Smith Under Fire Over Performance
Updated Thursday, 28th February 2008
The shoe is on the other foot for Gordon Smith since we took on the top job at SFA HQ.
|Moving over from poacher to gamekeeper is never easy and when in the media spotlight it is even harder. That appears to be the experience of SFA chief executive Gordon Smith who responded to criticism of his recent performance by saying he is not bothered. Part of Smith's manifesto when taking on the job was to improve relations between officials and players and managers. However, despite having been working in the media for a number of years, has been charged with naivety when speaking in his official capacity. He should remember the media delight in catching every slip or perceived slight and magnifying the situation as large as they can. Smith says he is broad shouldered and has vowed to keep working for the good of the national game. This week, Smith was blasted by Dundee United boss Craig Levein following remarks attributed to the top man at the SFA concerning clubs writing to the SFA to complain of biased referees. The former Rangers player insists his words were misinterpreted and he never said all top-flight clubs in Scotland had complained in writing about referees. He spoke to the media again and underlined he meant that fans from every SPL club had raised objections. Smith, appointed nine months ago, played down criticism of himself and the SFA. |
Smith went on to promise to press ahead with his work in the SFA, stressing: "What's happened to me in the last couple of days will not detract at all. I'm not in the least bit worried about it, it doesn't affect me at all, no matter what anybody's comments are about me. I just get on with my job and hopefully keep doing my job to the best of my ability. We're trying to do our best. I think we are doing that. We've had to put a new manager in place, a new under-21 coach in place, and arrange friendlies. We're doing a lot of work at grass-roots level. We've just had new money from the government, from the proceeds of crime, to try to develop the game. So there's an awful lot of different aspects we're involved in."
Scottish referees have come under fire repeatedly in recent weeks with some calling for the introduction of professional officials to the game. However, despite seeing some merit in the suggestion, Smith considers it may be too difficult to implement. He is ruling nothing out as he seeks to improve the image of referees in the eyes of supporters, players and managers. Smith went on: "It's a good discussion point actually, and the more discussion we have on it the better. We need to look at the role of referees and the hard job that they've got, and see whether the relationship is right between referees and people in the game. Full-time referees would be a difficult one, because some of these guys actually have good jobs." Smith would love to see referees in football receive the same respect and treatment as rugby officials are accustomed to. He said: "We're looking at trying to get referees a little bit more respect. Rugby referees seem to get that, for some reason. People might say it's because they don't make so many mistakes but I don't see that. I think it's a different culture they have in rugby. It's almost like a schoolteacher when you were at school, you accepted what he said, and football is slightly different. People like to argue and a lot of the kids come through in the game seeing the senior professionals doing it, and that becomes their style and their culture."