Football

FA to Investigate Assistant Referee Over Andy Robertson Elbow Incident

FA to Investigate Assistant Referee Over Andy Robertson Elbow Incident

The English Football Association (FA) have confirmed that they are set to investigate Assistant Referee, Constantine Hatzidakis after he was accused of elbowing Andy Robertson in Liverpool’s 2-2 draw with Arsenal on Sunday afternoon.

The incident occurred at the end of the first half when Robertson approached Hatzidakis to confront him about a couple of decisions that he had made in the opening 45 minutes. In an attempt to brush the left-back off, Hatzidakis appeared to catch him with his elbow which provoked a commotion as the players went into the tunnel at half-time.

Accompanied by captain Jordan Henderson, Robertson made a beeline for Paul Tierney, the match referee. After becoming too aggressive, Robertson was booked by Tierney and the players went in for half time. Geoff Shreeves, the matchday reporter for SkySports, has said that Robertson went down the tunnel shouting that the linesman had elbowed him.

With an investigation now set to take place, the refereeing body PGMOL have said that they “will not be appointing Constantine Hatzidakis to fixtures in any of the competition” until the FA have completed everything they need to do. 

Referees react

A number of former Premier League officials have made their feelings known on the incident, which dominated the back pages on Monday morning. Keith Hackett, who refereed in the Premier Leauge between 1992-1994 told the BBC that Hatzidakis had “clearly lost his composure”. He added:

“I was trying to find an excuse as to why he did it and I came up with was he in fear? He shouldn’t be because he’s in a protected environment with plenty of security but he reacted in a way that he shouldn’t. 

“If he is found guilty of this, his career is in jeopardy. The ban on Aleksandar Mitrovic wasn’t long enough, so this has got to be the equivalent if he is found guilty. I would like the FA to convene a meeting this week and resolve the issue by the weekend.”

Meanwhile, Mark Clattenburg hasn’t been quite as harsh on Hatzidakis and has claimed that Robertson “initiated the contact”. The 48-year-old told the Daily Mail:

“Players can push us officials to the limit. They can provoke you to the point where you are probably tempted to give them something in return. But under no circumstances can we can respond. Certainly not physically. Hatzidakis did and there will now be a clamour for him to be banned but I don’t think Hatzidakis meant to catch Robertson with his elbow.”

Reaction from the other side

There has also been reaction from a number of ex-professional players. Chris Sutton has said that Hatzidakis “has to be banned” and that “you can’t have assistants throwing elbows.” Sutton had a similar viewpoint when Aleksandar Mitrovic got physical with Chris Kavanagh last month.

Gary Neville has suggested that the assistant referee should face some level of punishment for coming into physical contact with a player but doesn’t believe it should be severe. Meanwhile, Roy Keane – who was working as a pundit for SkySports on the match, called Robertson a “big baby” for his role in the confrontation.


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