Crawford Allan: Livingston's David Martindale says abuse of referee chief 'despicable'

SFA head of referees Crawford Allan
David Martindale thinks the abuse will have played a part in Crawford Allan's decision to leave [SNS]

Outgoing Scottish FA head of referees Crawford Allan has endured "despicable" levels of abuse, according to Livingston manager David Martindale.

Allan has borne the brunt of the criticism following a string of controversies amid the implementation of VAR over the past 18 months.

And the 56-year-old is stepping down at the end of this season to "pursue new opportunities".

"I think Crawford's a really good guy," Martindale said.

"I think the way the game's going, the abuse that players, officials, myself take - there's a tipping point.

"I think the abuse Crawford has received for doing his job is despicable, I don't agree with it.

"Social media is taking over the world. Every decision that happens on a Saturday or a midweek deflects on to Crawford and for me that's really unfair."

SFA chief executive Ian Maxwell alluded to "unsustainable pressure on match officials and VAR operators" and a "convenient blame culture" when Allan's departure was announced.

Martindale believes the backlash against Allan during the rollout of VAR "played a part in Crawford's decision".

"Am I surprised he's leaving the position? No," said the Livi boss. "I think it's an extremely difficult job to do with the scrutiny around social media on every single decision and then the pressure cooker that is Scottish football.

"It's become a very difficult job and I said the same about the compliance officer role. I think you've got to be a wee bit sadistic to take a job like that because you're in a no-win situation really.

"You're never pleasing the masses, so it's very difficult. I don't know where it's going to end with social media, the abuse, the scrutiny it brings on people doing their jobs - and I include Crawford in that."