THREATS and abuse directed at referee Kevin Clancy and his family following Saturday's Celtic v Rangers match have been referred to Police Scotland by the Scottish Football Association (SFA).
Celtic won the Scottish Premiership clash 3-2, during which Rangers had a goal disallowed by Clancy with the score at 0-0, a decision that was upheld by VAR.
Following a statement by the SFA, the Ibrox club said it condemned 'any abuse of match officials' but added that it was 'astonished' the organisation backed Clancy over his decision to chalk off the Columbian striker's goal.
The SFA said on Monday that it had referred a 'significant volume of threatening and abusive emails' to Police Scotland.
It said the abuse followed the publication online of Clancy's personal and professional contact details following Saturday's match.
It has since offered its full support to the referee following the 'series of unacceptable messages being sent via email and phone'.
"The nature of the messages goes way beyond criticism of performance and perceived decision-making — some are potentially criminal in nature and include threats and abuse towards Kevin and his family," said Ian Maxwell, Chief Executive of the SFA.
"We have referred the correspondence to the police and condemn this behaviour in the strongest possible terms, as well as the posting of a referee's personal details online with the sole purpose of causing distress.
"Football is our national game. It improves and saves lives. Without referees, there is no game, and while decisions will always be debated with or without the use of VAR, we cannot allow a situation to develop where a referee's privacy and safety, and those of his family, are compromised.
"We all have a responsibility to protect our game and those essential to it."
The SFA statement added that its Referee Operations team had responded to a request from Rangers to explain the decision to disallow Morelos' goal.
'Abuse cannot be tolerated'
Responding to the SFA statement, Rangers condemned the abuse of match officials but appeared to disagree with the decision to back Clancy over the Morelos decision.
"Rangers condemns in the strongest terms any abuse of match officials," said a statement from the Ibrox club.
"We are all passionate about our game, but targeted, personal abuse of referees cannot be tolerated.
"The club can confirm the Scottish FA has responded with regards to the disallowed Alfredo Morelos goal, with the response claiming the correct decision was taken.
"The club is astonished by this, especially given most observers, including former referees and former players, could see no issue with the goal standing.
"This comes following a weekend in England where PGMOL have offered an apology to Brighton and Hove Albion for the non-award of a penalty in their match with Tottenham Hotspur, alongside a pledge to review the incident.
"While an apology does not alter the outcome of a match, such responsibility and openness would be welcome in Scotland."
Clancy will not take charge of a game this weekend, with the SFA confirming the referee will instead be on VAR duty for St Johnstone's Premiership game at Livingston on Saturday.