Scotland's top refs are set to be snubbed from European and international matches because we don’t have VAR in this country.

It’s been revealed that our leading officials Willie Collum and Bobby Madden will be excluded from major Champions League and Europa League matches.

And they are also set to be blanked from the Euro 2020 finals next year.


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Former referee Charlie Richmond reckons we’re becoming a backwater because we’re lagging so far behind the rest of Europe.

SPFL chief Neil Doncaster has already said that cost is a huge issue in terms of TV resource and an extra two officials,

But Richmond says we need to catch up with the rest of Europe.

All of the major leagues are using it this season – England. France. Germany, Italy and Spain.

However, there are also versions in Belgium. Holland, Portugal and Turkey – as well as Greece, Switzerland, Poland and the Czech Republic.

Richmond said: “If we don’t get in line and start using the VAR system in Scotland then you won’t see our guys going abroad.

“That was evident when Bobby Madden went to do his Champions League match recently between Bayern Munich and Red Star Belgrade

“The VAR officials were flown in from Holland because it’s only Bobby and Willie Collum that are trained in VAR.

“It was the same when Willie covered Juventus against Bayer Leverkusen – the VAR officials came from Spain.

“So we can’t send a full team of six Scottish officials to a Champions League game.

“So when it comes to the more important games our referees will miss out because UEFA will insist on a full team of six who work together.


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“The Europa League brings in VAR from the last 32 onwards and I can’t see our guys getting matches.

“It will be same when the European Championships are played next year.

“You only have to look back a few years and find that Craig Thomson covered a Champions League quarter-final second leg between Dortmund and Malaga.

“That will not happen now because we don’t have Scottish officials fully trained in VAR.

“Bobby is at a very important time in his career and he wants to go up to the next level and become one of the elite.

“But if he’s not getting the support of the SFA effectively he won’t make that jump.”

Managers and players are also desperate for the system to be brought in to cut out refereeing mistakes.

Richmond added: “It’s the funding aspect – how are we going to play for it?

“But you don’t need to go all singing, all dancing.

“Our major matches are covered live by the main television stations so all you would need to do is put a couple of VAR officials in place in a van at the stadium.

“We should trial it at games like the Betfred Cup semi-finals and Final and the Scottish Cup semis and final, for example.

“Then we see how it works and take it from there.”