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SFL clubs press for referee strike compensation

Maltese referee Christian Lautier took charge of Hibs against St Johnstone
Imported referees took charge of SPL matches on Saturday

Clubs who had home fixtures postponed because of the weekend referees' strike are seeking compensation.

The 10 clubs expect the Scottish Football League to present their case to the Scottish Football Association.

The governing body was only able to find enough foreign referees for Scottish Premier League games.

And Stirling Albion director Paul Goodwin said: "The clubs in the league collectively have come together and said we are not happy with this."

Cowdenbeath chairman Donald Findlay warned last week ahead of the weekend fixtures that the loss of revenue from their local derby with Dunfermline would place substantial financial pressure on his club.

In other First Division games, Morton were also expecting a large crowd for the visit of Falkirk, as were Raith Rovers for their match against Dundee.

Stirling were due to host Partick Thistle and Goodwin said that his club would be looking for the difference between the likely revenue from a midweek compared to a weekend fixture.

There was a ballot for the Scottish League clubs, but not for the SPL clubs

Stirling Albion director Paul Goodwin

"We have a valid claim, we believe, for round about £10,000," he said, revealing that Albion have already spoken to the SFL's chief executive.

"We certainly were quite vocal about it and we circulated the rest of the clubs who had the home fixtures and I think to a man everyone's ready to chap on David Longmuir's door to say we want you to represent us by talking to the SFA to see where we are due some sort of compensation."

Scotland's category one referees took their action after feeling their integrity was being questioned following recent remarks from SPL clubs, with Celtic in the vanguard of the criticism.

"We have spoken to David Longmuir at length and sent him a letter outlining the issues that we had and, in particular, the loss of revenue that was nothing to do with ourselves," said Goodwin.

With a limited number of foreign referees at their disposal, the SFA gave preference to the six SPL games and second priority to three subsequently postponed Scottish Cup replays under its own jurisdiction ahead of those in the SFL.

Only one referee was available for their 10 fixtures and, following a ballot, he was assigned to the match at Morton's Cappielow Stadium.

However, when Polish officials withdrew at the eleventh hour in support of their Scottish colleagues, that match too was postponed.

"There was a ballot for the Scottish League clubs, but not for the SPL clubs," said Goodwin.

"We understand they've got bigger media commitments and everything like that.

"But, whether the compensation is coming down from the SFA or SFL or a mixture of the two, or the SPL, I know not, but I just know that we weren't at the races when it came to the point of the referees."

Goodwin and his allies may have to rely on what he describes as a "sense of fairness" to win compensation.

Longmuir has already admitted that, unlike the SPL, his league had no formal contract with the SFA to supply referees.

"I believe there is a contract of sorts," said Goodwin. "When I probed to try and find out, I was told that, for a hundred years, there has not been a contract and it has all been done pretty much on the shake of a hand and a nod of the head.

"Of course, if there is a contract and there is a breach of a contract in normal every day life, you have some kind of fiscal return in place for that.

"But there doesn't seem to be anything formal that we can see."

Matches off on Saturday, 27 November

Division One

Cowdenbeath v Dunfermline
Morton v Falkirk
Raith Rovers v Dundee
Stirling Albion v Partick Thistle

Division Two

Ayr United v East Fife
Dumbarton v Alloa Athletic

Division Three

Albion Rovers v Stranraer
Clyde v Queen's Park
Elgin City v Berwick Rangers
Montrose v East Stirlingshire

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see also
Scottish sport hit by icy weather
03 Dec 10 |  Scottish Premier
Ex-referees' chief criticises SFA
29 Nov 10 |  Scottish Premier
McDonald exit 'vindicates' Celtic
29 Nov 10 |  Scottish Premier
SFA chief glad of calls for talks
29 Nov 10 |  Scottish Premier
Weather wipes out Scottish card
29 Nov 10 |  Scottish League
Referee strike wipes out SFL card
26 Nov 10 |  Scottish League

Portsmouth Today Cold snap takes its toll - 10 hrs ago
Tayside and Fife Courier Dunfermline match falls foul of weather, with other SFL clubs set to follow - 12 hrs ago
The Independent SPL puts fans' safety first in postponing Saturday ties - 21 hrs ago
Sporting Life Click for weather story! - 23 hrs ago
Mail Online UK SPL matches this weekend are all called off - 27 hrs ago


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