Stewart Regan, Scottish FA Chief Executive:

“I have every sympathy for the refereeing fraternity at this time and completely understand why incessant scrutiny, criticism and questioning of their integrity has brought them to the brink of a withdrawal of labour. I cannot, however, condone what will amount to strike action and believe we must now engage in positive dialogue to avert the possibility that we will have no football this weekend.

“This scenario is not helpful to the image or reputation of the game. Fulfilling the weekend fixture calendar is our priority and we have an obligation to the leagues, supporters, clubs, sponsors and media partners to do our utmost to ensure all senior games are refereed.

“While we remain hopeful that the situation can be resolved to everyone’s satisfaction, we have no option but to draw up contingency plans, which will involve sourcing match officials in other countries.

“I am in discussions with the Scottish Senior Football Referees’ Association and share their view that recent public comments have not been helpful. I have been astonished by the unhealthy level of interest in elements of football in this country that ought to be peripheral.

“I have made a commitment to reviewing certain aspects of the Scottish FA’s internal operations and have been trying to finalise initiatives I believe can help improve the efficiency, transparency and accountability of the governing body. I need space and support to finalise these proposals and have already received Board approval in this regard.

“The raft of ongoing issues played out in the media will only delay this process and I believe there is a responsibility on all of us to try to move forward and create a more positive climate. In the meantime, I reiterate my support to the referees in this country, who provide a fantastic service in very difficult - and now seemingly impossible - circumstances.”