Former Premier League referee Mark Halsey has caused something of a stir in the footballing world of late by making allegations of corruption within the officials sector in English football.
The claim was that referees had been asked to lie as to whether they had seen an incident, with Halsey himself falling into this bracket.
Sun Sport has now exclusively revealed the incident which the 55-year-old was told to lie about in order for the referee chiefs to enforce a more serious punishment on the player involved.
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It was back in 2011 in a match between Blackburn Rovers and Stoke City. Steven N'Zonzi, now of Sevilla, clashed with the Potters' Ryan Shawcross and Halsey deemed that the minor coming together did not equal a red card for the Frenchman.
However, he was then asked to say he had not witnessed the incident, allowing the hierarchy above him to take control of the matter and give N'Zonzi a three match ban.
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Halsey said: "“I saw the incident between Nzonzi and Shawcross and was happy it was not a red card.
“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.
“I know it goes on because other referees have told me.
“Nothing can happen because nobody can say anything publically as a referee.
“But I suspect it does go on. There are outside influences on different situations.”
Halsey also suggest that similar incidents have occurred with other referees in the past, citing Lee Mason's ordeal with Wayne Rooney swearing into the camera as an example:
“I was in the same boat as Mason that time when Rooney swore into a TV camera in a game at West Ham.
“No referee would have sent him off for that but Lee came under pressure to report that he hadn’t seen it but would have given a red card if he had seen it.
“That way, as in my case, the FA could take retrospective action.”
Halsey believes referees are put in an impossible position, one in which they cannot speak out and must obey the wishes of those above them.