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Home » Sport » Football

McDonald let down by system

Scottish Football Association chief executive Stewart Regan has expressed sympathy for Dougie McDonald, who has retired as a category one referee.

McDonald has stepped down from the SFA's category one list in an attempt to move the spotlight away from his role in the crisis engulfing Scottish football.

Regan, who earlier this month rebuked McDonald for his "white lie" at Tannadice, told Sky Sports News: "I feel sorry for him. The system has let him down."

McDonald's decision to rescind a penalty he had awarded to Celtic last month, and subsequent admission that he had misled his supervisor and Celtic manager Neil Lennon over the circumstances, sparked the escalation of events leading to last weekend's referees' strike action.

Regan added: "He was clearly in the wrong, he admitted that and was punished. I feel many out there have decided his punishment wasn't serious enough and as a result of that he's been left with huge pressure on him.

"I feel sorry for him and there's a lesson in there for Scottish football.

"We need to put processes in place to protect these guys, give them the backing they need."

In an effort to avert last weekend's strike action, which saw four Clydesdale Bank Premier League completed using officials from Luxembourg, Israel and Malta - two others were postponed on Sunday due to adverse weather - the SFA offered referees a range of conciliatory measures, including a blanket ban on comments about match officials.

But the match officials insisted they would not back down as they ruled out any chance of a "quick fix".

Regan said: "We've made a series of promises about taking tougher action. The way decisions are made involves a series of committees. We need to be much quicker and consistent with the punishments and be seen to be taking the issue a lot more seriously and with urgency."


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