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Rangers hold SFA talks over refereeing concerns during Aberdeen match

Premiership leaders submit letter to Scottish FA highlighting incidents of concern during Aberdeen game; Rangers outlined eight issues including Ryan Kent's red card; SFA regularly engage with all clubs and remain in dialogue with teams throughout the season

ABERDEEN, SCOTLAND - JANAURY 18: Referee Kevin Clancy at full time during a Cinch Premiership match between Aberdeen and Rangers at Pittodrie, on January 18, 2022, in Aberdeen, Scotland. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)
Image: Rangers are unhappy with some decisions made by referee Kevin Clancy

Rangers and the Scottish FA have held talks after the Ibrox club highlighted a number of refereeing concerns during their 1-1 draw at Aberdeen.

Sky Sports News can reveal the Scottish Premiership leaders also submitted a letter to Hampden Park bosses outlining incidents from the match at Pittodrie.

It is understood that referee Kevin Clancy's decision to show Ryan Kent a second yellow for a foul on Scott Brown was one of eight highlighted by the Ibrox club, with questions also raised over why the Aberdeen captain was not cautioned for simulation during the incident.

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Ryan Kent was sent off after receiving a second yellow card at Aberdeen

Rangers also wanted an explanation as to why Lewis Ferguson's equaliser from the spot was not retaken after replays showed the ball was in motion, due to the wind, before it was struck.

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Aberdeen's equaliser came after the ball moved on the penalty spot

The club are also understood to have raised concerns about a late incident involving Borna Barisic and Aberdeen's Jonny Hayes which resulted in the Rangers left-back needing medical treatment for a bloodied nose.

Aberdeen boss Stephen Glass was also critical of Clancy after Tuesday's match after his side were not awarded a penalty when Allan McGregor collided with Ryan Hedges.

The Scottish FA have always regularly engaged with clubs and remain in dialogue with all teams throughout the season.

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Highlights from a dramatic match at Pittodrie

Meanwhile, Rangers boss Giovanni van Bronckhorst has backed the introduction of VAR and encouraged officials to review their performances in an attempt to raise levels for the betterment of Scottish football.

He said: "I think it's a normal way. It's the same for me as a coach and my players and I think it's the same for refs.

"VAR will help them a lot, as we've seen in other leagues, to take the right decisions, especially in the vital moments of the game. That will help them.

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Rangers boss Giovanni van Bronckhorst believes if referees review performances it will help improve officiating in Scottish football, as would the introduction of VAR

"For a referee, they also have to review their own games. To review the games and maybe see things that could have been done better or mistakes that were made.

"We all make mistakes. But you have that process to become a better referee. I don't see anything wrong with that.

"That's why I'm also reviewing how my team played, I review the decisions I make.

"In the end, you have to learn from your mistakes and make sure you become a better coach, manager or player, but also a better referee. I don't see anything negative about that, only positives."

So could VAR be introduced in Scotland?

VAR was successfully used at Hampden Park during Euro 2020
Image: VAR was successfully used at Hampden Park during Euro 2020

In October it was revealed Scottish Premiership clubs have backed initial plans to introduce VAR after a meeting co-hosted by the Scottish FA and SPFL.

The 2010 World Cup final referee Howard Webb, who addressed the 12 clubs on the benefits of its introduction, revealed the feedback was in favour of the technology which he believes will "enhance" the Scottish game.

A formal proposal over how to introduce VAR in the top flight and at certain cup ties will now be finalised before being put to an SPFL vote.

What happens next?

SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster hopes VAR will be "introduced as soon as is practicably possible" in the top flight.

The dialogue between all parties will continue as formal plans are drafted before being put to an SPFL vote.

"This will not be an overnight process, bearing in mind the lengthy training and set-up that will be required," he said.

What could VAR be used for?

We have seen VAR implemented all over the world across many different leagues so you might know what to expect.

With an extra referee reviewing clear and obvious errors, ultimately it is there to give officials more support.

The baselines set out by FIFA for when a review may take place are limited to penalties, red cards, goal situations and any case of mistaken identity would be when a review may take place.

Might we see anything different in Scotland?

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In October, former referee Howard Webb revealed all 12 Scottish Premiership clubs were in favour of introducing VAR

One frustration voiced by many fans is not knowing what is going on when an incident is being looked at. Well, that could change one day.

The Scottish FA and SPFL are exploring how to open up communication channels for fans watching on TV and at grounds.

FIFA is also reviewing this and looking at other ways to try and communicate what is happening, to ensure as much information as possible is being shared.

Of course, like anything, these processes take time and would only be passed after consultation with FIFA - not to mention any pilot projects taking place beforehand also.

Where decisions are made is up for debate too. In the Premier League, all checks take place at a central hub, while in the MLS there is a VAR team are at each stadium.

What will it cost?

The Scottish FA has reiterated its offer of underwriting the training costs for match officials, with match costs being borne equally by Premiership clubs.

That fee could be around £80,000 per year for each of the 12 top-flight sides, with no other SPFL club expected to pay for the technology.

Are we ready for it?

VAR Technology during the Europa League Round of 32, 2nd Leg match between Celtic and FC Copenhagen at Celtic Park
Image: Space would be needed for VAR screens

Concerns have been raised over the number of cameras at stadiums, the amount of training needed and much more.

As it stands, non-televised Scottish Premiership games have just four cameras but it is understood that wouldn't be an issue, with Webb confident the minimum requirements would be met if introduced.

We've already highlighted that VAR hubs could be located away from grounds - like in the Premier League - if space was an issue.

Not all grounds have goalline technology but leagues like the MLS have shown that issue could also be overcome.

Training will take time but Webb, who implemented VAR in the United States, is confident that Scottish football will be ready, if VAR is given the green light.

He told Sky Sports: "There are some good quality people at the SFA involved in the training and development of the refereeing group who will absolutely make sure when this goes live the officials will be as trained as they need to be to make sure this is the positive I know it can be.

"I'm looking forward to seeing it come to life in the SPFL and I'm really confident it will be a net positive to the competition."

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