Constantine Hatzidakis’ career won’t be over regardless of what happens after he appeared to elbow Andy Robertson in Liverpool’s 2-2 draw with Arsenal on Sunday, it has been claimed. The assistant referee clashed with the Reds left-back at half-time during the frantic showdown at Anfield. And many associated with Jurgen Klopp’s side now want the FA to come down hard on the official.
Robertson was seen remonstrating with Hatzidakis at half time as Liverpool and Arsenal played out an entertaining draw on Easter Sunday.
And the assistant referee then seemed to elbow the Scotland international, with Sky Sports saying the left-back was furious at the treatment he received.
Former referee Mark Halsey has now addressed the controversy and believes that while the FA must come down hard on Hatzidakis, should he be found guilty of intentionally acting out, his career in the sport won’t be over.
“To me, it looks like Robertson goes to grab Hatzidakis, who brushes him off with his arm and catches him accidentally,” he wrote for The Sun.
“I cannot think why an assistant would throw his arms into a player’s face.
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“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.”
He continued: “Match officials are the guardians of standards and must be accountable if found guilty for that type of behaviour towards a player.”
Reacting immediately to the shocking incident, Roy Keane actually turned on Robertson and branded the Liverpool star a ‘big baby’.
“He should be more worried about his defending,” the former Manchester United star stated.
“Do you know what he is? That Robertson, I’ve watched him a number of times. He’s 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.”
Others, however, believe Hatzidakis deserves punishing and an eight-match ban would be appropriate.
Speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live, Chris Sutton said: "I really don't know what he was thinking. As far as I can see, he has to be banned.
"He will have to sit out a number of games. I can't remember another incident like this. Where is the precedent for these things?
“A big debating point was Mitrovic and the eight-game ban and the FA want him banned for more but you can't have assistants throwing elbows. What should the punishment be?"
Liverpool boss Klopp was also quizzed on Hatzidakis following the full time whistle on Merseyside.
And he was coy in front of the cameras, insisting he didn’t see what happened and the pictures would speak for themselves.
“I didn't see it and I now have obviously time to watch it but I didn't see,” he said.
“I cannot give wrong answers. I heard the pictures speak for themselves. I cannot say more. I didn't see a bit of it.”
The draw between Liverpool and Arsenal represents another blow to the Reds’ hopes of qualifying for next season’s Champions League.
As for the Gunners, they’re six points ahead of Manchester City at the top of the table having played one game more.