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Ex-referee racially abused Darcheville


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A FORMER Scottish Premier League referee was last night at the centre of a race hate probe after allegedly abusing former Rangers star Jean-Claude Darcheville.

Mike Ritchie, 49, has been accused of making racist comments about the French player following a referees’ meeting in Aberdeen.

Amateur referee Alex Dick has complained to both the SFA and Grampian Police claiming Ritchie referred to the player as a “black bastard” in a conversation.

Ritchie had officiated at premier league games including Rangers matches up until last year, and now works with the SFA as a supervisor, helping with training and advising on which referees are suitable for promotion.

Mr Dick and fellow referee Cammy McKay were leaving the meeting at Mannofield Cricket Club in Aberdeen as they discussed SPL players able to “get away” with wearing different coloured undershorts.

He claims they were discussing Barry Ferguson and Darcheville, who both wear black leggings under their white shorts, when Ritchie allegedly made a racist joke.

Mr Dick has now made a formal complaint to the SFA and reported November’s alleged incident to the police.

The 28-year-old, a retail manager and father-of-two from Aberdeen, said: “If he’d heard a player say something like that on the park, they would have been given a red card and a 10 or 15 years ban, as well as probably being interviewed by police.

“He was refereeing Rangers last year, and to say that about anyone, let alone a player he has officiated over, is unbelievable.” Mr Dick has been refereeing amateur games for the past eighteen months after a serious ankle break prevented him from playing for amateur side La Lombarda AFC.

But he said the alleged incident had disillusioned him with the SFA, and was unsure if he would continue.

He added: “Ritchie sent an apology to me the following evening by text message, but it does not excuse or take away what was said, especially from a well respected referee who younger referees should be looking up to as a role model.

“I wanted to make sure this wasn’t brushed under the carpet, and I also want to make sure things like this don’t happened again.”

Ritchie is listed in the SFA Referees Handbook as a Banff and Buchan referee and works for NHS Grampian.

Darcheville left Rangers on January 1 to join Valenciennes of France.

Billy Singh, campaign co-ordinator for Show Racism the Red Card in Scotland, which uses high-profile players to give talks to children, said: “If these comments have been made, they would seriously affect the person’s ability to referee matches.

“I would applaud the individual who reported the alleged incident and I would expected the SFA and the police to investigate it fully.”

Last night the SFA were investigating the claims, which Ritchie denies, and Grampian Police confirmed a probe was under way.

An SFA spokesman said: “The allegations made against Mr Ritchie are something that we take extremely seriously.

“As soon as this was brought to our attention we sought to speak to Mr Ritchie.

“He very much disputes a large part of the allegations against him. As such, we will work with his local referee association in carrying out a full investigation.”

Grampian Police confirmed they were probing the incident.

Ritchie last night refused to comment at his home in Aberdeen.


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