Former Premier League referee Peter Walton believes that Liverpool’s Andy Robertson was to blame for his clash with linesman Constantine Hatzidakis during Sunday’s 2-2 draw with Arsenal.
The contest at Anfield was one of the most entertaining that the Premier League has seen this season. However, arguably the biggest controversy from the match unfolded at half-time.
As both sets of players were making their way towards the tunnel, the Reds’ left-back approached Hatzidakis to complain about a decision that had just been made.
If the Scotland captain was upset at the time, what happened next was about to leave him absolutely fuming.
Seemingly angry at being grabbed by Robertson, the linesman appeared to move his arm back and make an elbowing motion in the direction of Robertson’s face.
Pretty soon, it had all kicked off, with Robertson, Diogo Jota and Jordan Henderson furiously surrounding referee Kieran Tierney to protest about the actions of Hatzidakis. To add insult to injury, Robertson was then booked for dissent.
The incident caused such a stir that The Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) was forced to release a statement during the second half confirming that they would be reviewing the matter in full after the match has ended.
Gary Neville, who was working as a pundit for the game with Sky Sports, admitted that he expected Hatzidakis to be ‘in a lot of trouble’ over his conduct.
Andy Robertson accused of being at fault for linesman clash v Arsenal
Most shared the view that the linesman has behaved in a completely unacceptable way. However, speaking to The Mirror on Monday, veteran official Walton saw things very differently.
“Of course, Constantine Hatzidakis should not have pushed his elbow towards Andrew Robertson. All officials have a duty to uphold standards and the PGMOL probe may bring a reprimand.
“However, I believe the available replays make the incident look worse than it probably was. Robertson went over to the assistant, and Hatzidakis then motions in the Liverpool left-back’s direction. The quality of the footage makes more than speculation difficult.
“Regardless, this episode is emblematic of the heightening tensions between players and officials. It is also worth emphasising that Robertson instigated the dispute by unnecessarily approaching Hatzidakis, as the confronting of referees and their assistants continues.”
You can check out pitchside footage of the incident for yourself below.
Video: Andy Robertson clashes with linesman Constantine Hatzidakis during Liverpool 2-2 Arsenal
While Walton might want Robertson’s role in proceedings to be placed further under the microscope, PGMOL have acted swiftly to suspend Hatzidakis until a formal investigation can be conducted.
“PGMOL will not be appointing Constantine Hatzidakis to fixtures in any of the competitions it serves whilst the FA (Football Association) investigates the incident involving the assistant referee and Liverpool defender Andrew Robertson at Anfield,” they wrote in a statement, per The Metro.