I’m not a fan of former referee Steve Conroy; I say publicly that Scottish football has nothing to learn from him. But I was wrong, because yesterday he said something so fundamental and simple and clearly correct that every newspaper columnist should try to start the debate. He said what this site and other Celtic sites have been saying for ages.
It is high time the SFA held referees accountable for these disastrous, often inexplicable decisions. Instead of doing so this week, the governing body rewarded the two clowns responsible for that ‘mistake’ last weekend by giving them the game at Ibrox against Aberdeen, a decision that stinks of heaven.
It’s closer to rewarding them than raking them over the embers. Conroy is not my favorite person but he is right this time; the Umpire Protection Society is hurting the game. These guys should be held accountable for their “mistakes”.
It’s just not good enough to keep attributing this stuff to “human error”. Even if that was the root cause, some of these guys make way too many mistakes. Players see themselves in headlines for mistakes. Managers are fired for theirs. Directors and referees; they are the only people left in the game who are absolutely irresponsible.
It’s a joke, and Conroy is at the heart of at least some of what’s wrong with our national game. I would say you could go further though. As the ever-brilliant Alan Morrison pointed out in his latest Celtic By Numbers article, both of these officials are compromised by links to the Ibrox club. That’s what Conroy failed to mention.
Only in Scotland – only in Scotland, unique of all the nations of Europe – would this be allowed. These connections would be disqualifying in any league other than this one.
Why not here? What’s wrong with accountability? What’s wrong with giving fans and clubs the comfort of knowing – not just hoping but knowing – that we are committed to a clean game?
Obviously some don’t want the rest of us to have that assurance, but why? What are they worried about? What’s the downside? What are these people afraid of? What exactly are they trying to hide?