In case you didn’t already know, former top-flight referee and no doubt full-time jobsworth, Mark Halsey, revealed a stark and worrying supposed truth via Twitter, last Friday.
Paul I have been in that situation when I have seen an incident and been told to say I haven't seen it
— Mark Halsey (@RefereeHalsey) September 2, 2016
Amidst the bleak boredom that accompanies an international break came Halsey’s bombshell regarding the PGMOL -who, for everyone who haven’t worked it out, are the Professional Game Match Officials Ltd (of course) – by suggesting they encourage officials to turn a blind eye at certain convenient times.
The revelation followed Sergio Aguero’s three-game ban after what was retrospectively deemed by the FA to be violent conduct in Man City’s game against West Ham. The referee at the time was Andre Marriner, who claimed not to see the incident, despite watching it unfold in front of him. Marriner has also claimed to house Tupac in his garage and breed flying pigs. You decide if the porkies aren’t just in the sky…
However, whether Mark Halsey was just looking for a shit tonne of retweets or making a genuine – and very concerning – statement about the level of corruption in English football, his tweets have sparked nationwide angst and interest.
Mark is that not corrupt!! I'd like to know who told you to say that!!! https://t.co/IC2KmsexF7
— Gary Neville (@GNev2) September 3, 2016
Despite the lack of clarity as to the severity of the accusation (doesn’t it just mean the FA can deservedly ban Aguero?), it does set alarm bells ringing. Because, if Halsey is correct – and there’s little cause to suggest he’d be lying – then English football is in a far worse a state than we already know. For all the beauty that shrouds the game in this country and all we have to gloat about, even the slightest notion of corruption that directly interferes with a season’s outcome is detrimental. Yes, we all knew Sepp Blatter was as bent as a sickle and FIFA were taking colossal bribes as to where the World Cup would be hosted; but this is different. This is right in front of us in our own country, from our own governing boards designed to protect our own beloved and magnificent game.
If those employed to keep the game’s officials in line are the ones twisting and bending their own set of rules, then how on earth can we expect players and officials alike not to be influencing the game similarly? If Halsey, Marriner and every other ref out there is being told by the people who employ them to pretend they hadn’t noticed foul-play, why wouldn’t they take bribes and the like if they were corrupting the game regardless? And if turning a blind eye to a referee’s truthful revelations such as Marriner (possibly) having seen Aguero’s MMA-style elbow is okay, how much further will the officiating elite go to cover their arses and subsequently taint the game?
Fergie : "Just mek sure u tek care of mi team boss"
Clattenburg: "Cool nuh man yuh a go bait up di ting" pic.twitter.com/PB2YlCu10I
— Lumar?? (@Lumos7) May 21, 2016
The PGMOL have released the following statement:
Match officials submit their reports, including critical incidents, directly to the FA. Match officials ensure that their reports are a full and accurate description of the incident.
There is no pressure from the PGMOL to include or omit anything.
What this statement actually says is “We’ll deny everything until it blows over. You’d never heard of us before this so blame the FA instead.”
It’s an impossible situation for us, the fans. Who should we trust? Has someone from the PGMOL been name-calling Halsey or been up to no good with his missus? Perhaps the former official is getting his own back, who knows. However, the fact he was willing to risk his reputation suggests it’s nothing to ignore. Either way, the fact that Marriner insists he didn’t see the incident in question is bizarre to say the least. Perhaps refuting the decision, but not seeing it at all? Seems a bit off, Andy. It goes some way to supporting what Halsey has said however, and that should fill English football with worry.
So next time the game becomes suspect, Marriner, we’re looking at you…
On this day two years ago: Andre Marriner sent off Kieran Gibbs for a handball committed by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. pic.twitter.com/V0oxw0Ziou
— FourFourTweet (@FourFourTweet) March 22, 2016