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Constantine Hatzidakis’ career in doubt after Andy Robertson elbow claims ex

Jan 12, 2024Jan 12, 2024

A dramatic Premier League clash between Liverpool and Arsenal on Sunday was overshadowed by an extraordinary clash between Andy Robertson and the assistant referee

Former referees’ chief Keith Hackett has warned assistant referee Constantine Hatzidakis that his career could be in tatters after he appeared to elbow Andy Robertson at Anfield.

Liverpool's 2-2 draw with Arsenal was tainted by an extraordinary incident that was picked up the Sky Sports cameras, Robertson approached Hatzidakis shortly after the half time whistle, seemingly to voice discontent. And upon being confronted, the official appeared to throw up his arm and catch the left back in the face with his elbow - with an irate Robinson having to be dragged away by teammates as he was booked in the aftermath.

On Monday, the PGMOL confirmed he will now be suspended while the incident is investigated, stating: "PGMOL will not be appointing Constantine Hatzidakis to fixtures in any of the competition it serves whilst The FA investigates the incident involving the assistant referee and Liverpool defender Andrew Robertson at Anfield."

And speaking on BBC Radio Five Live, Hackett seemed anything but sympathetic towards the official: "Ultimately, if he is found guilty of this, his career is in jeopardy," he said.

"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 have reacted at the end of the day and here we are talking about a match official and not a decision, but an action by a match official – and he's clearly lost his composure."

Another former top-flight referee, Mark Halsey, drew comparisons between the incident at Anfield at Aleksandr Mitrovic's behaviour in the Manchester United v Fulham FA Cup tie. The Serbian was handed an eight match ban after being found guilty of pushing referee Chris Kavanagh.

"I cannot think why an assistant would throw his arms into a player's face," said Halsey, in The Sun. "Sure, from one camera angle it does not look good. But you have to ask why has Robertson gone to approach the assistant referee?

"I have heard people say this is the end of the linesman's career but, just like Aleksandar Mitrovic, it is his full-time job.

"However, if he is proven guilty and did intentionally use his elbow then he will face the same consequences as the Fulham frontman. Match officials are the guardians of standards and must be accountable if found guilty for that type of behaviour towards a player."

Sky Sports pundits Gary Neville and Micah Richards both voiced their disbelief at what transpired, although colleague Roy Keane focused on Robertson's role in the incident, calling the Scot "a big baby." He ranted: "He should be more worried about his defending. Do you know what he is, that Robertson? I’ve watched him a number of times, he is a big baby, that's what that guy is. Just get on with the game and concentrate on your defending. He does grab the linesman first."

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