Letter to Ian Maxwell, not expecting a response.

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Joe O'Rourke
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Letter to Ian Maxwell, not expecting a response.

Postby Joe O'Rourke » Mon Jan 21, 2019 11:53 am

I have written once again to Ian Maxwell, i have had no response to my last letter, so i'm not expecting one this time either, but we need to keep going at it until we get things changed.

Dear Mr Maxwell,
It didn’t take long after your summit at Perth for us to see it bearing fruits, about two days later Celtic Football Club were once again the beneficiary of another “Honest Mistake” Assistant Referee Ralph Gordon, although in perfect position manged to call for offside against Scott Sinclair when he was very clearly onside. No-one outside of the officials will ever know why he made that call, and that is clearly wrong.

You can call for the introduction of VAR, or for Referees to be full-time (would that include linesmen?) but the most basic ingredient has to be honesty and impartiality, and I‘m not inferring that Mr Gordon was not acting honestly. It’s not the first time this season we have suffered from so-called honest mistakes, this time it did not affect the outcome, but previously this season it has.

One of the previous instances was at Ibrox on December 29th, there were at least three incidents, and I believe four, where the officials made calls that needed further explanation, that was almost three weeks ago now and nobody knows why the decisions were made, I don’t know if even Brendan Rodgers was afforded an explanation, surely that is not right, that is probably the major reason why ordinary supporters come to their own conclusions, what else can they do?

I have heard and read all the comments about John Beaton, about what team he supports and what pub he likes a pint in, and apart from some photo’s I don’t know the definitive answer to either. But should it make a difference? The vast majority of referees come from the central belt in Scotland, they probably grew up favouring one team, but should that make a difference? Of course it shouldn’t.

It shouldn’t make a difference because they should leave any allegiances at the front door of the stadium they are officiating at. They should not need to worry about explaining incidents if they were called honestly and impartially, everyone can make mistakes in any job, the most important factor is admitting you made a mistake, why should anyone be afraid to do so?

There needs to be a root and branch overhaul of the disciplinary process in Scottish Football, there is far too much ambiguity involved. The most important stakeholders, the supporters, (who are rarely consulted) do not understand the procedure, I’m actually not sure the people implementing the procedures understand it fully either.

There also seems to be referees reaching Elite Status at a very young age, therefore having little experience of top level football. I understand that Andrew Dallas is following on from his father, and I believe there are others similar, but why do we not have young ex-players coming into refereeing? There must be lots of good players in their middle twenties with good knowledge of the game who aren’t going to make any fortune out of the game, can some of those guys not be persuaded to covert to refereeing? Surely their experience would be invaluable.

Honesty in Scottish Football should be across the board, every part of football should be based on “Honesty and Integrity” and that means the authorities as well. All the rules need to be applied equally and fairly to all the professional teams in Scotland. I accept that you are reasonably new to the job, and it takes time to settle in, that’s not a problem. But the natural follow on from Honesty and Integrity is Transparency and Accountability, which needs to be not only done, but seen to be done as well. Your job will be to lead Scottish Football for the benefit of all the teams in Scotland, and for that I wish you well.

Yours in Football,
Joe O’Rourke,
General Secretary,
Celtic Supporters Association.

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