Willie Collum named as Scottish FA's new head of refereeing

Collum said he is proud to be succeeding Crawford Allan in the key Hampden job.

Willie Collum named as Scottish FA’s new head of refereeing SNS Group

Willie Collum has been appointed as the Scottish FA’s new head of refereeing, the governing body has announced.

The experienced official will succeed Crawford Allan at the end of the season, drawing a line under his own time as a match referee before taking up his new duties.

The Scottish FA said that an independent recruitment expert had put together a list of experienced applicants from across four continents when looking to replace Allan, and that Collum’s experience, understanding of Scottish football and leadership responsibilities from his day job as a local authority education officer had made him the outstanding candidate.

The 45-year-old began refereeing at an early age and has officiated at the very top of the game. He has taken charge of matches at European Championships and World Cups, and officiated at the UEFA Super Cup final amongst over 250 FIFA and UEFA club and international games.

In domestic football, Collum has long been one of the country’s top referees and has been the man in the middle at four Scottish Cup finals, two League Cup finals and countless top flight league matches, including last weekend’s Old Firm derby.

Collum said that after 30 years as a referee, he was excited to be taking on the new challenge of helping current and future referees reach their potential.

“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 teammates 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.”

Ian Maxwell, Scottish FA chief executive, said: “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.

“Willie has had a unique refereeing career, which started in his early teens. He has gone on to become one of our most experienced and decorated match officials and has amassed the practical knowledge and experience to make a significant contribution as head of refereeing.

“He spoke with passion and purpose on how he sees the role of head of refereeing. We look forward to him implementing his plan and I would like to reiterate my thanks to Crawford Allan for his contribution over the last four years, not least leading on the feasibility and implementation of VAR. I know he will be on hand to support Willie during the handover period as required.”

STV News is now on WhatsApp

Get all the latest news from around the country

Follow STV News
Follow STV News on WhatsApp

Scan the QR code on your mobile device for all the latest news from around the country

WhatsApp channel QR Code