Referee Steve Bennett claims top players get themselves booked to go on holiday

Posted by - February 9, 2009 - Premier League

The Great Disciplinary Swindle

Steve Bennett will be asked to explain himself to the Professional Game Match Officials Limited after telling a News of the World undercover reporter that top players deliberately get booked or sent-off to ensure that they are suspended when they have booked family holidays.

Bennett claimed one top player came into his dressing room before a match to ask him for a booking. He said: ““He’s come in the dresser beforehand . . . he came into the dressing room on my mother’s life and said I need one more yellow card. So I gave him a yellow card and, ‘No, no, no, no,’ he says, ‘On the pitch’. It’s up to you.”

In a separate allegation, the official claimed that a player told him he was going to get booked to avoid an away trip to a far-flung ground. Bennett said: “XXXXXX certainly said it to me, ‘I ain’t, I don’t want to play against f****** XXXXXX’. And what about XXXXXX’s tackle at XXXXXX?”

And perhaps the most concerning disclosure of all, fellow referees Mike Dean and Howard Webb were apparently busy singing You’ll Never Walk Alone while this sting was taking place!