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Page last updated at 20:12 GMT, Friday, 11 December 2009

Scottish referees' chief fires back at Jim Gannon

Jim Gannon and Hugh Dallas during a Co-operative Insurance Cup photocall
Gannon and Dallas are no longer smiling at one another

Scottish referees' chief Hugh Dallas has accused Motherwell boss Jim Gannon of launching a personal attack that undermines the confidence of officials.

Gannon has criticised the head of referee development over his response to letters the Fir Park boss has sent questioning some officials' quality.

"I am astonished by the personal attacks made, which have questioned my honesty and integrity," said Dallas.

The resulting publicity "has a negative effect on confidence of referees".

Gannon had last week accused Dallas of questioning his own integrity after the former referee said he had only received one letter from the Motherwell manager, who had claimed he had twice expressed his concern about referees in writing.

Dallas said in his latest statement that he felt compelled to "set the record straight on a chain of events that have created an air of tension and negativity".

The type of adverse media coverage generated by Mr Gannon - which is extremely uncommon in Scottish football - has a negative effect on the confidence of referees and is counter-productive

SFA head of referee development Hugh Dallas

"After days of intense media attention, caused by an unwelcome level of personal criticism and vilification, I feel I have no alternative but to respond in the hope that the focus can return to football," he said.

"For the record, I received Mr Gannon's first letter, dated 21 September, on the 24th and duly responded, seeking clarification on contents alleging 'bias' pertaining to one of our referees.

"I also invited Mr Gannon to contact me directly to discuss the matter further, enclosing my mobile number and direct line.

"The next I heard from Mr Gannon was his post-match media conference, after Motherwell's Clydesdale Bank Premier League match against Dundee United, in which he accused me of not responding to his original letter.

"Having explained my position after initial media enquiries, I then received a letter, dated 1 December, two days later from Mr Gannon stating he had written to me on two separate occasions, enclosing a copy of both letters.

"On the same day, 3 December, I also received the original copy of his second correspondence. It was then traced through the Royal Mail system and that tracking evidence was sent to Mr Gannon, along with the unopened letter."

Gannon has questioned the competence of "one or two" referees, who he has refused to name, and Dundee United counterpart Craig Levein and Hearts' Csaba Laszlo have also voiced their concerns.

The man who took charge of Motherwell this summer also says he is confused with the Scottish Football Association's system of accountability compared to the one in England and that he now feels gagged by rules on public comments.

However, Rangers manager Walter Smith on Friday defended the standard of Scottish referees and Dallas stressed that there was a rigorous process of evaluation.

"I am also insulted by Mr Gannon's latest dispatch to the media, in which he stated: 'The question for Hugh Dallas is, what is it that he gets paid for?'," said the referees' chief.

"We are addressing other requests of concern - and there are concerns - and we continue to work hard with our referees off the field. We have a robust observer system and, even this weekend, we will host a seminar aimed at improving the evaluation of referee performance.


"The type of adverse media coverage generated by Mr Gannon - which is extremely uncommon in Scottish football - has a negative effect on the confidence of referees and is counter-productive.

"His dissection of refereeing decisions involving Craig Thomson, one of Uefa's elite referees, is wholly unnecessary.

"I reiterate my wish that coaches and managers continue to cultivate the fruitful relationship I have enjoyed with them since joining the Scottish FA.

"I also hope that the established protocol for correspondence between clubs and the Scottish FA is observed.

"Finally, I find it staggering that Mr Gannon did not feel compelled to open two letters from the Scottish FA before conducting his latest media conference. I will be making no further comment."

Meanwhile, it is understood that Dallas will have a chance to address all 12 Scottish Premier League managers and answer their questions when they meet early next year.

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see also
Smith comes to referees' defence
11 Dec 09 |  Rangers
Gannon gag to avoid more ref rows
10 Dec 09 |  Motherwell
Hearts seek ref answers from SFA
10 Dec 09 |  Hearts
New refs 'no worse' - MacPherson
10 Dec 09 |  St Mirren
Gannon eyes league table for refs
03 Dec 09 |  Motherwell
Gannon hits back at chief of refs
02 Dec 09 |  Motherwell
Dallas defends response to Gannon
30 Nov 09 |  Scottish Premier

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