X

Former EPL Ref Mark Halsey Says He Was Told to Say He Missed in-Match Incidents

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistSeptember 3, 2016

Referee Mark Halsey seen during the pre-season friendly football match between Liverpool and Olympiakos at Anfield Stadium in Liverpool, northwest England on August 3, 2013. The game is a testimonial match for Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard who recently signed a new two-year contract extension with Liverpool, the only club he has ever played for. AFP PHOTO/LINDSEY PARNABY        (Photo credit should read LINDSEY PARNABY/AFP/Getty Images)
AFP/Getty Images

Mark Halsey, who refereed in the Premier League for 14 years, has stated he was told to say he hadn't seen incidents that had occurred during games. 

The former official revealed the information on social media on Saturday in a conversation about a flashpoint that saw Manchester City's Sergio Aguero banned for three games:

Mark Halsey @RefereeHalsey

@mackemcafu2 @richardajkeys Paul I have been in that situation when I have seen an incident and been told to say I haven't seen it

When asked to clarify his statement, Halsey suggested the direction came from the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL), not the Football Association:

Mark Halsey @RefereeHalsey

@lee_greenhalgh1 @FA to be Fair to the FA Lee it's not them, it comes from with in the PGMOL

Aguero picked up the sanction after he was found guilty of violent conduct and means he will miss the club's next three games, including next weekend's clash with Manchester United. The ban was in relation to Aguero appearing to swing an elbow at West Ham United defender Winston Reid.

According to Ed Malyon of the Daily Mirror, City were considering appealing the suspension as television footage appeared to show the referee on the day, Andre Marriner, looking at the skirmish.

“Premier League rules state no retrospective action can be taken if the incident was seen by the official at the time,” added Malyon.

The claims will be a concern to all those involved in the game. Former Manchester United defender Gary Neville suggested that if Halsey’s words had veracity, it constituted corruption:

Gary Neville @GNev2

Mark is that not corrupt!! I'd like to know who told you to say that!!! https://t.co/IC2KmsexF7

Gary Neville @GNev2

Just a bit!! @FA and @premierleague think you have a major issue on your hands!! https://t.co/HHq9dCY23Z

According to a report from the Daily Telegraph’s Jim White in 2013, Halsey opted not to take a severance payment of £50,000 from the PGMOL upon retiring from officiating, instead taking on a position with BT Sport. Per the piece, the sum is only issued if the referees agree to a “gagging order” to prevent them discussing their officiating days when they retire.

🚨 SPORTS NEWS ➡️ YOUR INBOX

The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.