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Willie Collum named Scottish FA head of refereeing and will replace outgoing Crawford Allan

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Top-flight official Willie Collum wants to improve “the operation and delivery of VAR” and help “alleviate the unsustainable burden” on officIals when he takes over as the Scottish FA’s head of refereeing.

He will replace the outgoing Crawford Allan and take up his new role in July – ending an almost 30-year career as a ref.

The appointment comes following an “extensive recruitment process” that featured applicants from across the UK, Europe, North America, Asia and Australia.

Collum’s “experience, leadership responsibilities within the Scottish education system, understanding of the Scottish football landscape and resilience” made him the “outstanding candidate” according to the SFA.

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Collum wants to improve ‘the operation and delivery of VAR’

The 45-year-old has refereed at Euro 2016, the 2015 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.

“I am proud and honoured to be appointed the Scottish FA’s Head of Refereeing,” he said. “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.”

Scottish FA head of referee operations Crawford Allan met Rangers on Wednesday
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Crawford Allan will step down as head of referee operations at the end of this season after four years in the job

Scottish FA chief executive Ian Maxwell added: “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.”

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