Mark Halsey accused of 'betraying' fellow referees after criticising top-flight referees of lacking fitness

Graham Poll has said other officials have been 'appalled' by Halsey's actions

Former referee Mark Halsey has been berated by Graham Poll for “betraying” his fellow officials - and accused of wearing a Bolton kit with his own squad number to training sessions.

Halsey, who has made a number of controversial allegations in his recent book, claimed some statistics show many top-flight referees are not up to the job.

Poll, a fellow ex-Premier League referee, hit back, however, and said Halsey should be ignored. Halsey used to train with Bolton until the Professional Game Match Officials (PGMO) banned officials training with teams, and Poll revealed he even used to wear a Bolton strip - contrary to instructions.

Poll told talkSPORT: "The sensible thing would be to ignore him. It is what people did at the referees' camp for a long time when he used to turn up with his Bolton kit to train rather than the kit that we all had on.

"He had a squad number at Bolton and we were told what to wear to train as a group and he ignored that and was on his own. Maybe he is getting back at people."

Poll said referees as a whole were "appalled" by Halsey's actions.

He added: "He is 100 per cent betraying what paid him a living, which he would never have earned as the warehouse manager he was or the taxi driver he was.

"The refereeing fraternity is absolutely appalled at what he is doing. He hasn't thought it through.

"I think it is absolutely appalling. Mark has got to take a long, hard look at himself. He won't. I know the guy. I have known him for years. He is that type of character, I'm afraid.

"I would never buy the book and I hope lots of people don't as well."

Halsey responded by saying the pair do not get on and accused Poll of letting the profession down.

"Not for me to comment about Graham," Halsey said.

"He was a fantastic referee and we'll leave it at that. I've not let the profession down. If anybody is letting the profession down, some of his comments over the years have been atrocious.

"I found that 'unfitting' from him what he's come out with. But that's Graham. We don't get on and I don't like the way he's done things over the years."

The Premier League would not comment on Halsey's claims.

The 52-year-old, who hung up his whistle at the end of last season, was earlier on Tuesday quoted as blaming an "atmosphere of fear and paranoia" created by the referees' body for the below-par standard of officiating.

He reckons only eight of the current crop are good enough and believes referees' chief Mike Riley and his assistant Keren Barratt are part of the problem.

"Don't get me wrong, there are some really top referees out there," he told The Sun.

"I reckon currently there is a 'great eight', in no particular order: Mark Clattenburg, Howard Webb, Mike Dean, Andre Marriner, Lee Probert, Martin Atkinson, Phil Dowd and Chris Foy.

"But as for the other 10 on the elite list, well... some are just not up to it while others need more experience, better nurturing and coaching."

That puts referees including Mike Jones, Kevin Friend and Lee Mason on Halsey's list of those who are not good enough.

Halsey believes much of the blame lies with the PGMO as well as its general manager Riley and select group manager Barratt.

"(PGMO) is running the whole show on an apparent power trip while creating an atmosphere of fear and paranoia," Halsey said.

"That is not helping the weaker officials improve and the system often confuses and frequently frustrates the best referees who get mixed messages about what is expected of them."

Halsey believes the wrong officials are often picked for big games and blames that on Riley and Barratt.

He added: "Riley had a reputation for being an over-fussy and pedantic ref.

"And his manner as general manager of elite referees - whereby he liaises with the Premier League and League Managers' Association - appears not to have changed."

Halsey described Barratt, and the dual role he plays as both their boss and the man who draws up the match lists and offers advice as a "mentor", as a "big problem".

He said: "How can he do that (be their mentor) when he wears another hat as head of the evaluation committee, which adjudicates and has the power to mark down referees, axe officials from matches or ultimately kick them off the list?

"There is a clear potential conflict of interest in the two roles."

PA

News
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Sport
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
football
Sport
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
film
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
News
BBC broadcaster and presenter Evan Davis, who will be taking over from Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight
peopleForget Paxman - what will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Life and Style
fashionCustomer complained about the visibly protruding ribs
Voices
The new dawn heralded by George Osborne has yet to rise
voicesJames Moore: As the Tories rub their hands together, the average voter will be asking why they're not getting a piece of the action
Sport
Dejan Lovren celebrates scoring for Southampton although the goal was later credited to Adam Lallana
sport
News
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
life
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little