Maxwell plea as po­lice probe threats to ref­eree

The Herald on Sunday - - SPORT - BY GRAEME McGARRY

IAN Maxwell, chief ex­ec­u­tive of the Scot­tish FA, has called for match of­fi­cials to be re­spected fol­low­ing rev­e­la­tions that ref­eree John Beaton had been forced to call in the po­lice to deal with threats be­ing made against him and his fam­ily.

Beaton has been at the cen­tre of con­tro­versy since the Old Firm clash on De­cem­ber 29, when he de­cided not to pun­ish Rangers striker Al­fredo More­los for any one of three in­ci­dents that an­gered op­po­nents Celtic dur­ing the game.

The SFA de­cided last week the for­ward would face no ret­ro­spec­tive ac­tion ei­ther as Beaton had seen all three in­ci­dents, lead­ing Celtic to re­lease a state­ment on Fri­day that called on the game’s gov­ern­ing body to al­low the of­fi­cial to pub­licly ex­plain his de­ci­sions.

It was then re­vealed that Beaton had called the po­lice over threat­en­ing mes­sages he had re­ceived.

Yes­ter­day the ref­eree was given a po­lice es­cort into Ayr United’s Som­er­set Park to of­fi­ci­ate at their Cham­pi­onship match against Falkirk.

Fol­low­ing the threats to Beaton, SFA chief Maxwell said in a state­ment: “It is with deep dis­may that, in the last 24 hours, we learned of one of our match of­fi­cials hav­ing had threats made against him and his fam­ily.

“We are in close con­tact with those in­volved and with Po­lice Scot­land to en­sure that they are safe and that those re­spon­si­ble are iden­ti­fied and held ac­count­able for their ac­tions.

“This is not the first time in re­cent weeks that our match of­fi­cials have been tar­geted. An­other ref­eree was al­legedly threat­ened and as­saulted at a lower- league game prior to Christ­mas. These in­ci­dents are iso­lated but are they are un­ac­cept­able and ex­tremely con­cern­ing when they oc­cur.”

And Maxwell is­sued a plea to pro­tect ref­er­ees. He said: “As we look for­ward to 2019, I call on ev­ery­one in­volved in Scot­tish foot­ball, from the pub­lic parks to the in­ter­na­tional stage, to re­spect our match of­fi­cials.”

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