Statement from Hugh Dallas, the Scottish FA’s head of referee development, and Stewart Regan, Scottish FA chief executive.

Hugh Dallas:

“I am extremely angry and upset at the completely unsubstantiated allegations made by Steven Craven in a Sunday newspaper at the weekend. I refute categorically any suggestion of impropriety on my part during the telephone call that I made to Steven Craven on Monday, October 18, with a view to clarifying the sequence of events surrounding the overturning of a penalty decision by the referee, Dougie McDonald, in the Dundee United versus Celtic match the previous day. That clarification was necessary so that I could explain the decision publicly.

“I wish to make it clear that at no time during that conversation did I suggest to Steven that he called Dougie over to him. I asked Craven to talk me through the incident, which he did. I then asked him if he had shouted “Dougie, Dougie” at the time. He said “No”. I replied, for clarification, “So you didn’t shout “Dougie, Dougie?” and he repeated the answer “No”. I was left in no doubt that he had not initiated the dialogue with the referee and at no time in any subsequent statement that I made did I suggest the contrary.

“This telephone call was made from my office and another Scottish FA employee was present in the room throughout its duration.

“Unfortunately, these allegations have given rise to the suggestion that I was involved in some sort of ‘cover-up’: nothing could be further from the truth. I was adamant from the time that Dougie first contacted me that an accurate version of events be established. Dougie and the other assistant at the game, Charlie Smith, have since corroborated the correct chronology of events on the field and in the dressing room, which has cast serious doubt over the legitimacy of Craven’s own claims.

“I communicated that version of events to the match observer but he felt his report should contain what was actually said to him in the dressing room. In view of the whole circumstances, I decided that I would refer the matter to the chief executive, who in turn forwarded the findings of his completed report to the SFA Referee Committee for consideration. 

“I also refute utterly Craven’s allegations of ‘victimisation, harassment and bullying’ at the hands of myself and my colleague, John Fleming. Claims of bullying by John have been refuted by many of the 24 other assistant referees present at the fitness test, including Martin Cryans, the chairman of the Scottish Senior Football Referees’ Association.

“The conversation I had with Craven, after a seminar at Tulliallan, was similar to conversations I have had with many referees and assistant referees in Scotland over the past few years, in an effort to improve standards. Dialogue is a huge part of the ongoing development of referees and assistant referees.
“I am dismayed and saddened that the reputation I have built up over 30 years in refereeing could be besmirched by such unfounded allegations. I have, however, been overwhelmed by the messages of support received from friends, colleagues and well-wishers across the country, as well as the support I have received from the referee fraternity.”

Stewart Regan:

“The Scottish FA is unequivocal in its support of Hugh Dallas, the Head of Referee development, and his colleague, John Fleming, in light of recent allegations made against both by Steven Craven. In the past week, I have spoken extensively to Hugh as part of my investigation into the events at the recent match between Dundee United and Celtic and have found him to be helpful and honest throughout this process.

“While we will work together to remedy the flaws in the administrative process that emerged as a result of the investigation, at no time was Hugh’s integrity ever called into question. Hugh has addressed the personal accusations himself in the statement but I wish to make plain that I am committed to supporting Hugh and the tremendous work he does for the Scottish FA, the refereeing fraternity and Scottish football in general.

“In the coming weeks I will be contacting all the constituent members of the game in Scotland to help implement our campaign to Respect the Ref, Respect the Game. Hugh and his team will be pivotal to this process.”