By Phil Mac Giolla Bhain
Controversial Scottish referee Chief Hugh Dallas sent a sectarian email “joke” last September on the day of the Pope’s visit to Britain.
The joke has a picture depicting a children beware road sign with the added words “ Pope is coming”.
The email was Scottish FA sent from Mr.Dallas’ official email address it was a reply to an email entitled “FIFA nomination.
It was sent on 16/09/2010, the day of the Pope’s visit to the UK.
The original email was sent to Hugh Dallas’ official SFA email. The email was entitled “FIFA NOMINATION”.
The reply sent at 10.55am, which had no text in it, had a jpeg attachment called “popeiscoming”.
The image depicted a red triangle caution road sign with an adult holding a child’s hand.
Under the “Caution” there was a hand written sign affixed saying, “Pope is coming.”
The clear implication of this “joke” was that His Holiness The Pope is, somehow a danger to children.
This news comes at a time when Dallas is embroiled in a controversy with Celtic FC about the amount of referring decisions that the Parkhead club have claimed that have went against them over the last two years.
Dallas’ view is that these decisions are “Honest Mistakes” and that every team has reason to gripe about referring decisions from time to time.
Last season Celtic sent a DVD of 30 refereeing decisions to the SFA claiming that this was proof that the referees were biased against the club.
The refereeing issue has come to the fore in the last few weeks after it was disclosed that referee Dougie McDonald and Assistant referee Steven Craven had lied post match to Celtic manager Neil Lennon about a decision not to give the Parkhead club a penalty.
Dallas himself was involved in a stormy Old Firm match at Celtic park in May 1999.
When he was hit by a coin by a Celtic fan. Bleeding from the head wound caused by the coin Dallas had to be treated and the match stopped for several minutes.
This revelation that on the day of the Pope’s visit the SFA’s head of “Referee Development” was sending a sectarian image linking His Holiness the Pope to paedophilia will only fuel concerns among the mainly Catholic Celtic support that officialdom in Scottish soccer is hostile to the club because of the its Irish Catholic heritage.
I contacted the SFA and told them of the existence and content of the email sent from Hugh Dallas’ official email address on the day of the Pope’s state visit to Britain.
The SFA refused to comment about the email.
Despite several attempts by this journalist, including leaving a message on his mobile phone, Mr.Dallas was not available for comment.