Shuggie strikes back

Last updated : 11 December 2009 By Firparkcorner

The release from Dallas is reproduced in full (taken from the SFA site) and it makes clear that the referee supremo is not a happy chappie. The tone of the statement can be summarized with a few key words from the piece: unwelcome, vilification, astonished, insulted and staggering are enough to make his discomfort clear.

Although the final paragraph claims that no further comment will be made it seems inevitable that this issue will rumble on for some time yet.  Will the Motherwell manager keep the debate alive?

Hugh Dallas, Head of Referee Development, Scottish FA: "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.

"I am astonished by the personal attacks made by Jim Gannon, which have questioned my honesty and integrity, and wish to set the record straight on the chain of events that have created an air of tension and negativity.

"For the record, I received Mr Gannon's first letter, dated September 21st, 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 December 1st, 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, December 3rd, 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.

"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?' 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."