Referee probe passed to SFA committee
The investigation into the Celtic penalty U-turn that led linesman Steven Craven to quit has been passed to the SFA's referee committee. Craven resigned from the professional game amid a backlash over his part in referee Dougie McDonald's decision to rescind a penalty award for Celtic during their 2-1 victory over Dundee United on October 17. SFA chief executive Stewart Regan has been looking into the incident in one of his first tasks since taking on the role. Regan said in a statement: "I can confirm I have concluded my investigation into the events during the recent match between Dundee United and Celtic. "During this investigation, I spoke to the match referee, Dougie McDonald, his assistant, Steven Craven, Hugh Dallas, the head of referee development, and Jim McBurney, the referee observer. "On concluding my own investigation, and adopting due process, the matter has now been referred to the referee committee for consideration at their next scheduled meeting, which will be held on Friday, October 29. "It would therefore not be appropriate to comment any further until the committee has met." Craven quit after he and his teenage sons were reportedly the subject of threatening remarks and verbal abuse. Craven was reportedly angry that the SFA did not make clear that he had not instigated the discussions with McDonald, before the referee withdrew his penalty award following United goalkeeper Dusan Pernis's challenge on Gary Hooper. Television pictures showed Pernis got the ball but Celtic wrote to the SFA seeking clarification over the decision, which manager Neil Lennon branded "unacceptable". The incident will now be discussed later this week by an eight-man committee chaired by Cove Rangers vice-president Alan McRae. McRae is assisted by vice-chairman David Dowling, a Brora Rangers official, while the rest of the committee consists of former top-flight referees Alan Freeland, Ian Fyfe, Jim McCluskey, Donald McVicar, Sandy Roy and Willie Young. The investigation initially began before a similar furore surrounding a penalty decision involving Celtic. Referee Willie Collum was the victim of threatening phone calls after handing Rangers a dubious penalty in their 3-1 Clydesdale Bank Premier League win at Celtic Park on Sunday. The developments have heightened concerns among the refereeing fraternity about the security issues triggered by their work. Lennon had appealed to Collum before the game to "get the big decisions right" and yesterday confirmed the club had again written to the SFA seeking an explanation for his penalty award. Last month Dallas had to dissuade referee Brian Winter from quitting following his failure to send off Steven Anderson despite showing the St Johnstone defender two yellow cards in a game against Dundee United.
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