The Scottish FA are saddened to hear about the death of former Category 1 and FIFA referee David Syme.

David, who was aged 76, was admitted to the Scottish FA list of referees in 1968, reaching Category 1 in 1972 where he remained until his retirement in 1994.

A total of 26 years on the senior list of referees followed, during which he refereed two Scottish Cup Finals and two Scottish League Cup Finals.

David was a FIFA referee for 14 seasons from 1977 to 1991, receiving over 50 appointments including the Under-19 World Youth Championship Final in 1985 between Brazil and Spain.

Head of Referee Operations Crawford Allan said: “I remember watching David refereeing in the 1980’s and I’ll never forget when our paths crossed on a few occasions when I was a young, newly qualified referee. At that time David was a senior Category 1 referee and a huge inspiration for so many of us who had aspirations to become top-level officials.

“David helped lead some of the Scottish FA’s referee training classes at our summer conferences in the early 1990’s, a time when David was one of the most experienced referees in Europe and had the respect of so many.

“His record is testament to his standing as a referee throughout the 1970’s and 1980’s, when he was one of Europe’s top officials.

“His service to the Scottish game has been immense and I know I speak on behalf of the Scottish FA and the referee community in saying that David will be truly missed and fondly remembered.”

David Syme – summary of key matches


2 Scottish Cup Finals

1982-83: Aberdeen v. Rangers

1990-91: Motherwell v. Dundee United

2 Scottish League Cup Finals

1977-78: Rangers v. Celtic

1986-87: Rangers v. Celtic


Of the 50+ international appointments, the highlights included:

1985 FIFA Under-19 World Youth Championship Final Tournament and refereed the Final – Brazil v Spain.

1978 UEFA Under-19 Youth Team Finals

Refereed 5 FIFA World Cup Qualifying matches.

1985 UEFA’s Under-21 Championship, Semi-Final 2nd Leg match Hungary v Spain

1990 UEFA’s Under-21 Championship, Quarter Final tie Italy v Spain


Notable club international appointments:

1981-82 European Cup Semi-Final 2nd Leg: FC Bayern Munchen v CSKA Sofia

1988-89 UEFA Cup Semi-Final 2nd Leg: FC Bayern Munchen v Napoli

1990-91 European Cup Winners’ Cup  Quarter-Final 1st Leg:  FC Dynamo Kyiv v FC Barcelona