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Former Premier League referee Mark Halsey slams Simon Hooper for his errors in Norwich City defeat

PUBLISHED: 12:42 11 August 2015 | UPDATED: 08:58 12 August 2015

Bradley Johnson celebrates Cameron Jerome's strike that referee Simon Hooper disallowed for a high foot. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Bradley Johnson celebrates Cameron Jerome's strike that referee Simon Hooper disallowed for a high foot. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

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Former Premier League referee Mark Halsey has been scathing in his criticism of Simon Hooper’s performance in Norwich City’s 3-1 opening weekend defeat to Crystal Palace.

Hooper - who has not been awarded a Premier League game this coming weekend - controversially disallowed Cameron Jerome’s bicycle kick goal for dangerous play at a crucial stage in the second half at Carrow Road.

The Wiltshire official, making his first appearance as a Premier League referee, also turned down strong penalty claims when Seb Bassong appeared to be shoved inside the Eagles’ box by Connor Wickham deep in stoppage time.

Halsey, who retired from the game in 2013 after battling back from throat cancer, believes Hooper got both big calls wrong.

“For me the overhead kick from Cameron Jerome was a fantastic goal, that’s what fans pay a lot of money to see,” he said. “It should have been awarded, it wasn’t dangerous play, he was in front of the defender, the defender’s gone to try and head the ball away so the goal should have been given – that was the wrong decision. Simon Hooper went looking for trouble when he should have just given the goal and got the hell out of it. He’s also got wrong the push by Connor Wickham on Sebastien Bassong, it’s an absolutely blatant penalty. He’s in a great position, he’s looking straight at it – how’s he not seen that as a penalty?”

Halsey, writing in his blog for social media web site KICCA, felt Hooper had set the tone for his afternoon by failing to book Glenn Murray for an early lunging challenge on Graham Dorrans.

Alex Tettey was later cautioned for hauling down Pape Souare in a decision which incensed the home crowd.

“Norwich City fans can feel very disappointed and upset,” said Halsey. “He lost his chance to stamp his authority on the game early on. You look at the challenge – if it’s careless then it’s a free-kick, nothing else.

“If it’s reckless, it’s a free-kick and a yellow card. If it’s a reckless challenge that endangers the player’s safety with excessive force, it’s a red card for serious foul play.

“I know it was early in the game, a lot of experienced referees would’ve red carded that, but for me, you could accept it if a yellow card had come out. But he lost his chance to stamp his authority.”


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