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9:21:40 AM
Strike threat may delay SPL start

Scottish referees have yet to agree a new pay deal
Scottish referees have yet to agree a new pay deal

The start of the Scottish Premier League this weekend could be delayed because of a strike threat from the country's Referees' Association.

A senior referee told BBC Scotland there was a real threat of a strike as the SRA have yet to agree a financial deal ahead of the new season.

The referees met with the SPL on Monday without agreement and have further meetings planned for later in the week.

"We expect the matter to be resolved soon," said an SPL spokesman.

According to reports in Scotland, the referees have been promised £600 a match - which is an increase of £25 - but they are holding out for £800 immediately, rising to £1000.

"There is more to this than extra finance," Daily Record head of sport Jim Trainer told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"They do believe they are worth more money because of the pressure they are under now but they want the authorities to understand they need to be protected from chairman and managers who question their honesty and integrity.

We are at the stage where referees are pilloried far too often now. It's unfair. When managers start saying openly that a referee has cheated, then we need to sit down and think again.

"The referees are attempting to flex some muscle because they feel, and have done for a number of seasons, that they are not given the proper support and backing from the Scottish Football Association and the people who run the SPL.

"There is the real threat that they will not do the games this Saturday and I think there are a lot of fans that do support referees on this.

"The SPL will have to come to some sort of compromise because they cannot delay the start of the season."

The SPL kicks off this Saturday, with Rangers travelling to Falkirk in the opening game at 1230 BST.

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