy they have in over a dozen other national associations in Europe.

One Celtic fan on Twitter says that he has written to 20 of them and asked for their views on this and 18 confirm that the policy of having refs declare their allegiances in effect there.

A low IQ joker on an Ibrox fan-site had a melt down over that this morning although I bet if you asked him for the reasons why he couldn’t tell you. His clownish suggestion that we wouldn’t believe refereeing declarations anyway shows up the level of his attempt to deflect. Refs who lied would have to take care not to get caught or their careers would be over.

But real attention would be paid to this stuff, and these people would be held to account.

These people aren’t even intelligent enough to know what they’re pissed off about except that our argument has coherence and an unassailable logic to it. The reform we are asking for is actually pretty modest and would finally bring us into compliance with the rest of football and I cannot understand why it hasn’t already been done.

What exactly are those on the other side of this debate afraid of? What is their objection to what it is, after all, a rule which is replicated in every corner of the game, and which UEFA and FIFA both treat with the utmost seriousness?

We’re right about this, about the need to bring this reform in, even if we’re wrong – which we aren’t – about some refs being biased and that influencing games.

Because even if that’s not happening right now, it has happened and it will happen again because in not passing a regulation like that, and in not allowing scrutiny of refs, we’ve allowed the very conditions in which biased officials would dearly love to operate, not to mention leaving the door opened for organised crime to gain a toehold in the game.

Refs who are biased are also not likely to resist entreaties to be bent as well, and it should be blatantly obvious that in not scrutinising decisions and in not punishing referees who rack up a series of these “controversies” that we’re offering up some very large hostages to fortune here.

So yeah, we’re on the right side of this and don’t let anyone say different.

In fact, when you look at the goon squad they are rolling out to push their pitiful case, which Ange trashed today – Stuart Dougal, by Christ – you can see how desperate they are.

There is bias in Scottish football and our solution might not eradicate it but by God we have something which is more than the cowards who pretend nothing’s wrong.

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14 comments

  • Bennybhoy57 says:

    SPFL should organise a poll of all the clubs in Scotland. Question..do you think referees should have to declare if they have an allegiance to a certain football team.
    Guarantee 99.9% would say yes, one club (SEVCO) who would have the most to lose would be a definite no.

  • Billy Morrison says:

    Time for change! Been watching Celtic from the 70s and how successful would Celtic be if it was non bias refs. Can’t take it any more. Club has been cheated on so many times. How can we resolve this matter.

  • John Copeland says:

    If we had an appeal service for VAR at the game itself ,that might help . I’ll explain ! A contentious decision in a match ,the referee takes the VAR ref’s advice and doesn’t consult the monitor … The manager of the club who feels wronged ,indicates he wants the decision appealed ,thus the match referee has to look at the monitor .. It could be something like 2 appeals each half in the beginning until it’s all finely tuned .Yes ,I know this will add on more time to the game ,but we are already there !

    • Nick66 says:

      Good point JC. I watch Rugby Union and the TMO(VAR in football) is miked up and every word is heard. However, your point re the Manager challenge is in situ in Rugby League alongside the TMO, is also available. It’s not the Manager though, it’s called the Captain’s Challenge. There’s only a limited number of challenges allowed, but the ability to do this is there. I only noticed this -as I don’t normally watch Rugby League – due to the recent RL World Cup. These things work, if only those that rail agin them would engage.

  • Jamie Craig says:

    Let’s be honest here, and I’m not trying to be funny, but there might be a shortage of referees that could do rangers games if they had to divulge their allegiance, I’m sure if there’s a cup final at Hampden between Celtic and rangers, most refs sit in the ranger’s end in the posh seats ?

    • watsamatabooboo says:

      Was thinking same, if say 15 of 20 refs have hun persuasions (why do they almost all come from Lanarkshire, Ayrshire & Glasgow Associations?!), and 2 are Tims we’ve got the same 3 refs doing every game both us and sevco play, that’s why it won’t happen!!

  • James Gallagher says:

    Jamie: Celtic v Sevco you mean!!

  • Frank Kelly says:

    Well written and reasoned discursive piece, James.
    Your list of ever increasing transgressions against our club is jaw dropping when put in print. The corruption and resistance to change is indefensible.
    You also reminded me of the possibility (which I have privately pondered) of SERIOUS organised crime taking a foothold in our game as a real prospect. There may be an argument that it has already arrived.
    A piece for the saving and re reading.
    Thank you.

  • Peterbrady says:

    That’s it in a nutshell there would be no officials for sevco games because every one is indocranated to the filth the original poison the new poison and when sevco die the next poison

  • Brian says:

    Only this evening on clyde1 wich I don’t normally listen to! Promise!!! Mr. Keevins again stuck up for Hugh Dallas as an all round good guy and a Motherwell supporter. My god how stupid do these people think we are.

  • John S says:

    Dubious refs and VARs (appointed by the SFA) are scamming the customer and opening the door to organised gambling.

    • Frankiebhoy says:

      Many years ago Celtic v huns League cup final I think Davie proven scores a goal linesman gives offside against Bobby Lennox standing out in the touchline huns win and that night said linesman in a bar in Stonehouse tells all his mates noway those Fenian bastards where winning as long as I’m here . Story told to me by his Brother a bricklayer on the same site as myself who didn’t know me too well so didn’t know what foot I kicked with hh

  • Denis McInally says:

    A number of years ago I was invited to Ayebroke for hospitality at a Celtic Rangers match. (The one where Boric waved the flag.) I decided that I could tolerate 90 minutes of bile to see Celtic. The invitation was from a well known firm of property management companies. The guy who invited me said that we had to wait on his boss to arrive before we had breakfast. (it was a 12 o’clock kick off). His boss eventually arrives and announces ” SORRY I AM LATE. I HAD TO FIGHT MY WAY THROUGH THOSE FENIAN B’STARDS”. The boss was no other than BOBBY TATE, the famous Rangers supporting referee. He didn’t realise that I was a TIM. From that day on I have been of the opinion that every referee in Scotland is a HUN.

  • watsamatabooboo says:

    It’s not so much that the media are scared to broach the subject, more that they continue to be part of the problem.

    While we’ve come a long way from the days of the mercurial Jimmy Johnstone earning only 23 caps for Scotland and Danny McGrain being switched to left back to accommodate Sandy Jardine, the same attitudes still pervade at the top of Scotland’s instiutions. Legal, Police, Media, those at the top all stil harbour the deep-rooted prejudices vocalised every other week by the mutant hordes.

    Scotland’s institutional racism is not yet a thing of the past and nowhere does this manifest more than at the SFA, where Celtic Football Club have always been, and are now moreso than ever, the massive fucking itch at which they scratch and scratch, but never gain any relief.

    They will oppose reform for as long as they possibly can as doing whatever they can to thwart us by whatever means is all they have left to cling to. We were almost as successful as the dead club despite the level of bias which they were able to display openly for most of last century. We are now supremely dominant over their zombie pet club, and it’s killing them!

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