Scottish Premiership

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers wants ENGLISH refs to officiate games | Football | Sport


The Celtic boss has recently called for VAR and full-time referees but he believes it would help under-fire officials if the authorities brought in whistlers from beyond our borders.

Rodgers has been left scratching his head after numerous contentious decisions this season and has repeatedly voiced concerns over player safety.

He admitted viewers from outside of Scotland will have been wincing at some of the challenges being allowed to go unpunished either on the field or retrospectively – making the game look lawless north of the border.

Rodgers reckons it’s time to expand the search to take the heat off home officials.

The Parkhead gaffer said: “There’s a constant pressure on referees. It’s definitely something that has to be looked at. Open it up.

“You want to attract more referees, why close it to just here?

“Open it up and have the best referees that could maybe come from England or Wales, or wherever.

“Then you have a diverse group of referees. OK, they might need help with expenses or whatever, if they are coming up from Swansea, but it just opens up the pool.

“That will also help the local refs. It’s about constant education but it doesn’t shine the torch on the same referees all of the time.”

boss Rodgers has concerns the image of the Scottish game is being damaged and doesn’t want the SPFL to resemble the wild west.

The Hoops boss as unhappy with Hibs winger Darnell Johnson’s tackle on Emilio Izaguirre in midweek and called for players to get more protection from the authorities.

Rodgers said: “We all love the aggression and the physicality of the competition. That’s great.

“But if your game is going to improve, there always has to be a line.

“Too often it’s lawless or whatever word you want to use.

“You don’t want to get to a stage where anything goes.

“Does player safety remain a concern? Yes.

“I said in my first year here that some of the sanctions here surprise me – it’s a wee bit bitty.

“I don’t tend to go after the referees in this situations as it’s simple for me.

“The poor guys refereeing the games are amateurs. with all due respect.

“The spotlight is on them severely from a professional side.

“They are going to make mistakes and then the aftermath seems a bit complicated.

“That will continue to be.”

Izaguirre was stretchered off on Wednesday but the injury is not as bad as first feared.

He will miss tomorrow’s Scottish Cup clash with St Johnstone at Celtic Park but could make Thursday’s Europa League showdown with Valencia.

Rodgers revealed Celts could also be boosted by the return of Kieran Tierney for the last 32 encounter, along with Odsonne Edouard, Olivier Ntcham, James Forrest and Kris Ajer.

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