Skip to content

Former referee Mark Halsey fears suicide among colleagues

Sep 17, 2013, 1:00 PM EST

FBL-ENG-GRE-LIVERPOOL-OLYMPIAKOS-FRIENDLY Getty Images

Former Premier League referee Mark Halsey believes the pressure on top-flight officials could lead to one of them committing suicide.

The revelation comes from Halsey’s autobiography Added Time, which is being serialised by The Sun.

Halsey believes that more needs to be done in terms of protecting referees from fan abuse, which has increased considerably as a result of social media outlets such as Twitter.

“There is no hiding place on the field and you have to be mentally tough. But it also follows you off the field more and more now and it can destroy you,” Halsey writes.

“I do feel that referees should get more help to cope with the increasing level of mental strain. . . . In my view, given some of the episodes of recent seasons, it will not be long before a referee has a nervous breakdown. . . . I also believe that if we do not do something to help referees with mental health and stress issues, then we could see a suicide.”

Professional referees committing suicide is not a new issue in professional football. In November 2011, Bundesliga referee Babak Rafati was reported to have tried to commit suicide before the kickoff of a match between Cologne and Mainz.

Fortunately, Rafati was found and treated. Speaking on the incident, German Football Association president Theo Zwanziger said: “The pressure in professional sports is unbelievably high. We just don’t manage to bring the right balance into it. No-one should be in such a hopeless situation.”

Two years later and Halsey’s remarks come as a stark reminder of the pressure that professional referees face on a daily basis.

Latest Posts
  1. Toronto FC unveil new primary jersey for 2015 MLS season

    Feb 26, 2015, 11:37 PM EST

    Photo credit: MLSsoccer.com Photo credit: MLSsoccer.com

    It’s red — lots of red — and “All For One.” Do you dig it?

  2. Ahead of Capital One Cup final, Thibaut Courtois admits he’s never been in a PK shootout

    Feb 26, 2015, 11:10 PM EST

    Thibaut Courtois, Chelsea FC Getty Images

    Petr Cech has been in plenty of PK shootouts for Chelsea, but Courtois has never done it.

  3. CONCACAF Champions League: D.C. United battered by Alajualense, 5-2

    Feb 26, 2015, 10:32 PM EST

    Andrew Dykstra, D.C. United Andrew Dykstra, D.C. United

    *sigh* Another MLS team gets hammered in CCL, and we’re (probably) down to one last hope.

  4. Keller, Hejduk, Conrad headline 13 new eligibles for National Soccer HOF

    Feb 26, 2015, 8:15 PM EST

    Kasey Keller & Frankie Hejduk, USMNT Kasey Keller & Frankie Hejduk, USMNT

    It’s a who’s-who of USMNT, USWNT and MLS stars who are now eligible for the U.S. Soccer HOF.

  5. World War II bomb found, defused near Borussia Dortmund stadium

    Feb 26, 2015, 6:51 PM EST

    Signal Iduna Park, Borussia Dortmund Getty Images

    A 550-pound British bomb was found near Dortmund’s stadium on Thursday. That’s a little bit crazy.

  6. Chelsea signs five-year, $300-million Yokohama jersey sponsorship deal

    Feb 26, 2015, 6:13 PM EST

    Juan Cuadrado, Chelsea FC Juan Cuadrado, Chelsea FC

    Five years, $300 million — the going rate for prime real estate on a top PL team’s jersey.

  7. Europa League roundup: Tottenham, Liverpool out; Everton, La Liga sides advance

    Feb 26, 2015, 5:05 PM EST

    Romelu Lukaku, Everton FC Getty Images

    The Premier League’s nightmare week in European competition continued on Thursday.

  8. Besiktas 1-0 (1-1) Liverpool: Arslan makes, Lovren misses final PK as Reds go out of Europe

    Feb 26, 2015, 3:44 PM EST

    Atiba Hutchinson, Joe Allen AP

    It took kicks to settle the UEFA Europa League tie between Besiktas and Liverpool after both clubs won 1-0 home legs.

  9. Fiorentina ousts Tottenham from the Europa League with 2-0 win at the Stadio Artemio Franchi

    Feb 26, 2015, 2:59 PM EST

    FBL-EUR-C3-TOTTENHAM-FIORENTINA Getty Images

    The shots may’ve been even, but Spurs had 2/3 possession for much of the night.

  10. Scottish teen star gets in trouble for throwing muffins at McDonald’s

    Feb 26, 2015, 2:36 PM EST

    Hearts v Hibs - Scottish Championship Getty Images

    Cummings’ manager is backing him up, too, and the Scotland U-19 forward has 11 goals in 23 matches for Hibs this season.

  11. Strike season? Real Salt Lake owner calls free agency “go nowhere conversation”

    Feb 26, 2015, 1:46 PM EST

    Chivas USA v Real Salt Lake Getty Images

    If you believe the words from Real Salt Lake owner Dell Loy Hansen on local radio last night, you probably want to prepare for a work stoppage in MLS.

  12. Serbian player threatened at gunpoint after missing late penalty

    Feb 26, 2015, 12:42 PM EST

    http://www.novosti.rs/ http://www.novosti.rs/

    It had to be a terrifying incident for the team, let alone the player.

  13. Pontius, DC United represent lone U.S. team left in CONCACAF Champions League

    Feb 26, 2015, 11:50 AM EST

    DC United v Real Salt Lake - 2013 U.S. Open Cup Final Getty Images

    Kickoff is at 8pm ET, with the return leg in DC on Wednesday.

  14. Southampton’s Koeman calls winter World Cup wrong, quips “Maybe I’ll be English manager”

    Feb 26, 2015, 11:05 AM EST

    Koeman AP

    Koeman, like many of us, thinks it’s a little wild to keep talking about 2022 in 2015.

  15. Cancer-battler Jonas Gutierrez set to return to Newcastle United side this weekend

    Feb 26, 2015, 10:16 AM EST

    chroniclelive.co.uk chroniclelive.co.uk

    Gone for now is the trademark ponytail due to the cancer battle, but Jonas’ spirit has been and will be a big boost for the Magpies.

  16. Sponsor-altered Liverpool crest alienates some Reds fans; Apology issued

    Feb 26, 2015, 9:25 AM EST

    LiverpoolLogo

    Dunkin’ Donuts has issued an apology after their doctoring of the Liverpool logo offended some fans.

  17. Is Manchester United legend Paul Scholes in line for a managerial job in League One?

    Feb 26, 2015, 8:39 AM EST

    FBL-ENG-SALFORD CITY-CLASS OF 92 Getty Images

    Scholes, 40, would be a high-profile move for the Latics, and Oldham says it won’t rush to hire a replacement.

  18. Back in MLS, Juan Agudelo works to regain his USMNT trajectory

    Feb 26, 2015, 7:48 AM EST

    agudeloHS2015

    He was without a team for a while, exploring other European clubs before deciding to return to New England.

  19. WATCH: This Asian Champions League goal was struck really, really well

    Feb 25, 2015, 11:00 PM EST

    Al-Nahda_Badge

    The midfielder takes a quick dribble and lashes a left-footed shot that pings off the inside of the net and rockets around the back.

  20. Spanish report claims Louis van Gaal and David De Gea have not spoken in months

    Feb 25, 2015, 10:11 PM EST

    David De Gea Getty Images

    The lanky 24-year-old goalkeeper has a contract that runs through the 2016 season and has been a massive part of United’s rise up the table.