Assistant referee Konstantine Hatzidakis appears to have deliberately elbowed Andy Robertson in the neck when the Scotsman went to complain about the linesman’s effort in the first half against Arsenal, after referee Paul Tierney requested a break at half-time at Anfield. Hatzidakis was supposedly stepping on the glue when Gabriel Jesus filmed himself for a free-kick down at the corner flag in the first half infuriating the Scotsman, so he went to the assistant referee.
Referees association PGMOL confirmed on Monday that the FA is investigating the incident, meanwhile stating that Hatzidakis will not be appointed to any further refereeing duties as long as the investigation is ongoing.
In the aftermath, former Premier League referee Peter Walton came out and defended Hatzidakis. Instead, he shifts responsibility for the accident onto Robertson.
– Of course, Konstantin Hatzidakis shouldn’t have pushed his elbow against Andrew Robertson. All referees must adhere to PGMOL standards and may be reprimanded. But I think the footage available made the situation look worse than it probably was. Robertson walked to the assistant referee and then Hatzidakis moved towards Robertson. Walton adds that the quality of the footage makes it hard to do anything more than guess Mirror.
In any case, the situation highlights the growing level of tension between the players and the referees. It should be noted that it was Robertson who initiated the dispute and it was not necessary for him to approach Hatzidakis, but it seems that confrontations with referees and their assistants continue, he adds.
Some call for severe punishment, while others believe that the linesman should not be punished at all
Walton gets support from Craig Hope at the daily Mailwho believes Hatzidakis should not be banned, and that one should instead focus on what made the assistant referee react the way he did.
– When he felt Andy Robertson’s presence both physically and verbally, the assistant referee tried to keep him at bay, is his explanation.
Hope believes that what Hatzidakis is doing should be considered self-defense.
– Forgive us for the nonsense that this act deserves punishment. He can be reminded of his responsibility as someone who is there to maintain order, and encouraged to learn from his reaction. The focus should instead be on the real problem here, which is the constant abuse of referees by players, managers, coaches and fans. It is heinous, inhumane and irresponsible. Robertson simply did what everyone else does, and sparks hope.
The one with the completely opposite approach to this issue is Rudi Kinsella Bundit Squarebut it is quite clear that Hatzidakis must be punished.
The referee or assistant referee may not place his hands on a player in an aggressive manner. Andy Robertson would have been fired if he responded with the same coin. He even received a yellow card for protesting his treatment, which meant he had to play the second half with a yellow card, against one of the most dangerous players in the league, Bukayo Saka. The referees are there to make sure the match runs as smoothly as possible. You don’t notice the best referees, and the same goes for referees. He believes the game is not about the referees, nor should the post-match headlines be.
Fulham’s Aleksandar Mitrović received a long penalty for pressuring a referee in the FA Cup match against Manchester United. He adds that Hatzidakis should receive the same punishment, if not longer.
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