A “significant volume” of threatening and abusive messages aimed towards referee Kevin Clancy and his family after Saturday’s Old Firm game have been reported to the police.
It comes after the official’s personal and professional contact details were published online after the 3-2 victory for Celtic over Rangers in Glasgow at the weekend.
The Scottish Football Association have referred the matter to Police Scotland after what they call a “series of unacceptable messages” were sent to ref’s email address and phone.
In a statement released on Monday the games’ governing body said: “The Scottish FA has referred a significant volume of threatening and abusive emails to Police Scotland after personal and professional contact details of Saturday’s Old Firm referee, Kevin Clancy, were published online following the derby match.
“The association’s security and integrity manager has been liaising with Kevin and Police Scotland following a series of unacceptable messages being sent via email and phone over the holiday weekend.
“We offer our full support to Kevin and reiterate our wider support to the referee community.”
Clancy ruled out an early Alfredo Morelos strike with the score-line at 0-0 after the Rangers striker pushed Celtic defender Alistair Johnston to the ground in the build up to the goal.
But the SFA’s chief executive revealed the messages go “way beyond” criticism of his performance on the day and insisted some are “potentially criminal”.
Ian Maxwell said: “The nature of the messages goes way beyond criticism of performance and perceived decision-making – some are potentially criminal in nature and include threats and abuse towards Kevin and his family.
“We have referred the correspondence to the police and condemn this behaviour in the strongest possible terms, as well as the posting of a referee’s personal details online with the sole purpose of causing distress.
“Football is our national game. It improves and saves lives. Without referees, there is no game, and while decisions will always be debated with or without the use of VAR, we cannot allow a situation to develop where a referee’s privacy and safety, and those of his family, are compromised.
“We all have a responsibility to protect our game and those essential to it.”
The Scottish FA can also confirm the Referee Operations team have responded to Rangers’ request for an explanation for an on-field decision involving Alfredo Morelos.