Scotland’s referees will no longer be forced to retire from the game at the age of 47, the Scottish Football Association have announced.
At present, officials are obliged to step back from taking charge of senior games at the mandatory retirement age.
From the start of season 2012/13 onwards, referees will instead be judged on their fitness and performance.
The move follows a review by the governing body’s referee committee, with the Scottish FA board passing their recommendation.
“This is a positive step and I am delighted the Scottish FA Board has approved the removal of the age cap in time for the start of next season,” John Fleming, the organisation’s head of referee development, said.
“The fitness of referees has increased significantly and with the advances in sports science we have been able to tailor programmes for individual referees.
“We have seen examples elsewhere of match officials maintaining standards beyond the previous cut-off of 47 and it will be a major benefit to us in Scotland.
“It means referees will enjoy greater longevity if they maintain their levels of fitness and performance and will enable the Referee Development Department to incorporate longer-term planning into our current commitment to match officials.”
Referees on the FIFA list are currently obliged to retire from taking charge of games in non-domestic tournaments at the age of 45.