Hearts call for increased accountability for referees
Heart of Midlothian Football Club (Hearts) today called for more accountability for referees.
Board director Sergejus Fedotovas said: "I would not like to comment on any specific situation in the game in Scotland, but I would like to suggest that the refereeing standards need to go up significantly.
"If there is poor performance on the park by players it does not mean that the referee needs to match that level.
"Referees need to come out after the game and comment and explain their decisions. Refereeing is a big part of the game and people want to see high standards, hear the reasons behind decisions and gain clarification. Human error is part of the game, but it should be in minimal proportion.
"There is no place for a high proportion of human error meaning low standards - it can easily be a cover for bias and match fixing.
"If the Scottish FA is interested in showing there is no bias and minimizing the risk of match fixing the organisation needs to continue working to improve refereeing standards, by implementing the best practices available in the world and being innovative to insure that the Scottish game is not a place for reputation damaging situations.
"And there should be no double standards - all clubs need to be treated equally, not just those that dominate the game. I do not remember any other situation where referees have been so strictly cautioned when it involved any other club outside the Old Firm.
"In an era where players, managers and clubs are suspended or fined heavily for their actions on the pitch, it will leave a bitter taste in the mouths of every honest employee and supporter of football clubs around the country that match officials could act as deceptively as has been reported.
"It is time that the Scottish FA implements a proper system of accountability otherwise the integrity of our game will be further diluted by future incidents. How long might it be before attempts by a referee to verbally engineer a situation to suit his own purposes spills into a referee actively engineering situations through actions rather than words? Only a fool would say 'That could never happen'.
"However it is also crucial that our referees are helped in every way possible. In addition to the actual support that a proper system of accountability would provide for them, they should be encouraged to be transparent in their actions.
"When players and managers are interviewed in the minutes after a game, referees should also be given the opportunity to explain decisions to supporters.
"We would also urge the Scottish FA to continue its lobbying in world football for the implementation of video technology. We appreciate this is a wider issue but it has to be adopted in time otherwise the spotlight will remain on the officials as much as the players and managers.
"Until then, honesty amongst our match officials remains paramount to the game. Those officials that fail that basic character trait should realise that the football pitches of Scotland are no place for them. High standards and not double standards - this is what we need to raise the game to a higher level."