Football referees receive support

Psychological support is available to all football referees who have difficulties coping with different aspects of the sport. This is according to the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL), which was speaking in response to news that Mark Halsey, who officiated the match between Liverpool and Manchester United on Sunday (September 23rd), had been subjected to abuse on Twitter following the tie.

During the game, Mr Halsey sent off Liverpool player Jonjo Shelvey and awarded United a penalty as the team from Manchester went on to secure victory.

Following reports that some Liverpool supporters sent messages via the microblogging site to Mr Halsey that referenced him dying of cancer, the PGMOL explained: "Our main concern is towards Mark and his family and like with all match officials there is a backroom team who are there for them."

The body noted referees have had access to a sports psychologist in recent years, adding the support of colleagues is vital whenever officials come in for criticism.