Polish referees pull out of Scottish games

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The Independent Football

Polish referees have withdrawn their services from Scottish football matches this weekend, the Polish football association has announced in a statement released to STV.

The Polish Football Federation confirmed yesterday they were planning on sending match officials, with Israel also confirmed and countries such as Portugal and Malta also reportedly co-operating with the Scottish Football Association.

However, as top-level referees in Scotland refused to budge on their plans to strike on Saturday and Sunday, the Poles now claim to have other commitments.

In a statement on STV's website, www.stv.tv, a spokesperson for the Polish FA confirmed: "We will not be sending our referees to Scotland tomorrow because they are needed for our domestic games.

"We did confirm to the SFA yesterday that we would be sending a team of 12 officials but that is no longer the case. Our domestic games take place today [Friday], tomorrow [Saturday] and Sunday."

Meanwhile, Stirling Albion have demanded an explanation as to why they were omitted from the ballot for the one Scottish Football League match that will have a referee this weekend.

Scotland's first senior fan owned football club also want clarification on the process for allocating match officials for the 20 games that are going ahead.

All Clydesdale Bank Premier League games have been allocated match officials with one SFL match receiving the services of a referee and assistant referees.

The Alba Cup Final and three Scottish Cup replays have also been allocated match officials.

Stirling spokesman Paul Goodwin said: "Its not clear why all SPL games appear to have been allocated match officials as a matter of course while all SFL games were subjected to the pot luck nature of a ballot.

"As this dispute impacts on all senior clubs we are keen to know why all senior games this weekend were not subjected to the ballot.

"We are also concerned that we were excluded from the ballot on the basis that our game against Partick Thistle was a rescheduled one due to our original league game against Ross County being cancelled due to their appearance in the Alba Cup Final.

"It is particularly disappointing that we were not made aware of this decision until after the ballot was conducted."

He added: "We estimate the loss in income from rearranging this Saturday's game against Partick Thistle to be in the region of £10,000, based on previous weekend attendances compared to midweek attendances and loss of other commercial revenue and unrecoverable costs. That is a significant sum of money which we cannot afford to lose."