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SPL bosses expect to avoid referee strike

SoccerNews in Scottish Premier League 5 Aug 2008

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Scottish Premier League bosses were locked in talks with the country’s Referees Association on Tuesday in a desperate bid to avert a pay strike.

The Scottish Senior Referees Association are seeking a significant pay increase and were reported to be considering strike action ahead of the new SPL season, which starts this weekend.

But SPL chairman Lex Gold insisted on Tuesday that he expected the situation to be resolved.

“We had a positive meeting on Monday, there is another set up to sort out the details and we expect it to be resolved before the end of play on Tuesday,” he said.

Referees were paid 575 pounds (726 euros) for taking charge of a Premier League match last season, but are demanding an increase that would take them to a four-figure sum within two years.

The SPL are understood to have originally offered 600 pounds, in line with an agreement made within the past three years that promised match officials an index-linked increase.

However, the referees’ body were hoping for 800 pounds, which would rise by 100 pounds for each of the following two seasons, and apparently bring them in line with some of their European colleagues.

“We have had a request for a 40 percent increase in fees from our referees,” Gold told Setanta Sports News.

“They put forward three comparators they wanted us to base our decision on, and there was no written support for that.

“They recognised that there is a need for a detailed review and study and yesterday we proposed how that might be done and today we are meeting to chart the way forward.

“Things I think are moving in absolutely the right direction.

“I should say that since the SPL started, our referees have had an increase in the fee of 140 percent and our income has not increased anywhere like that level.

“But I think we are at the position with our referee colleagues that we have to get back to business as usual.

“It was only July 25 that we were faced with these comparators and it was only at that point we could start working on the proposal.”

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