Celtic And The Other Clubs Must Back Walker And Sky Against Our Dummy Spitting Refs.

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So officials are said to be unhappy with Andy Walker and Sky over his comments – which I highlighted yesterday – about an un-named VAR official who told a referee they should seek an “easy way out” by calling an offside in a televised game.

Walker gave the game away when he pointed out that Sky has access to the VAR feed and the audio from the people working it. Now refs are threatening to cut Sky out.

That stinks to high heaven and sums up the arrogance of our officials. These people do not want scrutiny. The lack of scrutiny is exactly what creates the environment in which standards have tanked.

Walker now simply has to name names and tell us who the officials are and what game it happened in. I suspect that I know already.

There are only a handful of games that it can be, because not every match is on Sky and VAR is only used in limited circumstances, so when you look through the matches and the incidents in them you can use a process of elimination to get to an answer.

I think it might be the Motherwell game against the Ibrox club, and the incident in question the one where there was a VAR debate over Cantwell’s goal.

And if I’m right about the match, and the incident, the VAR official’s advice was not taken.

That does not make it any less important to get to the bottom of this.

I do not want decisions made like that. I don’t want refs and VAR operators looking for “easy ways out.” It is a corruption of the game no matter who the decisions ultimately fall in favour of.

The SFA is stamping its feet. The clubs have to support Sky and Walker. In fact, the clubs should be loudly demanding answers themselves, and not allowing the governing body to make themselves out to be victims here.

As far as I’m concerned refs should be miked up. VAR footage and the process by which decisions are made should be shared with the fans wherever possible.

Why is the SFA so terrified of proper oversight? What would we find out that we don’t already know? That our officials are sub-par? Hell that’s no secret. But maybe they really do have something to hide.

They have briefed their buddies in the media that they are furious at what they see as a “breach of trust.” It’s a joke. Trust in these guys is at rock bottom. Why should there be any for an organisation which refuses to allow any criticism of these people? Trust comes from mutual respect, and they have been pissing over the concerns of clubs and fans for years.

Walker has also been accused of “misinterpreting” the remarks. Well there’s an easy way to find out if he has or not; tell us what the game was, tell us what the incident was and explain the context of those comments. Otherwise, that’s no defence whatsoever and nobody should accept it for two seconds as though it is.

I knew the second I read those comments that this was an enormous story which was not going away.

Walker might be too stupid to realise the can of worms he was opening here, but I suspect not. I think he’s smart enough to have realised what the likely impact of those comments would be and I think he wants the debate. If so he has done a great service to the game here, and we should be eternally grateful to him if it sparks a wide ranging one.

But that will only happen if others rise to the moment, and I sincerely hope that Celtic and other clubs do exactly that.

He says he “has a concern.” As an ex-player and someone whose job it is to inform these discussions he did the right thing in sharing it with us … and the SFA has reacted in petulant, self-protection mode.

It will not wash. It must not.

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  • Johnny Green says:

    It looks like Walker has stirred up a hornets nest now and he will already be regretting his revelation. That’s as far as it will progress now as Andy shrinks away from upsetting his paymasters.

  • Cyril Donohoe says:

    Police should be on the job ,potential corruption here, but I would not hold my breath.

  • Jimmy R says:

    It is time to end the secrecy surrounding refereeing decisions in Scotland. VAR provides an ideal way to change things. Make the dialogue (both sides) between the ref and the VAR team available to the broadcaster AND the viewers. That way we could all hear them talk through the process and arrive at the correct decisions according to the laws of the game.

    If refs talk through the process with each other and relate the incident to the laws of the game, they should get almost every single decision right. If we can all hear, then we get a window of understanding, not only on the laws of the game but also, on the refereeing team’s thought processes. This helps clarify decisions and takes away a significant number of conspiracy theories. While the current Omerta persists, then it simply adds fuel to the conspiracy theory fires.

    Currently, the refs operate as a secret society and yet they rail against being labelled as Freemasons. Opening up and providing access to the decision making processes would go a long way to removing that accusation. A reluctance to open up suggests that they have something to hide.

    Football has made it obvious for years that they do not think they have anything to learn from other sports, particularly rugby but the rugby TMO system, while not perfect, is open and transparent. It has educated fans on the laws of the game. Fans get to see and understand how and why decisions are reached. The final decision always rests with the match referee and is almost always correct. It would be a massive step in the right direction for football.

  • Martin says:

    It would be great to have refs conversations with VAR broadcast a la rugby (though I’d only have it for VAR discussions, as some of the things said to players during a game which can really help manage things would definitely be taken out of context). Unfortunately this is specifically forbidden by IFAB and the SFA are not in a position to allow it, even if they wanted to. Why football has such a problem with transparency is anyone’s guess. They’re crap at concussion protocols too, but that’s another matter. As a ref, I can only see good things coming of fans hearing VAR discussions:

    1. Decisions make sense because they’re given context.
    2. People get educated about the laws of the game and how they’re applied.
    3. It humanises referees
    4. It keeps people like Kris Boyd out of debates about things he doesn’t understand.

    The downsides…
    1. Anxiety that you look at the video and aren’t 100% sure (there is subjectivity to some rules) and seem weak. That’s understandable but I actually think most fans would accept that (see 3 above) as the process of watching VAR discussions a lot will alert fans to their own ignorance over the laws.

    I’m all for it. I’m against constant feed of ref talk though. I say things to players which someone might misinterpret as bias (“that was some goal you scored earlier” or “in another game you’d have been booked for that”) but are actually just ways of managing player behaviour and keeping them calm/stopping them crippling an opponent. For reference: I ref in a league in another country and don’t even know half the teams as I only really care about Celtic. I still say these types of thing because it helps keep on top of the players, but someone listening in might see favouritism where there isn’t any. In our league where referees are natives and we already assume bias…that’s a disaster.

  • Stevie Bhoy says:

    I honestly can’t believe you are giving this story coverage.
    Andy Walker just wants to be the story. The man is a joke.
    Even if the story turns out to be true he lacks any credibility whatsoever to be fully believed.
    Walker is THE definition of the media soup taker and anything that comes out his mouth should be dismissed.
    You constantly berate him, Nicholas and the rest for their nonsense do not give these guys any credibility whatsoever
    Absolutely joke figures of Scottish football

  • Eldraco says:

    Easy to put to bed once and for all. The comments if uttered will have been recorded and of course kept as a sound file ,all part of the VAR service folks.

    Just name the game, the incident and hey presto we have the answer.

    Will the SFA do it ? Will they fuck and right there folks tells you that Mr Walker is bang on the money and that corruption of that particular game took place. Now, about those other games…

  • Johnno says:

    For as long as I can remember the cheating officials have had a free reign in destroying the whole creditabity of Scottish football.
    No real surprise when the scum have been allowed to operate within it also with the lies and cheating within that shithole.
    Where the real concerns remains is that there is there is no end in sight for the problems, in fact the opposite with the whole problems growing.
    It is the responsibility of the SFA to protect the image of Scottish football and to ensure a clean game is in place.
    Celtic have been calling for the likes for years, but still remain light years away from it ever been achieved still.
    Disband the SFA in its current format along with the whole official process and to start again properly in the right manner seems like the only solution available to try and restore some form of creditabity within such a damaged product that Scottish football remains.
    As for the cheating officals currently, only there total incompetence and bias eyes where guidelines and common sense in decision making can’t be bothered to be used and continue to make cheating pricks out of themselves and deserve all the abuse aimed towards them currently and without any form of sympathy either.

  • Michael McCann says:

    More evidence for legal action against these people. These people who have cheated Celtic for years. Something has to to be done to get rid of the scandal out of Scottish football.

  • John S says:

    So the SFA are ‘up in arms’ over a commentator ‘spilling the beans’ ? Shouldn’t they be taking his concerns seriously ? This is a top-down corruption, make no mistake about that.

  • SSMPM says:

    A bit more transparency is required from Walker and sly tv, if indeed they do back him. The SFA deny anything untoward and call Walker’s interpretation of the comments as a ‘misrepresentation’ so open it all up and let’s hear who was involved, the teams involved, what incident it involved, what it is that was said and the context of the VAR discussion. Only then will we be able to determine if it actually has legs. If so then Celtic should support it. If not, not. It’s in the hands of Walker and sly tv atm, not Celtic’s, not yet.
    We all believe there’s been corruption for years but it will never change if you don’t support investigations into it if there’s evidence to justify it or by sitting on your hands unless that is you want it to continue for your own ends.

  • Stesano says:

    Spot on mhate Paul Larkin exposes the Hun ” kulture” big time in Brigadoon Scotland. Regardless let’s hammer this posion on Saturday on route to another Treble!! I feel more Celticbrations!! On the way

  • Scud Missile says:

    I’m quite surprised the betting industry haven’t looked into this as well as a lot if money is lost and won on games going by decisions, offside not offside handball penalties given not given on the the say so of the VAR officials.

    It is a can of worns that Walker has opened up here now we need someone to run with it,though it won’t be anybody in the media in Scotland that will touch it, I would leave that to the PONCE journalist across the water with him having the press pass to demand answers,possibly even get him to chase up the European body of football to investigate this.

  • Tenaka Khan says:

    When someone says that their words have been “misinterpreted” or “taken out of context” they are in fact confirming that they did indeed use those words.

  • Benjamin says:

    100% bang on James.

    I don’t think the Motherwell-Rangers game fits for a couple reasons, but that doesn’t detract from the overall point – Walker must be backed, but only if he comes forward and names names.

    There’s a couple reasons I don’t think he’s referring to the Cantwell goal. First, while that game was televised, that game appears to be one of the few that Andy Walker didn’t work. His voice isn’t on any of the highlight packages for that game. Sounds like Ally McCoist took his place for that game.

    The other reason is that in his original comments, the VAR official was pleading with the referee to ‘take the easy way out’ – implying that the ultimate decision lies with the referee, and that would have necessitated the referee to look at the monitor. The Cantwell goal was ruled onside without the referee looking at the monitor – like 99% of offside review decisions are. That decision was in the hands of the VAR official and there would have been no need for him to instruct the referee to ‘take the easy way’.

  • Ryan Ellis says:

    Sky have already shat it according to the daily ranger. Grovelling apologies are the order of f the day it seems. This is the DR though so, pinch of salt…

  • Magua says:

    There’s also a trilogy of Paul Larkin videos available on utube… including ‘Anyone But Celtic’. A damning of the SFA and the LRA.

    Hail Hail.

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