Referee claims he was blacklisted from officiating Celtic derbies regardless of performance

By John McGinley

May 1, 2021

Former referee Charlie Richmond claims he was told he would never take charge of a Celtic vs Rangers match, regardless of performance in matches.

Richmond retired from the game way back in 2012 after dropping down from Scottish top-flight action.

He claims that his exclusion from the biggest games in the country was little to do with refereeing ability and more to do with not networking with the Hampden lot.

Speaking to Herald Sport this weekend (01/05 print edition, page 6), he said: “Reflecting on my career now, I was one of the so-called potential referees in the country to be told you’re not going to get involved in refereeing Scottish Cup finals or League Cup finals.

“To be told you’d never referee an Old Firm game – but that it was nothing to do with your refereeing ability – was a massive slap in the face. When I heard that from people I respected up until then, I knew the door was shut.”

Richmond says he could see himself being ostracised due to the politics of it all, claiming he was shut out because of a failure to ‘suck up to the right people’.

He went on to explain the writing was on the wall after a Hampden meeting in December 2010, telling Herald Sport: “The opening gambit was that it was nothing to do with the refereeing but, ‘You don’t seem to be acting in the refereeing movement’,

“I thought there were guys delighted to run my line week-in, week-out. So where were they getting that? It later seemed to become a bit of people talking behind your back. When the head of refereeing at the time and people I had respect for to turn round and say that, I could see the door being shut on me.”

It’s an interesting insight into the old boys’ network that many assume Scottish football refereeing to be.

Former Scottish referee Charlie Richmond / (Photo by KARIM JAAFAR/AFP via Getty Images)

Is it any wonder officiating in this country has been poor over the years when there are credible allegations they are shutting out referees based on off the pitch activities and politicking rather than match performance?

Richmond’s rant may come across as bitter and will probably be dismissed by current whistlers on those grounds. However, if things happened as described, he has every right to feel aggrieved.

In other news, Chris Sutton’s exciting Eddie Howe to Celtic claim.