Changing of the guard as Rangers’ favourite ref Crawford Allan quits

Changing of the guard as Rangers’ favourite ref Crawford Allan quits
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - DECEMBER 30: Rangers manager Philippe Clement speaks with referee Nick Walsh after the Cinch Scottish Premiership match between Celtic FC and Rangers FC at Celtic Park Stadium on December 30, 2023 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

So what is the impact of Scottish referees’ chief Crawford Allan quitting, especially on Rangers? A lot of talk about this is in the media, but it appears to be a slight admission the man has failed heavily in his remit, especially given the rather damning SFA statement about his departure:

“In many ways, overseeing the introduction of VAR has been a thankless task. Yet it has been essential for Scottish football to remain at the forefront of on-field technology and in-step with the leading domestic competitions across Europe, as well as ensuring our match officials and VAR operators can continue to operate at FIFA and UEFA level. Crawford has been integral to that process – from feasibility, to training, to roll-out – for much of his tenure and we are grateful that he will remain in place and provide continuity until the end of the season. Whilst there is a recognition that, globally, the VAR processes need to improve, this is a challenge for all key stakeholders within Scottish football to work through in the context of our own domestic competition. This includes all key external stakeholders having a better understanding of the Laws of the Game, the lines of intervention for VAR, and the adopted guidance within Scottish football, especially in subjective areas such as the handball law.”

Ignore the symbolic platitudes and feint praise of Allan, the bits to note are that ‘VAR processes need to improve’ and the implication that it’s actually fans and external forces to blame for Scotland’s troubles with VAR, such as Rangers’ outrage over Willie Collum at Parkhead.

SFA appear to want to defend their own while also admitting their own have failed to do this properly, but then passively-aggressively hand the responsibility for failing over to those dumb schmucks like you and I and evidently Philippe Clement who clearly didn’t understand things properly.

Ibrox Noise has always been in favour of VAR, but we also protest heavily the bad use of it which is squarely on the referees and has negatively impacted Rangers several times. The training and competence levels of Scottish referees is well below professional level, and that’s understandable given they’re semi-pro/part time.

This country needs professional referees who do this for an outright living and are giving full proper training and a higher chance of getting things right.

They went on:

“We must work together to alleviate the unsustainable pressure on match officials and VAR operators, to remove the convenient blame culture attached to subjective or unpopular decisions, and to ensure more focus is placed on the entertainers rather than the on-field facilitators. We will continue conversations and improvements with all stakeholders with this as a non-negotiable and unifying premise as we seek to improve the experience for all.”

Yes and no. We condemn entirely anyone being abused – happens all too often, and the refs are under colossal pressure especially when Rangers and Celtic are involved.

But equally getting things incompetently wrong doesn’t help matters and only succeeds in fuelling the fire.

Will Allan’s exit help?

We can only see in time if his departure sees a fresher more dynamic approach to refereeing rather than what it currently is.

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