‘His career is not over’ - Head of referees’ charity defends linesman after elbow incident

Constantine Hatzidakis appeared to throw an elbow at Liverpool’s Andrew Robertson

The assistant referee who appeared to throw an elbow at Liverpool’s Andrew Robertson has been punished enough, according to the head of a referees’ charity.

Martin Cassidy, the chief executive officer of Ref Support UK, believes the incident on Sunday at Anfield, where Constantine Hatzidakis raised his arm to the face of the Liverpool defender, has been blown out of proportion amid calls for the match official to be banned, or for his career to be put in jeopardy. Hatzidakis has even been doorstepped outside his London home. He told one reporter: “Whatever happens, happens. There is nothing more I can say at the moment. I can’t talk about what happened.”

Hatzidakis has been stood down from games while the English Football Association conducts an investigation into the incident. The Professional Game Match Officials Limited group (PGMOL) has also started its own investigation.

“It has been blown a little bit out of proportion,” Cassidy said. “We should never advocate violence or match officials hitting anyone but it genuinely looks like Andy Robertson grabs him and Con pushes him to get off. They haven’t suspended Andy Robertson. It is a little bit of an overreaction.”


Cassidy believes Hatzidakis has been prejudged and punished by being removed from this weekend’s fixtures. Cassidy, who has called for an exclusion zone around officials to be introduced, said: “Eric Cantona jumped into the crowd and kicked somebody and still came back and scored in an FA Cup final. Why should we treat match officials any different? Yes, we are the guardians of standards and they look on us more strictly but that isn’t a free for all.

“No, his career is not over. He will learn from it. What has happened to Con already, the fact he looks like he has been proven guilty and taken off games, I think that is enough.”

Meanwhile, the referee Michael Salisbury has been dropped for the next round of Premier League fixtures having failed to award Brighton a penalty in their defeat by Tottenham on Saturday. Salisbury was the VAR official who did not intervene when the referee Stuart Attwell missed a foul by Pierre‑Emile Højbjerg on Kaoru Mitoma inside the area.

The PGMOL head, Howard Webb, apologised to Brighton for the mistake. But while Salisbury has been dropped Attwell has been named VAR official for Wolves versus Brentford on Saturday and fourth official for West Ham versus Arsenal on Sunday. – Guardian