Sunday, October 31, 2010

Officials lied to Celtic - Craven

Assistant referee Steven Craven

Tannadice penalty controversy

People within the Scottish Football Association are seeking legal advice following claims that officials lied to Celtic about a controversial decision.

Assistant referee Steven Craven says he had initially agreed to say he alerted referee Dougie McDonald to his mistake in giving a penalty against Dundee Utd.

Craven claims head of referees Hugh Dallas refused to accept McDonald's admission that it was his own decision.

But SFA sources question Craven's account, published in the Sunday Mail.

They contest Craven's account of the sequence of events that led to McDonald being warned after an SFA investigation.

However, Celtic are understood to have been further angered by the newspaper claims and are preparing to make their opinions on the matter known.

The controversy arose after McDonald blew for a penalty after goalkeeper Dusan Pernis challenged Celtic striker Gary Hooper during the match at Tannadice on 17 October.

McDonald then approached Craven, who has since resigned as a result of the controversy, before giving a drop ball inside the area.

Ref post-match comments unclear - Regan

It was claimed in the aftermath of the game that the referee had heard Craven shout "Dougie, Dougie" in his earpiece before consulting his assistant.

But it has since been admitted that McDonald had himself quickly realised his mistake and had it verified by Craven.

And an investigation headed by recently appointed SFA chief executive Stewart Regan on Friday reprimanded McDonald for not making that clear in his post-match report despite saying he was correct not to award a penalty.

Regan has promised changes to the reporting procedure and hopes to launch a "respect campaign" to reduce the pressure from clubs, managers and players on officials.

However, with Craven having gone public about his resignation and claims of being made a scapegoat, focus is now likely to shift to head of referee development Dallas's role in the affair.

Craven claims he had been urged to stick by McDonald's original explanation, given to Celtic manager Neil Lennon after the game, as it was more credible.

Meanwhile, it is believed that the SFA will ask Celtic to account for Lennon's own behaviour during the match.

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