Former Premier League referee Mark Halsey has admitted he booked a player who asked for a caution so he did not miss a big top-flight derby game.
Halsey, who took charge of fixtures in the Premier League between 1999 and 2013, revealed the story in a discussion regarding the possibility of players deliberating earning bookings.
Asked by CNN Sport whether a player had tried to get booked in a match he was refereeing, Halsey replied: “The answer, honestly, is yes, I have.
“I have had a player ask me, ‘Would I caution him?’ They were playing on Saturday, they had a midweek game and then on the following Saturday they had a massive derby game. I was politely asked would I caution him.”
Asked whether he did caution the player in a game in 2011, Halsey added: “Yes, I did.
“I said, ‘Listen, when I give a decision against you next time’ – because I knew it would happen because he was always getting cautioned anyway – ‘just boot that ball 50 yards down the other end and I can then caution you for dissent by action’. He thanked me after the game.”
In 2013, the Football Association gave then-Leyton Orient midfielder Romain Vincelot a one-match ban for deliberately picking up a yellow card to trigger a suspension.
Vincelot was due to miss a Football League Trophy match, rather than a League One game, after incurring his fifth booking of that season.
However, the FA’s suspension meant he was sidelined for Orient’s league contest with Preston too.
Halsey later replied to a user on Twitter saying he had told the player to “do something stupid” if they wanted to be booked.
He wrote: “It’s all in my autobiography John that came out 4 years ago my friend, was asked I need a caution I replied do something stupid and you will get cautioned,and he did end of story.”