Claims made by former referee Mark Halsey about being told to say he had not seen controversial incidents have been denied by the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL).
Halsey sparked controversy with a series of posts on social media when addressing the appeal by Manchester City against the charge of violent conduct for striker Sergio Aguero from the Football Association.
Aguero was charged retrospectively by the FA after appearing to elbow West Ham’s Winston Reid in the second half of the Premier League game at the Etihad Stadium on August 28.
The incident, after which Reid was pictured holding his neck, was not seen by referee Andre Marriner and his fellow officials during the match nor included in their report.
Had the incident been witnessed by the officials, subsequent disciplinary action could not be taken by the authorities.
The charge was issued after a review panel felt he should have been sent off, and subsequently contested by City, but then rejected.
As a consequence, Aguero will now be banned for City’s next three domestic matches – starting with the derby against Manchester United at Old Trafford on September 10.
In reply to Twitter posts, Halsley – using the account @RefereeHalsey – wrote: “I have been in that situation when I have seen an incident and been told to say I haven’t seen it” and later added: “to be fair to the FA… it’s not them, it comes from with in the PGMOL”
Halsey – who retired in 2013 – also pointed out these were issues he had previously mentioned in his autobiography three years ago.
The PGMOL, however, maintain there is “no pressure” exerted concerning such incidents.
A statement issued by the PGMOL on Saturday evening read: “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.”
Formed in 2001, the PGMOL was established when referees turned professional and aims to improve standards across the Premier League, Football League and FA competitions in England as well as training and development.