Scottish football's Head of Refereeing development Hugh Dallas has parted company with the Scottish Football Association (SFA) citing 'family reasons' for his decision.
Dallas was caught up in a scandal last week as the Catholic Church in Scotland called for him to be sacked if allegations about an ''offensive'' e-mail relating to the Pope's visit to Glasgow were proved to be true. It was claimed a photograph relating to the Pope's visit had been passed on via official SFA emails. The photograph showed a road sign featuring a woman and a child with a doctored message referring to the Pontiff below.
However, SFA president George Peat has distanced himself from widespread reports that Dallas has resigned.
Peat said: ''I read reports in the papers this morning that some people have resigned but I don't know and I can't get involved in it. All I know is that [SFA chief executive] Stewart Regan was meeting with several members of staff. But if there were to be appeals they would have to come to me so I can't get involved.''
In a letter to Regan, Peter Kearney, director of the Scottish Catholic Media office, wrote: ''I am writing to you to express my concern at an allegation made recently against a senior official of the SFA, Mr Hugh Dallas, the Head of Referee development.
"He has been accused of sending an email from his SFA email account on the day of the Pope's visit to Scotland, which was totally unprofessional, gratuitously insulting to the Pope, deeply offensive to the Catholic community of Scotland, and an incitement to anti-Catholic sectarianism.'
The SFA have made no statement about the matter, but Dallas' departure could not come at a worse time as the country is forced to deal with a referees' strike over criticism from managers and players.