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Hugh Dallas slams referee bullying claims

Scottish Football Association head of referees Hugh Dallas
Dallas issued a strong rebuttal of bullying allegations

Scottish Football Association head of referees Hugh Dallas has angrily refuted allegations of harassment and bullying made by Steven Craven.

The former assistant referee made the claim in a Sunday newspaper, following his recent resignation.

"I am dismayed and saddened that the reputation I have built up over 30 years could be besmirched by such unfounded allegations." said Dallas.

And SFA chief executive Stewart Regan offered Dallas "unequivocal support".

Craven quit after Celtic's recent 2-1 win at Tannadice, unhappy at the emphasis placed on his role in a rescinded penalty to the visitors.

Referee Dougie McDonald has since admitted colluding with Craven to mislead referee supervisor Jim McBurney about how the U-turn came about.

However, both men have offered differing accounts of how that decision was reached, each saying the other proposed the deception.

Craven gave his account to the Sunday Mail and also made allegations of 'victimisation, harassment and bullying' at the hands of Dallas and Referee Development Officer John Fleming.

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

Hugh Dallas

"Claims of bullying by John have been refuted by many of the 24 other assistant referees present (at a fitness test overseen by Dallas), including Martin Cryans, the chairman of the Scottish Senior Football Referees' Association," continued Dallas.

"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."

Craven, who had planned to resign before the end of the year, also claimed Dallas had tried to protect referee McDonald and let him "take the flak".

However, Dallas, who made no comment on McDonald's dishonesty, denies exerting any pressure on Craven to maintain the original version of events given at Tannadice on 24 October.

In a lengthy statement, Dallas added: "I am extremely angry and upset at the completely unsubstantiated allegations made by Steven Craven in a Sunday newspaper.

"I refute categorically any suggestion of impropriety on my part during the telephone call that I made to Steven Craven on Monday, 18 October.

"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 SFA 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."

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see also
Ref McDonald explains 'lie' role
01 Nov 10 |  Scottish Premier
Scottish ref 'cover-up' is denied
31 Oct 10 |  Scottish Premier
SFA chief calls for ref respect
30 Oct 10 |  Scottish Premier
Ref warned after Tannadice probe
29 Oct 10 |  Scottish Premier
Reid calls for calm in ref crisis
29 Oct 10 |  Hamilton
Celtic want Collum clarification
26 Oct 10 |  Celtic
Ex-ref calls for Scots peace deal
26 Oct 10 |  Scottish Premier

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