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Page last updated at 14:40 GMT, Friday, 26 November 2010

Israeli FA unaware of Scottish refs' strike reasons

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Israeli referees will be officiating matches in Scotland this weekend

The Israeli Football Association says its Scottish counterpart did not appraise it of the reasons behind the forthcoming referees' strike.

Yariv Teper, head of the Israeli referees' union, told BBC Scotland that officials may have reconsidered their decision had they known the full story.

"We would have discussed this issue among the professional community and reached a decision," said Teper.

"We need to know more about what are the reasons."

Scotland's top referees are striking in protest over what they view as unfair criticism from clubs regarding their performances.

We have not been told exactly what are the games, because they can't tell us, but we've heard it will be on Saturday or Sunday

Yariv Teper, head of the Israeli referees' union

The Israeli FA is sending two teams of top referees and officials, including Mair Levi, 42, one of the country's highest-ranking referees and international ref Eli Hakmon as cover.

However, Teper insists he was not given any details on the referees' grievances and no information was offered on which matches the Israeli officials would be taking charge of.

"I think we would have had a discussion and reached a decision - but, honestly, we didn't ask," said Teper.

"I cannot say that they didn't tell us, but they made an application for us to send them referees and, immediately, we gave them an answer.

"We have not been told exactly what are the games, because they can't tell us, but we've heard it will be on Saturday or Sunday."

The SFA has confirmed that all six Scottish Premier League matches will go ahead over the weekend, along with three Scottish Cup third-round replays and the ALBA Challenge Cup Final.

The Luxembourg Football Association has confirmed to the BBC that it is sending three officials - referee Alain Hamer and assistants Francois Mangen and Christian Holtgen, who earlier this week took charge of the Champions League match between Benfica and Hapoel Tel Aviv.

It also said it not given any reasons for the strike but admitted that it has followed the story on the internet.

Dutch referees followed those in Iceland and Norway in rejecting the SFA's approach to take charge of matches, with Irish, Welsh, Estonian and Swedish officials having indicated that they too would be unwilling to provide cover.

The Austrian FA refused to comment when asked if it had been approached regarding cover for the strike.

Regarding the Israeli referees who will arrive in Scotland on Friday night, Teper said they would offer a high professional standard.

"Mair Levi is one of the best referees in Israel," said Teper. "Every year, he's ranked among our first league referees.

"He has a lot of experience as an international referee. Eli Hakmon is also an international referee and very, very promising.

"We tried to send the best teams we had."



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