'Elbow' linesman Constantine Hatzidakis taken off duty as FA investigate his clash with Liverpool star Andy Robertson | soccer4u
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‘Elbow’ linesman Constantine Hatzidakis taken off duty as FA investigate his clash with Liverpool star Andy Robertson



The FA intend to investigate the incident involving Liverpool defender Andy Robertson

Experts on Sky’s coverage of the 2-2 draw at Anfield were divided in their opinions

Assistant referee Constantine Hatzidakis does not referee another match as the Football Association investigate allegations that he punched Liverpool player Andrew Robertson in the throat at Anfield on Sunday.

Hatzidakis was removed from the referee list on Monday pending the outcome of a review. There have been calls for him to be suspended, as Fulham’s Aleksandar Mitrovic was handed an eight-match ban last month for shoving referee Chris Kavanagh.

Hatzidakis stabbed Robertson in the right elbow after the Liverpool defender tackled him at half-time in a 2-2 draw against Arsenal.

Robertson was stunned and angrily stated to teammates and club staff, “The linesman elbowed me in the throat.”

The refereeing body, the PGMOL, headed by Howard Webb, said in a statement on Monday: “We will not nominate Constantine Hatzidakis for matches in any of the leagues he serves while the FA are investigating the incident.”

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said he had not seen him live but added that “the pictures speak for themselves”. Robertson later received a yellow card from referee Paul Tierney. Tierney and Hatzidakis also oversaw Liverpool’s 2-2 draw with Tottenham last season when Robertson was sent off.

Klopp approached Tierney on the pitch after the game to say, “I have no problems with referees, just you.”

The confrontation between Hatzidakis and Robertson left other officials dumbfounded. Insiders accepted he shouldn’t have reacted this way and said they don’t know what the outcome will be.

It’s already been a bad weekend for referees, with Webb apologizing to Brighton after failing to receive a penalty for a foul on Kaoru Mitoma during a 2-1 defeat at Tottenham. Walking from the pitch to the players’ tunnel, Robertson appeared to say something to Hatzidakis while lightly touching his right elbow.

Hatzidakis responded by raising his elbow to Robertson’s face.

Before the match was completed, the PGMOL – now led by former Premier League referee Howard Webb – issued a statement saying they were investigating.

PGMOL said: “PGMOL is aware of an incident involving assistant referee Constantine Hatzidakis and Liverpool defender Andrew Robertson at half-time in Liverpool’s game against Arsenal at Anfield.

“We will fully investigate the matter after the match is over.”

Now the referee panel has confirmed that Hatzidakis will be out of matches while the investigation is ongoing. It is also understood that the FA will consider the matter in the same way as if a player had been guilty of such an offense without the attention of the match referee.

Such an act would normally be classified as “violent conduct” and result in a three-game ban.

Keith Hackett, former head of PGMOL, told BBC Radio 5 Live: “At the end of the day, if he is found guilty, his career will be in jeopardy.

“I was trying to come up with an excuse as to why he did it and found out if he was scared? He shouldn’t be, because he’s in a protected environment with a lot of security. “But he reacted in a way he shouldn’t have reacted at the end of the day and we’re talking about an onion manager and not a decision but an action from a manager onion – and he clearly lost his temper.”

Hatzidakis will face Robertson over another incident in Sunday’s 2-2 draw

It came as former Premier League referee Mark Halsey asked Hatzidakis to be suspended for eight games.

This would match the suspension given to Fulham striker Aleksandar Mitrovic for a push at Chris Kavanagh.

Halsey said: “To me, it looks like Robertson is reaching for Hatzidakis who wipes his arm and accidentally grabs it.

“I can’t imagine why an assistant would throw his arms in a player’s face. Of course, it doesn’t look good from a camera perspective. “But you must be wondering why Robertson became an assistant referee?

“I’ve heard people say it’s the end of the linesman’s career, but just like Aleksandar Mitrovic, it’s his full-time job.

“However, if he is found guilty and intentionally used his elbow, he will suffer the same consequences as the Fulham leader.

“Match officials are the guardians of standards and must be held accountable if found guilty of this type of behavior towards a player.”

Aleksandr Mitrovic was sent off for pushing referee Chris Kavanagh. Marco Silva also saw red at Old Trafford

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said: “I haven’t seen it and obviously I have time to watch it now, but I haven’t seen it.

“I can’t give wrong answers. I felt the pictures speak for themselves. Can’t say more. I haven’t seen any of that.”

Sky television experts were divided on the issue.

Former Manchester United defender Gary Neville said: ‘I have never seen an official nudge a player. I think he will be in trouble when the game is over.’

But Neville’s former United captain Roy Keane believes Robertson provoked the officer. Keane said: “Does he catch the linesman first? I’m not sure, but Robertson complains then. He should be more concerned about his defence.

“Do you know what he is, this Robertson?” I watched it a few times, it’s a big baby. He’s the guy.

“Just focus on the game and keep defending. He catches the linesman first.

MARK CLATTENBURG: Constantine Hatzidakis was provoked before swinging an arm at Andy Robertson … but officers are NEVER allowed to react. It’s a real problem for Howard Webb

Not the easiest weekend for Howard Webb. As if the VAR controversy wasn’t bad enough, he now spends his Monday dealing with the allegation of an assistant who elbowed a player at Anfield.

I’ve studied the footage PGMOL will be viewing and all angles suggest Andrew Robertson contacted Constantine Hatzidakis before the official responded by waving his arm.

In doing so, Hatzidakis Robertson’s elbow appeared to strike his chin. Webb will now talk to Hatzidakis to get his side of the story. He should also ask Robertson what happened.

Players can push us officials to the limit. They can be so provocative that you’ll probably be tempted to give them something back. But in no case can we answer. Certainly not physically. Hatzidakis did and will now be claimed for his suspension as Fulham’s Aleksandar Mitrovic will miss eight games for pushing referee Chris Kavanagh last month.

I don’t think Hatzidakis intended to catch Robertson with his elbow. But it will be interesting to see how Webb handles it.

It’s an unintended headache for the new boss of PGMOL.


‘Liverpool are putting all their eggs in Bellingham’s basket’ – Hutchison explains why Liverpool won’t sign Victor Osimhen

Former Liverpool midfielder Don Hutchison thinks Liverpool are missing out on the opportunity to sign Victor Osimhen in the summer transfer window as the Reds prioritize the signing of young phenom Jude Bellingham from Borussia Dortmund over other transfer targets.

Like Osimhen, Bellingham were heavily linked with a farewell from the German squad in the summer and could escalate into a bidding war for the central midfielder’s services with several high-profile clubs interested in the 19-year-old.

Real Madrid have made an offer for Bellingham, as have Manchester City and Liverpool, according to Spanish sports newspaper Marca.

Including performance bonuses, Borussia Dortmund value the England international at €150m, the same transfer fee Napoli are asking for Osimhen.

The Nigerian international has developed into one of the best forwards in European football this season, scoring 25 goals in 29 appearances in all competitions.

Asked about his opinion on Bellingham likely going to Liverpool and Osimhen not, Hutchison told ESPN FC Extra Time: “Liverpool are putting all the eggs in Bellingham’s basket by giving them the number 8, Steven Gerrard’s bracelet.

“I don’t think they can sell Steven Gerrard number 8 and give it to Osimhen. I don’t think it will work at all.”

The 24-year-old Osimhen still has a roughly two-year contract with Napoli, to which he transferred from Lille in 2020 for a record €70m.


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