Football referees often come under heavy scrutiny for their decisions, but one thing you can always be certain is that they’ll keep firm on their decisions and very rarely apologize. But outright lying about their decisions? Scottish referee Dougie McDonald may be the first.

Following the Celtic-Dundee United match ,in which Celtic won 2-1, McDonald claimed that his decision to reverse his penalty decision initially awarded to Celtic was because he was convinced to do so by his assistant referee. In a recorded phone call later that night, however, it was revealed that he lied about that fact in order to make his decision seem more “credible”.

He was given an official warning by the Scottish Football Association, but for the first time we have clear evidence of a referee lying in order to cover up a mistake. It was not something with too great a consequence for the match itself, but it might erode a lot of that “credibility” McDonald was so worried about, not just for him, but for the entire SFA. A harsher penalty would have served to suggest that this was an isolated incident and McDonald’s conduct is not how the other Scottish referees act, but since no such punishment came about, the public is left to wonder. Calls have been made for both McDonald and members of the SFA to resign, but no one has taken on this responsibility yet.


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