JOHN FLEMING, the SFA’s head of referee operations, has passed away at 62 after a long illness.
He was in charge of match officials for eight years after joining the association’s referee development department in 2009.
Fleming enjoyed a successful career as a whistler, appointed to Category One status in 1994 and performing as a FIFA Assistant Referee from 1994 to 1997, culminating in him being part of Scotland’s officiating team at the European Championships in 1996.
He oversaw the training and development of match officials at all levels and implemented a new structure to enhance referee recruitment and retention.
He was appointed as a Referee Observer for UEFA and joined illustrious names such as Pierluigi Collina and Massimo Busacca on the Technical Advisory Panel of the International Football Association Board.
Rod Petrie, SFA President, in a report on Sky Sports, said: “John was a private man and many people will be shocked to learn of his passing after an illness borne with fortitude. His commitment was unstinting to the game, his refereeing colleagues and the association.
“He worked tirelessly in support of his match officials, whom he considered an extended family. He undertook his responsibilities as Head of Referee Operations with passion and integrity, qualities that met with respect across the game: in boardrooms, in dressing rooms and, of course, in referees’ rooms.”
Petrie added: “I know I speak on behalf of the board, John’s friends and colleagues within the Scottish FA, the referee community and clubs across the country in saying that we will miss a trusted colleague, a man of honour and principle, and a dear friend.”