Referee Halsey calls in police after Twitter abuse following Anfield clash
21:00 GMT, 24 September 2012
Mark Halsey has made a complaint to Greater Manchester Police after he was the subject of malicious tweets.
The 51-year-old Premier League referee, who has battled cancer, was abused on Twitter following his handling of Liverpool’s game against Manchester United on Sunday. He sent off Liverpool’s Jonjo Shelvey and gave United a controversial late penalty that settled the game.
Off: Shelvey is given his marching orders by Halsey
Two tweets were sent by supporters who claimed to be Liverpool fans, both of which were met with outrage from other users.
One, from an account named @johnwareing1, read: ‘I hope Mark Halsey gets cancer again and dies’ while one from @lfcjohn259 read: ‘Mark Halsey should’ve died of cancer.’
The post from @lfcjohn259 was deleted and the @johnwareing1 account was removed completely. But Halsey, who is expected to referee Tuesday night’s Capital One Cup tie between Southampton and Sheffield Wednesday, was so upset that he has asked GMP to investigate.
Complaint: Halsey has contacted Greater Manchester Police
What action the force can take, though, remains to be seen. Last week Daniel Thomas, who plays for Port Talbot in the Welsh Premier League, was not charged for an abusive tweet about diver Tom Daley because the message was deemed ‘not so grossly offensive that criminal charges need to be brought’. However, the abuse of Halsey has been widely condemned.
A Professional Game Match Officials statement read: ‘Our main concern is towards Mark and his family, and as with all officials, there is a backroom team who are there for them. None of the Select Group match officials are on social media.’
Former Premier League referee Dermot Gallagher said: ‘I know Mark, and he certainly will be shaken. Some things cross the boundaries, and this has.’