Mark Halsey

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Mark Halsey
Mark Halsey.jpg
Full name Mark R. Halsey
Born (1961-07-08) 8 July 1961 (age 55)
Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, England
Years League Role
Mid-1990s – 1999 The Football League Referee
1999–2013 Premier League Referee
Years League Role
2000–2006 FIFA listed Referee

Mark R. Halsey (born 8 July 1961)[1] is a retired English professional football referee who was born in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, later based in Bolton, Greater Manchester.[2] Halsey primarily refereed in the Premier League from 1999 to 2013 and was on the league's list of Select Group Referees from its creation in 2001 until his retirement.

His first Premier League appointment was a fixture between Wimbledon and Coventry City in August 1999 and over the course of his professional career he refereed a number of notable matches, including the FA Community Shield in 2007 and the 2008 final of the Football League Cup.

In 2009 Halsey underwent chemotherapy to treat a cancerous tumour in his throat. He returned to refereeing in the top-flight in 2010. He announced his retirement at the end of the 2012–13 season.


Early career[edit]

Halsey spent 12 years playing non-League football with teams such as Cambridge City and Hertford Town before he started refereeing in 1989. In December 1984 he played one game for Barnet before joining St. Albans City.

Halsey was a National List referee for the Football League from the mid-1990s until 1999.[2] He refereed the 1999 Second Division play-off final between Gillingham and Manchester City at Wembley Stadium, which City won 3–1 on penalties (the match having finishing 2–2 after extra time).[3]

Select Group and FIFA lists[edit]

In 1999 Halsey was promoted to become a Premier League referee, his first appointment being a 1–1 draw in August of that year between Wimbledon and Coventry City.[4]

In 2000, Halsey was added to the FIFA list of referees, officiating in the Toulon Tournament of that year. In 2001 he was a referee for the football tournament at the World Student Games in Beijing and in 2002 at the FIFA World Disabled Championships, held in Japan.[5]

Also in 2002, he was appointed as fourth official to Mike Riley for the FA Cup final at the Millennium Stadium, where Arsenal defeated Chelsea 2–0.[6]

Halsey's first major FIFA appointment came in 2004 when he refereed a friendly match between Belgium and France in Brussels.[5][7]

In August 2007 Halsey took charge of the FA Community Shield match between Manchester United and Chelsea at Wembley Stadium. After the game finished 1–1 after extra-time, the Premier League title holders United defeated FA Cup holders Chelsea 3–0 on penalties.

In 2008 Halsey was appointed to referee the League Cup final between Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea. One incident of note which Halsey was required to act upon was the guidance given by assistant Martin Yerby which led to a penalty kick being awarded to Spurs in the 70th minute, after Chelsea's Wayne Bridge handled the ball. The penalty was converted to bring Tottenham back onto level terms and ultimately take the game into extra-time; they went on to win 2–1.[8] Some Chelsea players and staff were unhappy with the timing of the full-time whistle. The fourth official indicated three minutes of injury time to be played, and Halsey blew the whistle just as Salomon Kalou was entering the Tottenham penalty area with the ball.[9] Law 5 of the Laws of the Game states that the referee may blow his whistle at any time, and he does not have to wait for an attack to finish.[10] Kalou hit the post with his shot and the game was over.

Cancer treatment and return to refereeing[edit]

In August 2009 Halsey announced he had been diagnosed with a non-Hodgkin lymphoma and had undergone surgery to remove a cancerous tumour in his throat. The news came months after Halsey's wife was diagnosed with leukaemia; she will require drugs courses for the rest of her life to treat the disease. Halsey relinquished his refereeing duties during his treatment, which included fortnightly chemotherapy and courses of radiation.[11]

In March 2010 Halsey passed a referees' fitness test. His first game back after his treatment was Leicester City's reserves team versus Scunthorpe United's reserves. He was due to referee a League Two match between Accrington Stanley and Barnet on 30 March 2010, however it was postponed because of a waterlogged pitch. He returned to oversee another League Two fixture, between Rotherham United and Port Vale, a few days later.[12] On 9 August 2010, following his officiating of a friendly at Everton,[13] it was confirmed that Halsey was to return to the Premier League starting with the opening-day fixture, five days later, between Wigan Athletic and Blackpool.[14]

Latter years and retirement[edit]

In September 2012, Halsey made a formal complaint to the police after two abusive messages were posted to him on Twitter that referred to his treatment for cancer. The messages were sent following a fixture between Liverpool and Manchester United in which Halsey sent-off Liverpool's Jonjo Shelvey and awarded United a late penalty kick to win the match 2–1. A man from Liverpool was ultimately cautioned by police over the messages.[15] Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson had said after the match that he thought Shelvey's tackle was a "clear" red card but Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers suggested that Halsey should also have dismissed the United player, Jonny Evans, who was involved in the challenge.[16]

Halsey was involved in controversy during a Premier League match between Wigan Athletic and Newcastle United on 17 March 2013 when he missed a challenge by Wigan's Callum McManaman on Newcastle's Massadio Haidara, which many commentators said should have warranted a straight red card.[17][18] Halsey later missed an apparent handball in the build-up to Wigan's winning goal in the game. The official later apologised for having missed McManaman's tackle, his view being obstructed by another player, but McManaman escaped any retrospective ban because the assistant referee reported that he had seen the incident and had decided not to take action at the time.[19][20]

Halsey announced his retirement from refereeing at the end of the 2012–13 season; his final game was a Premier League fixture between Manchester City versus Norwich City on 19 May 2013, which finished 3–2 to visitors Norwich. The crowd at the game gave Halsey what he described as a "great reception" and added that he hoped his comeback after his illness had been an "inspiration" to other cancer sufferers.[21]

He subsequently joined the pundit crew on BT Sport's television coverage to provide analysis of refereeing decisions during Premier League matches.[22]


Season Games Total Booked Booked per game Total Red card Red card per game
1997–98 42 161 3.83 5 0.11
1998–99 46 111 2.41 2 0.04
1999–2000 38 96 2.52 8 0.21
2000–01 33 101 3.06 10 0.30
2001–02 37 118 3.18 7 0.18
2002–03 34 75 2.20 6 0.17
2003–04 41 81 1.97 5 0.12
2004–05 32 60 1.87 2 0.06
2005–06 38 54 1.42 6 0.15
2006–07 42 103 2.45 9 0.21
2007–08 41 86 2.09 5 0.12
2008–09 44 73 1.65 3 0.06
2009–10 6 8 1.33 0 0.00
2010–11 34 68 2.00 1 0.03
2011–12 33 75 2.27 0 0.00
2012–13 30 62 2.07 3 0.10

Statistics are for all competitions. There are no available records prior to 1997–98.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Birthdate confirmation: website.
  2. ^ a b Places of residence and Football League list mentions: website.
  3. ^ 1999 Championship Play-off Final: website.
  4. ^ First ever Premier League appointment: website.
  5. ^ a b Profile: YNWA website.
  6. ^ 2002 FA Cup Final match report: website.
  7. ^ Belgium v. France, 2004: FootballUnited website.
  8. ^ Carling Cup Final, penalty awarded to Tottenham: match report from the Daily Record website. Retrieved on 25 February 2008.
  9. ^ Criticism from Peter Cech about when Halsey ended the game: Eurosport website. Retrieved on 26 February 2008. Archived 28 February 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
  10. ^ "Law 5 – The Referee" (including timekeeping powers): website. Retrieved on 26 February 2008.
  11. ^ Referee Mark Halsey speaks out after learning cancer is in remission, 6 Dec 2009, The Bolton News
  12. ^ "Referee Mark Halsey makes emotional return". BBC Sport. 4 April 2010. Retrieved 4 April 2010. 
  13. ^ Brotherhood Cup
  14. ^ "Halsey Takes Charge". Blackpool F.C. 9 August 2010. Retrieved 11 August 2010. 
  15. ^ "Liverpool fan who abused Halsey on Twitter after United defeat cautioned by police". Daily Mail. 28 September 2012. 
  16. ^ "Referee Mark Halsey complains to police about Twitter abuse following Manchester United's win over Liverpool". Daily Telegraph. 24 September 2012. 
  17. ^ "Wigan 2 Newcastle 1: Referee blunders gift Martinez a massive win in survival fight". Daily Mail. 17 March 2013. 
  18. ^ "Premier League: Wigan seal vital home victory against Newcastle". Sky Sports. 18 March 2013. 
  19. ^ "Newcastle United's Massadio Haidara suffers bad injury". Shield Gazette. 17 March 2013. 
  20. ^ "Video- Callum McManaman Haidara Challenge- McManaman tackle on Massadio Haidara NUFC Wigan 2013". Soccer Blogger. 17 March 2013. 
  21. ^ "It's not just Fergie and Carra signing off ... Scholes, Owen and Harper say goodbye as Premier League bids farewell to stars". Daily Mail. 20 May 2013. 
  22. ^

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Martin Atkinson
FA Community Shield
Succeeded by
Peter Walton
Preceded by
Howard Webb
League Cup Final
Succeeded by
Chris Foy