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Constantine Hatzidakis has spoken for the first time since he appeared to elbow Liverpool’s Andrew Robertson in the Reds’ 2-2 draw with Arsenal on Sunday.
The controversial incident, which happened just moments after match official Paul Tierney whistled for half time, has sparked furious debate online and triggered an investigation by the FA into what occured.
Hatzidakis has been removed from action until that investigation reaches its conclusion and when questioned by the Daily Mail about his altercation with Robertson, the 38-year-old insisted things are happening outside his control.
“Whatever happens, happens” said the assistant referee, who added: “There is nothing more I can say at the moment. I can’t talk about what happened.”
Hatzidakis and Robertson clash on Merseyside
If Sunday’s enthralling clash between Liverpool and Arsenal on Sunday wasn’t action-packed enough, the collision between home defender Andrew Robertson and Constantine Hatzidakis added another major talking point to proceedings.
Just after the half time whistle sounded, broadcast footage showed Andrew Robertson moving to confront Hatzidakis, however, what followed was one of the more bizarre moments of the campaign so far. In response to Robertson’s approach, the linesman appeared to thrust an elbow into the Scot’s throat, landing a blow that seemed to stun the defender.
When the contest at Anfield concluded, the Professional Game Match Officials (PGMOL), who are tasked with allocation fixtures to referees in England, announced that Hatzidakis would not be considered for selection until the FA had finalised their investigation of the incident, while they also revealed that they would be performing their own inquiries too.
Assistant Constantine Hatzidakis is going to be in trouble for this. Clearly raises his elbow after an altercation with Andy Robertson.
— Ben Jacobs (@JacobsBen) April 9, 2023
The fallout from elbow-gate continues
In the second half of Liverpool’s epic 2-2 draw with Arsenal on Sunday, Sky Sports cut to the disembodied voice of touchline reporter Geoff Shreeves, who had the lowdown on what occurred between Robertson and Hatzidakis at half time.
“Andy Robertson was absolutely apoplectic, stunned even. He said ‘The linesman has just elbowed me in the throat’ – Jordan Henderson was well aware of it and led the remonstrations with referee Paul Tierney and after that they got taken away. Extraordinary scenes.”
After full-time, Roy Keane went viral on social media after he refereed to Robertson as a “baby” multiple times in succession, while Hatzidakis was backed up by former referee, Mark Clattenburg, in the media following the unusual clash on Merseyside.
In an opinion piece published by the Dail Mail, Clattenburg said:
“I have studied the footage that the PGMOL will look at and all the angles suggest Andrew Robertson initiated contact with Constantine Hatzidakis before the official reacted by swinging his arm.
“In doing so, Hatzidakis’s elbow appeared to catch Robertson on the chin. Webb will now speak to Hatzidakis to get his side of the story. He should ask Robertson what happened, too.
“Players can push us officials to the limit. They can provoke 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.
“I do not think Hatzidakis meant to catch Robertson with his elbow. But it will be interesting to see how Webb handles this one. It’s an unwanted headache for the PGMOL’s new chief.”
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