A FORMER Premier League football referee under investigation over inflammatory comments posted on his website about the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church yesterday said he had not seen the material.

Jeff Winter said he was taking legal advice over a post that made reference to altar boys being abused after Celtic won the latest Old Firm game with Rangers last month.

The web entry, made on December 30 while the 56-yearold was on a cruise of Australia and New Zealand, described Pope Benedict XVI as a “dress-wearing Nazi”.

But Mr Winter, who lives in Ingleby Barwick, near Stockton, said he had not seen the site because it had been suspended by internet authorities before he got the chance.

The Sky Sports and Talksport Radio pundit, who arrived back in the UK yesterday, said: “I have been away for 39 days and, during that time, I have had little or no opportunity to phone, email or text as I have been at sea most of the time.

“I need to look and see what has been going on, what has been on my website and take some legal advice.”

Celtic Football Club complained to Strathclyde Police, and the force is now investigating.

Mr Winter dismissed rumours that he had been arrested when he arrived at Newcastle International Airport at about noon yesterday on a flight from Dubai.

He said he had been escorted from the airport to avoid journalists and camera crews.

Mr Winter said: “I arrived at the airport and security measures were taken to get me away from the airport because allegedly there were press waiting there.

“I can assure you I am fully at liberty and fully expect to stay that way.”

Mr Winter retired in 2004 after officiating in the FA Cup Final between Manchester United and Millwall.

He said: “I am sure that if I had done something that they (the police) deemed wrong then they possibly would have been waiting for me, or have been in contact with me, but that is not the case.

“I have had no contact with the police whatsoever and I don’t expect to have, but who knows?”