Pitchside Europe

BT Sport’s Halsey ‘fears Premier League plot to see him red carded’

Mark Halsey was used to dishing out the red cards in his 14 years as a professional Premier League referee.

Now the former whistler - who retired in 2013 before embarking on some punditry work - fears being sent for an early bath by the people who he used to represent.

Halsey has apparently claimed Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore is out to silence him on air and in print.

Halsey has been a notable omission from his role as a BT Sport analyst alongside the new channel's match commentators after penning a recent newspaper column berating standards of officiating in England's top league.

He was also critical of referee chief Mike Riley, calling for Riley to fall on his sword.

The Premier League has denied being behind BT's decision to demote Halsey.

[BT Sport 'banishes Halsey to studio role']

[Scudamore launches scathing attack on BT Sport's Halsey]

It claims chief executive Scudamore was in China on official business when Halsey's comments regarding the standard of officiating were published.

Halsey has reportedly sent an email to lawyers in London claiming that Scudamore has his fingers all over the messy situation to see him sent off, but he is not taking legal action.

The Daily Mail claims to have seen the email from Halsey that reads: "Richard Scudamore rang Marc Watson, the head man of BT, demanding they sack me. I received a phone call from Grant Best (BT Sport executive) telling me I had been stood down due to the article."

It has been claimed Scudamore contacted Best about removing Halsey after the newspaper serialisation of his book last September.

The Daily Mail also says Scudamore apparently discussed the matter with The Sun newspaper, who have carried Halsey's criticism about the standard of referees.