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Willie Collum has been appointed Head of Refereeing at the Scottish FA, it has been announced.

A statement on the Scottish FA website read:

The vastly experienced Category One referee will take up his duties in early July after tendering his resignation as a local authority Education Officer. He will end almost 30 years of refereeing – 20 of which were spent as a Category One match official and FIFA International Referee – with immediate effect to replace the outgoing Crawford Allan, who leaves the role at the end of the season.

The Scottish FA and global sports recruitment experts Elevate Talent compiled a list of experienced applicants from four different continents. Willie’s experience, leadership responsibilities within the Scottish education system, understanding of the Scottish football landscape and resilience made him the outstanding candidate.

He has refereed at UEFA EURO 2016, the 2015 UEFA Super Cup, in four Scottish Cup finals, two League Cup finals, and in over 250 FIFA and UEFA club and international competitions including the Champions League and Europa League, World Cup and European Qualifiers.

The 45-year-old believes the time is right to help current and future referees maximise their potential.

“I am proud and honoured to be appointed the Scottish FA’s Head of Refereeing,” said the 45-year-old. “It’s well-known that I took up refereeing at the age of 14 and today’s announcement is the culmination of some of the greatest experiences of my career.

“It’s my strong view that the role of Head of Refereeing is responsible to all of Scottish football, not just the association, as I am fully aware of the passion and expectations from clubs, players, supporters and match officials themselves.

“I wouldn’t have achieved half of what I have as a referee without the support of my colleagues and team-mates within refereeing and my immediate priority is to galvanise the current network of match officials from Category One to those taking the field for the first time.

“I’ve been in their shoes at every level and want to help others fulfil their potential by overcoming the challenges along the way and seizing the opportunities.

“I will outline my plan in detail when I start officially but I was emphatic throughout the interview process that I want to improve, with consultation and consensus, the operation and delivery of VAR for all concerned. I want to use my experience to alleviate the unsustainable burden on our match officials and improve relations and mutual respect between match officials, club officials, players, coaches and fans.

“I would like to thank Crawford for leading the implementation of VAR and I know I can count on him for advice during the handover period and along the way. I look forward to getting started.”

Ian Maxwell, Scottish FA Chief Executive: “When we announced that Crawford was leaving at the end of the season the board and senior team were clear that we would leave no stone unturned in getting the best candidate for a job that has become significantly more demanding with the arrival of VAR.

“We had applications from experienced candidates across the UK, Europe, North America, Asia and Australia. It is to Willie’s great credit that he emerged as the outstanding candidate from such a strong international field.

“Willie has had a unique refereeing career, which started in his early teens. He has gone on to become one of our most experienced and decorated match officials and has amassed the practical knowledge and experience to make a significant contribution as Head of Refereeing.

“He spoke with passion and purpose on how he sees the role of Head of Refereeing. We look forward to him implementing his plan and I would like to reiterate my thanks to Crawford Allan for his contribution over the last four years, not least leading on the feasibility and implementation of VAR. I know he will be on hand to support Willie during the handover period as required.”