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SCOTTISH refs have given thanks for greater SFA support after admitting they will only ever be loved by their mums. Clubs agreed to change the articles of association at the SFA agm to give stronger backing to officials targeted by players and managers.

Whistlers will be offered greater protection from physical and verbal harassment at all levels - and players and bosses risk a carpeting if they comment on the men in black before games.

John McKendrick, right, chairman of the Scottish Senior Football Referees Association, welcomed the assistance to his members. And it's believed to be the first step towards a Respect campaign aimed at uniting all areas of the game.

McKendrick said: "Referees will never be loved and aren't in the game to be loved - that's the job of our mothers. "But we hope to be accepted and respected. We are pleased to see clubs re-affirm that verbal and physical harassment will not be tolerated. "The fact it is now part of the articles of association gives it the prominence it deserves. "Harassment of officials stretches from the very top to the grassroots game, although there is a greater responsibility on those at the highest levels to be appropriate role models. "It's more of an issue further down, where refs can be vulnerable to unacceptable levels of abuse.

"We are also pleased to see SFA member clubs take a stance on people within the game making comments in the lead up to matches. This serves as a reminder this kind of thing is unacceptable. "We're not saying refs are above criticism. We're used to it and although we took a stance last season it was because the quality and nature of the criticism was not on.

"We've moved on but match officials shouldn't be pushed too far."
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jun 9, 2011
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