The Scottish FA is pleased to announce the appointment of Crawford Allan as the new Head of Referee Operations.

Crawford, who enjoyed a near 30-year career as a match official – including a decade in the top flight - was selected after a rigorous recruitment process involving a high calibre of candidates with experience from across the UK and beyond.

Crawford has also amassed more than 35 years of experience in change and risk management in the banking sector and was Chair of the Scottish Senior Football Referees Association, the representative body for match officials.

The 52-year-old from Edinburgh, who began his referee career in 1991, became a Category One official in 2002 and retained that status until retirement two years ago, ending his career with a Scottish Premiership tie between Hamilton Academical and Dundee.

His daughter, Vikki, is also carving out a successful career in the game as a FIFA assistant referee and match official, and as a Scottish FA Youth Ambassador for Change.

He takes up his new post with immediate effect and will undertake a handover period with Thomas Murphy, who was appointed as interim Head of Referee Operations after the tragic death of John Fleming last October.

Crawford Allan: “I am privileged to have been involved in refereeing for almost 30 years and it is an honour to be asked to become Head of Referee Operations. l would like to pay tribute to my predecessor, John Fleming: a man for whom I had the greatest respect and whose loss continues to be felt by everyone involved in refereeing. I will give my utmost to build on the legacy he has left behind with honour.

“Having been involved as a referee, referee observer and referee coach I have a firm understanding of the challenges and opportunities for match officials at all levels of the game.

“Whether it is supporting the terrific work already undertaken to recruit future generations of referees, retaining and developing our elite referees, or working with all relevant bodies to find a solution to the current VAR debate, I will do all in my power to work collaboratively for the betterment of Scottish refereeing and by extension, Scottish football. I look forward to getting started.”

Ian Maxwell, Scottish FA Chief Executive: “Crawford’s breadth of knowledge and experience in refereeing and in business made him the ideal candidate for a hugely important and complex role as Head of Referee Operations.

“He was a match official respected among his peers and across the game: indeed, he was selected by referees to chair the SSFRA and represent their interests.

“Above that, with over 30 years in risk and change management he has the professional experience to oversee and evolve the refereeing infrastructure for which the Scottish FA is responsible, in recruitment of match officials, retention of existing referees and, of course, the development of future Category One officials.

“He ticked the boxes we, as an organisation, had identified and believe he will have a big impact in the role, to the association, to match officials and to the game.

“At this juncture, I would like to give my immense thanks to Thomas Murphy, who has undertaken the responsibilities of leading referee operations dutifully since the sad passing of our friend and colleague, John Fleming.

“Thomas’s efforts, along with those of the entire referee operations department, throughout a hugely challenging period are greatly valued and appreciated by the board.”