Maxwell plea as police probe threats to referee
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.”