Former top-flight referee Steve Conroy has stated that no discussions take place about who referees support.
Conroy was a referee between 1993 and 2012. He only became a registered SFA referee back in 1998, however.
Refereeing has been a hot topic over the last weekend. On the same set of fixtures in which Celtic were denied three clear penalties, Rangers were given four. That’s despite the fact only one of them should’ve been given.
All sorts of wild accusations have been thrown around on social media about biased and poor refereeing. Many, however, feel it would be of great benefit for referees to come out and confirm their past allegiances.
But Conroy, who took part in an interview with the BBC, confirmed that discussions about who referees supported never took place when he was refereeing.
“I certainly never minded telling people who I support. It’s out there so nobody can say anything afterwards.
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“Certainly I was openly a Celtic supporter. I can’t think of any (other Celtic supporting referees).
“There was never any discussion on who you support and who you don’t. Why open yourself up to other possible criticisms – corruption, conspiracy theories – just by saying what team you support.”
A pointless rule to implement
Conroy believes this would be a poor rule to implement, and it would. But not for the reasons the former referee outlined.
The fact is that opening up on allegiances is too easy. Referees could easily lie about who they supported if they had a strong desire to referee the club they supported.
Also, even if they are telling the truth, supporters wouldn’t believe it. It would only take a couple of bad decisions for football fans to start moaning and questioning whether a certain ref was being sincere in who he followed.
There’s not a lot the SFA can do to make it a more thorough process either. They can’t dig into a person’s private life and see who they went to see in the past. They would simply have to take the referee’s word for it.
We all know it would solve absolutely nothing, so why even bother?