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Leading scientist Richard Dawkins slams Scottish Football Association over sacking of Hugh Dallas

Richard Dawkins has become the latest – and so far the most improbable – figure to contribute to the crisis over referees that has engulfed the game in Scotland.


Under fire: Stewart Regan, the chief executive of the Scottish Football Association, has been criticised by scientist Richard Dawkins Photo: PA

Dawkins delivered a stinging denunciation of the Scottish Football Association’s decision to sack Hugh Dallas, their former head of referee development, along with four other employees for circulating a satirical email which referred to the recent visit of the Pope in the context of the child abuse scandal within the Roman Catholic Church.

An evolutionary biologist and the most prominent of Britain’s militant atheists – as well as being an emeritus fellow of New College, Oxford – Dawkins wrote on his website: “Hugh Dallas, head of referee development for the Scottish Football Association, has been sacked because he passed on, by email, a joke about the Pope.

“His dismissal was called for by a spokesman for the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland. This nasty little weasel is called Peter Kearney, Director of the Scottish Catholic Media Office.

“Similarly, the chief executive of the Scottish Football Association, responsible for this craven giving-in to Catholic censorship is Stewart Regan. The address of this coward is Scottish Football Association, Hampden Park, Glasgow.”

Dawkins goes on to urge his followers to swamp both the SFA and the Scottish Catholic Media Office with copies of the email that led to the dismissals of Dallas and other employees.

He adds: “My suggestion is that we should do our best to make this joke go viral, beginning by sending hundreds of copies of it to these two addresses.

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