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Ref boss Dallas refutes allegations of bullying

Scottish referees chief Hugh Dallas has strongly denied bullying allegations as the fallout from the penalty that never was continued. Dallas, the Scottish Football Association's head of referee development, categorically denied the claims from Steven Craven, who quit the professional game following his involvement in Dougie McDonald's decision to reverse a penalty award to Celtic.

Craven claimed Dallas had tried to protect referee McDonald and let him "take the flak" after the pair confessed to their boss that they had lied over the incident during Celtic's 2-1 victory over Dundee United on October 17.

Dallas said: "I am extremely angry and upset at the completely unsubstantiated allegations made by Steven Craven in a Sunday newspaper.

"I refute categorically any suggestion of impropriety on my part during the telephone call that I made to Steven Craven on Monday, October 18.

"I wish to make it clear that at no time during that conversation did I suggest to Steven that he called Dougie over to him.

"I asked Craven to talk me through the incident, which he did. I then asked him if he had shouted 'Dougie, Dougie' at the time.

"He said 'No'. I replied, for clarification, 'So you didn't shout "Dougie, Dougie?' and he repeated the answer, 'No'.

"I was left in no doubt that he had not initiated the dialogue with the referee and at no time in any subsequent statement that I made did I suggest the contrary.

"This telephone call was made from my office and another SFA employee was present in the room throughout its duration.

"Unfortunately, these allegations have given rise to the suggestion that I was involved in some sort of cover-up: nothing could be further from the truth.

"I was adamant from the time that Dougie first contacted me that an accurate version of events be established. Dougie and the other assistant at the game, Charlie Smith, have since corroborated the correct chronology of events on the field and in the dressing room, which has cast serious doubt over the legitimacy of Craven's own claims."

Craven, who was set to resign at Christmas, claimed his decision had been prompted by "harassment and bullying" from Dallas and SFA colleague John Fleming.

Craven claimed Dallas had treated him like a "naughty schoolboy" after a seminar and accused Fleming of subjecting him to "verbal abuse" during a fitness test.

But Dallas said: "I also refute utterly Craven's allegations of 'victimisation, harassment and bullying' at the hands of myself and my colleague, John Fleming.

"Claims of bullying by John have been refuted by many of the 24 other assistant referees present at the fitness test, including Martin Cryans, the chairman of the Scottish Senior Football Referees' Association.

"The conversation I had with Craven, after a seminar at Tulliallan, was similar to conversations I have had with many referees and assistant referees in Scotland over the past few years, in an effort to improve standards."

The former World Cup referee added: "I am dismayed and saddened that the reputation I have built up over 30 years in refereeing could be besmirched by such unfounded allegations.

"I have, however, been overwhelmed by the messages of support received from friends, colleagues and well-wishers across the country, as well as the support I have received from the referee fraternity."

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