Scottish Football Referees Seek Pay Raise From Scottish Professional Football League
Referees have "sought a pay rise from the Scottish Professional Football League and have indicated they could vote on strike action if their demands are not met," according to Mark Guidi of the HERALD SCOTLAND. Scotland's match officials feel "it is unfair that they are expected to take charge of SPFL Championship games involving Rangers and others such as the Edinburgh derby" for a fee of £195 ($326) and have asked for a "substantial rise to bring officiating such ties into line with Premiership games," for which they are paid £840 ($1,402). Talks between SPFL officials and Scottish Senior Football Referees' Association Chair James Bee have "reached an impasse, though they may reopen negotiations later this week." With funds "tight because there is no sponsor for the leagues, the SPFL feel it would be wrong to approve any pay increases." Instead, it has suggested to the SSRFA that the referees' body "takes responsibility for redistributing the annual pot" and categorize games which currently bring an £840 payment "should be reduced in order to facilitate an increase for fees for second tier matches attracting large crowds" (HERALD SCOTLAND, 8/13). The BBC's John Barnes reported former referee Stuart Dougal believes Scottish match officials "would be justified in threatening strike action, but does not think it will happen." Dougal: "Most people would accept a Rangers-Hearts, Rangers-Hibs, Hearts-Hibs game in the Championship is just like a Premiership match. So, absolutely, I think they should get a Premiership wage for doing Premiership matches that are under the banner of the Championship." Scottish referees went on strike in Nov. '10, but Dougal "does not see it happening again at the moment." Dougal: "I don't think it will happen, I hope it doesn't happen, but a lot of that is down to the authorities to make sure that they sit round with the referees and don't try and penny-pinch" (BBC, 8/13).
ALLAYING FEARS: The PA reported Bee has moved to "allay any fears of a second referees strike." He said, "The Scottish Senior Football Referees Association wishes to point out that it is currently engaged in positive discussions with the Scottish Professional Football League and the Scottish FA with a view to agreeing a new Service Level Agreement between the bodies which will include fees throughout the four senior divisions" (PA, 8/13).