No refs strike despite criticism of Ciftci ban

Nadir Ciftci was handed a two-match ban for manhandling an assistant referee. Picture: SNS
Nadir Ciftci was handed a two-match ban for manhandling an assistant referee. Picture: SNS
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THE group representing Scotland’s top officials insist it stands by its statement criticising the “lenient” punishment handed to Dundee United striker Nadir Ciftci.

But the Scottish Senior Football Referees Association says it is has not discussed plans to strike following the controversy.

Turkish frontman Ciftci was handed a two-match ban - with one suspended until the end of the season - after he was found guilty of manhandling assistant referee Gavin Harris during October’s clash with Inverness.

The SSFRA claimed the light punishment sent out the “wrong message” to Scotland’s footballers but the Scottish Football Association responded by criticising the group for going public with its concerns.

Now after talks with Hampden chiefs, the referee’s union says it is sticking to its guns.

In a statement handed to Press Association Sport, it said: “The Scottish Senior Football Referees Association can confirm that it has received the Judicial Panel’s explanation from the Scottish FA.

“Having considered the explanation the SSFRA stands by its original statement. We now look forward to working positively with the Scottish FA to identify a solution which is satisfactory to all parties and ensures that referees are protected throughout the game, particularly at grassroots level.”

Ciftci was originally threatened with a 10-match ban after he was accused of “seizing” Harris by the throat. However, the charge was later reduced to “placing an open hand into the lower area of the assistant referee’s throat” as he was given a lighter sentence.

The row has opened up fresh divisions with the match officials and the SFA following the 2010 strike action which came amid claims their safety was being put at risk.

However, the union insists it has no plans to repeat that drastic step.

The statement added: “The SSFRA wishes to make it clear that it has not considered any form of industrial action.”