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SFA announce replacement for Hugh Dallas

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Steven Craven Celtic news

The SFA have decided on an internal appointment by promoting John Fleming to replace disgraced Hugh Dallas as the Head of Referee Development.

Fleming was assistant to Dallas and has been in the job in a caretaker capacity ever since the bigot from Bonkle was sacked for sending offensive email’s at the time of the Papal visit to Scotland in September.

After being appointed to Category One status in 1994 Fleming performed as a FIFA assistant referee from 1994 to 1997. Flening was never put in charge of a Celtic-Rangers matches but has been part of the SFA refereeing network for almost 30 years.

He said: “I am immensely proud and grateful to have been given this opportunity. There are a number of exciting initiatives on the horizon both for the Scottish FA and the Referee Development Department and it is my intention to help facilitate positive changes to benefit the referee fraternity and the game in general.”

Stewart Regan, Scottish FA Chief Executive: “John brings a wealth of experience in refereeing and in the development and education sides of the game.

“He also has a wide experience of working in business. His role will be pivotal to the new Scottish FA strategic plan and his impact since taking the role in an acting capacity since November has been substantial.

“I have received a number of positive comments from the refereeing fraternity and also from his colleagues within the Scottish FA and I am convinced he will be an asset to the organisation.”

Receiving positive comments from the refereeing fraternity that harboured Dougie McDonald until recently is hardly a ringing endorsement for a new era of honesty in refereeing.

Fleming faces a huge task restoring confidence and morale in referees after the disastrous Dallas regime which saw Scottish referees drift off the UEFA radar as standards plummeted throughout the country.

Since Dallas was forced out of office there has been a marked improvement in the performances of most referees although Willie Collum is still getting some SPL appointments.

One of Fleming’s first major decisions will be to appoint the officials for the Celtic-Rangers Co-Operative Cup Final on March 20.

After a decade of being overlooked for the prime fixture in the Scottish calendar Iain Brines could be the surprise appointment for that match after his relatively incident free performance when Celtic beat Rangers 3-0 last month.

Creating a pool of referees with experience of handling the Glasgow derby will be one of Fleming’s major challenges as he attempts to restore credibility in referees.

Allowing a level of communication from refs would also be desirable and help to negate the tiresome whinging from the sidelines of Kenny Clark and Stuart Dougal.

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