Scottish football - a mad upside-down world
Referee John McKendrick gave a radio interview tonight in which he said he was PLEASED that foreign referees had come over to fill the gaps caused by their own strike !! That must be a world "first" - can you imagine Arthur Scargill or Bob Crowe making a similar comment when outside workers were recruited by employers to undermine their industrial action ? Quite unbelievable !!
And apparently, the SPL referees always intended the strike as being for a single weekend, so it`s "back to normal" (his own words) next week. Back to normal ?
Then Israeli referee Eli Hacmon (who officiated at Kilmarnock) was asked in a radio interview if he had enjoyed today`s experience in Scotland. The interviewer and listeners were astonished at his reply - " No, I am not happy". Nothing to do with the crowd or players at Rugby Park - but due to the fact that he was NOT told by the Israeli FA the real reasons why he was being sent to Scotland. If he had known the real reasons, he would NOT have come !!
So, was someone at the SFA being "economical with the truth" when they contacted the Israeli FA to ask them to bale them out of the embarrassing situation they`ve allowed to develop ? Quite possibly - you wouldn`t put it past them. Perhaps it was all the knock-backs they got from Wales, Ireland, Norway, Estonia etc that made them resort to sly tactics …
Even the SFA chairman George Peat sympathised with the striking referees (although he claimed not to know why they were striking), before making moves to undermine their action by asking foreign referees to fill in for them. Again, an astonishing contradiction. However since they saw fit to only censure Dougie McDonald (when he eventually admitted to dishonesty) when most fair-minded football fans would have considered that to be a sacking/resignation matter, then it seems the SFA have no concept of how ridiculous they look.
Meanwhile the boss of the SFA referees Hugh Dallas has been sacked/resigned after an internal investigation. Not for being implicated in the "Dougie-gate" affair - but for a sick email "joke" which he seems to have forwarded using SFA computer equipment - and some reports suggest that other SFA employees have also been disciplined.
Not just ANY sick email "joke", though. I`d like to think that if he`d forwarded sick email jokes about 9/11 or Gary Glitter, then he`d have been similarly dealt with under the SFA`s own internal Acceptable Computer Use policies. Sadly, I doubt it. The under-current of "pseudo-religion" sensitivity which exists in parts of Scottish society was enough to ensure the media wouldn`t let go of this one.
It is extremely sad (and bewildering to me) that despite the huge media coverage of the Dallas email fall-out, there has been a total reluctance to acknowledge the elephant in the room here - not the SFA, not football, not Celtic, not the Pope, not the Catholic Church, not the referees. But that, in addition to mentioning the Pope, the email sought to put a smile on the reader`s face by referring to child abuse.
Surely I can`t be the only person who finds this astonishing ? I've even read comments on media websites that some people actually found this email funny.
Yet, all the media groups seem to have focused on is that the reason it was offensive is because it mentioned the Pope !! Really ? Is this what Scottish society has come to ? Forget all sense of morality, folks - football and "pseudo-religion" is all that matters, apparently.
The situation surrounding the referee strike has been a big embarrasment for Scottish football … but the wider Dallas incident really shows our wee country up in a terrible and shameful way.