Ex-referee Mark Halsey reveals when he was asked to lie

Mark Halsey's comments have rocked the game
Mark Halsey's comments have rocked the game

Former Premier League referee Mark Halsey sparked a media storm when he suggested he had been asked to lie by his paymasters so that players could be handed retrospective suspensions - and now he has revealed the incident he was referring to.

Halsey’s suggestions that he was asked to cover up his version of events on the field to allow the FA to hand out a three-game ban to an unnamed player sparked a huge debate, with former Premier League Gary Neville among those suggesting the incident is

Now Halsey has moved to clear up his comments, which are merely repeating what was already published in his autobiography three years ago.

He has cited an incident in the field in November 2011 when Blackburn midfielder Steven N’Zonzi tangled with Ryan Shawcross in the penalty area, with the Frenchman appearing to strike the Stoke captain.

“I saw the incident between Steven N’Zonzi and Ryan Shawcross and was happy it was not a red card,” Halsey told The Sun.

“Then, when the assessor came in, he said there was no problem and that I’d refereed very well.

“On the Monday we had our get-together with referees at Warwick University and I was told, ‘Look at this’ and I was still happy with the decision.

“I was told to expect a call from the FA compliance department, which I duly got.

“When I got the call I said I was still happy — but they said my bosses weren’t happy. I was under pressure to say I hadn’t seen it.

“I was furious, but no matter what industry you are in, you do what your bosses say. So he was charged and got three matches.”

Halsey’s revelations have been strongly denied by the game’s authorities, but they have thrown into question the integrity of the Professional Game Match Officials association that controls top level referees in English football.