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?
I am not conducting a witch-hunt to “persecute” Mr Halsey. He has admitted it. I suspect it’s something to do with the launch of his new book.
Be that as it may it will put unwanted and unwarranted attention on a profession that is constantly under scrutiny and will tar every referee with the same brush.
The Professional Games Match Officials Limited (PGMOL), the body that oversees all premier league referees has come out this week and warned their members about contact between their referees and club managers. That would suggest they knew nothing about this most unsavoury incident.
This same body is run by former referees Mike Riley and Neil Barrie both of whom were mediocre match officials to say the very least. That speaks volumes.
Halsey, in his defence (not mine) claimed that he did it to urge the Man U boss to defend fellow official Mark Clattenberg over allegations of racism toward Chelsea midfielder John Obe Mikel in October 2012. That’s like asking a criminal to act as a character witness.
Doesn’t Mr Halsey realise that most managers hate the sight of referees?
Doesn’t he realise that as far as clubs are concerned referees are an evil necessity?
Does Mr Halsey feel so unloved that he needs to seek the help and support of the “enemy”?
What planet is this guy living on?
He goes on to talk about the threat of suicide among officials who are “placed under the strain of refereeing in high-pressure circumstances in the Premier League.”
My answer to that? Get out of the game then and find some other less pressurised sport and stop whinging, or is that your lame excuse, Mr Halsey, for doing what you did? Or perhaps more to the point – to launch your soon to be published book, which I hope will be boycotted by all fair-minded people and dedicated referees.
I was almost killed Mr Halsey, yes I said killed, on three different occasions in South Africa during my refereeing career. Mr. Halsey you have no idea what pressure is like.
Your conduct is deplorable, despicable and disgusting.
You have done your fellow referees a huge disservice and you have brought shame on the many referees, male and female, who go out weekend after weekend to “ply their trade” in a fair and honest way for little or no reward.
They are not paid as well as you were.
They do not have the comfort of dressing rooms and fancy facilities.
They do not have the luxury of first class travel on international matches and the generous match fees that go with it.
Mr Halsey, I do not wish you any harm. Suffice to say you are a disgrace to your now ex profession and you have given the cynics and conspiracy theorists a field day (excuse the pun).
Enjoy your launch and let’s hope that’s the last we’ll hear from you on refereeing.
About the author: Dr Errol Sweeney (PhD) BBA Dip.PM, aka “The Hanging Judge,” is a former L.o.I and SA Premier League Referee, World Cup Referee & Assistant Referee Coach & Mentor. He coached/mentored a referee to 2 World Cups, Olympic Games, Confederations Cup, 2 U/17 FIFA World Cups and 4 African Nations Cups. He also writes on his own blog at SuperSport.