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Refereeing – the most unthankful, ungrateful, yet most rewarding job, but not for the faint hearted!

Howard WebbAs the headline says, refereeing is a very difficult and unrewarding “profession.” It takes time, effort and money just to have the honor and distinction of being a referee.


Now don’t expect to get any plaudits or compliments from players or fans - not a chance. Well, perhaps that’s not strictly true. You will get the occasional “well done ref” from a team when they win, if you’re lucky.


A few weeks ago I wrote a blog asking the question “Who wants to be a referee? Hands up, anyone?” The response was tremendous. Not from prospective referees, but from existing ones who understand what it’s like to go out on a weekend and suffer insults and abuse and run the gauntlet of overzealous parents who think their little Johnny is the next Lionel Messi or Christiano Ronaldo.


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Attack on assistant referee raises serious safety questions once more.

Smoke Bomb Hits RefereeAn assistant referee was hit by a flare/smoke bomb in an English Premier League game on Sunday October 20, 2013.


This appalling incident happened during the Aston Villa v Tottenham Hotspurs game at Villa Park in Birmingham (central England).


Fortunately the assistant referee, David Bryan, was uninjured and decided he was OK to continue his duties.

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Who wants to be a referee? Hands up, anyone?!


Ok all you loud mouthed, beer swilling, arm chair experts – which one of you wants to be a referee? Come on, step forward – who wants to take on the challenge?


Ah, it’s not for you is it? You’d rather go out to a game whether it is MLS or kiddies game on a Sunday morning and lambaste the unfortunate person in the middle with the whistle.


You’d rather stand there on the line and scream out your very biased opinion as to which decision the referee should give and sometimes advise him or her as to where he/she can stick his/her whistle.


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Sir Alex and referee Halsey – the tip of the iceberg?


Mark Halsey, the former premier league referee in the UK has admitted that he broke the protocol set out by the Professional Game and Match Officials Ltd (PGMOL) when he made direct contact with Sir Alex Ferguson the then manager of Manchester United and this has provoked some searching questions as to the nature of relationships between managers, club officials, players and referees. 



There will be those who will argue that this was a one-off situation. However, the desperation with which Halsey appears to put himself in the pocket of one of the country’s leading football figures is surely a cause for concern.


“It took time to gain Sir Alex Ferguson’s respect,” Halsey says, “but in the end we had a very good relationship.” What the hell does that mean?


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Referee Mark Halsey – a “traitor” to refereeing


There’s no greater enemy than one from within. A colleague, a team-mate, a countryman who betrays his own, regardless of the reason.



Just this week it was revealed by ex English Premier League referee Mark Halsey that he was in regular phone contact with former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson.




Now I ask myself:


  • How much contact was there between Mr Halsey and Sir Alex?
  • Were any special favours asked or given?
  • Did Mr Halsey act alone or were others involved?
  • Was the PGMOL, the referee’s body in England, aware of this?


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