The Scottish FA’s head of referee operations John Fleming has died after a prolonged illness.
Fleming, who was aged 62, had led the association’s referee operations since 2011.
He joined the Scottish FA’s referee development department in 2009 and enjoyed a successful career as a match official, 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 Euro 96.
During his time at the Scottish FA, Fleming oversaw the training and development of match officials at all levels and implemented a new structure to enhance referee recruitment and retention.
His work was recognised across the world game: 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 – world football’s lawmakers.
The Scottish FA said he played an “integral” role in helping host IFAB’s 133rd AGM held in Aberdeen earlier this year.
Scottish FA president Rod Petrie 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.
“John was a dedicated family man and suffered the loss of his wife Ann with the love of his children Dawn and Graham, and of course his grandchildren Anna, Charlie and Rose, on whom he doted. Our thoughts are with his family.
“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.”