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The SFA has hit back at Rangers following the war of words that has been ongoing since Celtic’s 2-1 derby win the day before Hogmanay.

And they reminded the club of their responsibilities after Willie Collum has found himself taking the full force of the Ibrox side’s ire this week.

It is understood Rangers requested for referee Collum not to be be involved in any capacity for future games with the finger of blame directly pointed at him for his VAR control room role during the game.

Rangers chief executive James Bisgrove and Creag Robertson, director of football operations, met with SFA officials on Wednesday to listen to VAR audio of the decision – after demanding it be made public – that led to Celtic fullback Alistair Johnston not being penalised for a handball in his own box.

The governing body has refuted Rangers’ version of events in the dialogue that took place between themselves and the club and have reiterated that there was never any way a penalty would have been given since Abdallah Sima was offside in the build-up.

They also “immediately rejected” calls for Collum to be taken off officiating duties at Rangers

Their statement read:

“The Scottish FA is disappointed by contents of the most recent statement issued by Rangers in relation to a match incident during the club’s recent Premiership fixture against Celtic.

“Chief Executive James Bisgrove and Director of Football Operations Creag Robertson attended a private briefing with the Head of Referee Operations, Crawford Allan, to review the incident in question, including the use of matchday audio.

“We understood from the chief executive that the meeting had been constructive and informative, and conducted amicably.

“This does not appear to be reflected in the club’s statement. During the meeting, it was pointed out that the incident in question was a subjective handball and that the VAR did not deem it a sufficiently clear and obvious error to refer to On Field Review.
“Furthermore, the offside would not have been mentioned at the time as it was not part of the VAR’s decision-making on the handball.
“It was highlighted within Clydesdale House that had the VAR considered the incident to be a handball offence and asked the referee to carry out an On Field Review, the Attacking Phase of Play would have been checked and an offside would have been identified.

“This supplementary information was relayed to broadcasters in-game, and we are reviewing the process of information dissemination to avoid any perceived ambiguity in future.

“There was an overall consensus that the incident could not have led to a penalty kick being awarded in any event, and that there was no impact on the final outcome of the match. Scotland’s VAR protocol is in many ways modelled on the PGMOL system, and we are in regular dialogue with our colleagues in England on knowledge sharing and improvements.

“VAR has been operational in Scotland for just over a year, whilst it has been operational in England for more than four.
“Since the summer, we have ensured that Key Match Incidents are reviewed and shared with all clubs after every full round of 11 Premiership fixtures, including use of audio. We will continue to do this, along with KMI being shared with the Independent Review Panel for their consideration and opinion.
“Finally, we note posts from a recent official media partner of the club’s detailing requests from the private meeting that were immediately rejected.
“We would ask that club representatives show greater responsibility in such matters, especially in the context of recent incidents in European football that have compromised the safety of match officials and led to widespread condemnation.”

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