The linesman who appeared to elbow defender Andy Robertson during Sunday’s draw with has spoken out for the first time.
Assistant referee Constantine Hatzidakis is after he appeared to make contact with Robertson as the players left the pitch for the half-time interval.
Robertson and some of his Liverpool team-mates and claimed to match referee Paul Tierney that he had been struck in the neck area.
Robertson was showed a yellow card for his role in the clash and Hatzidakis continued to run the line in the second half in an
Hatzidakis, 38, has been taken off duty while the FA carry out an investigation, with a former referee suggesting he could be set for a lengthy ban.
Speaking about the incident for the first time, Hatzidakis said from his south London home: ‘Whatever happens, happens. There is nothing more I can say at the moment. I can’t talk about what happened.’
Robertson and other players who witnessed the incident will be asked to make statements to contribute to the FA’s investigation.
Ex-Premier League referee Mark Halsey admitted he had never seen anything like the scenes at Anfield and said the linesman could face an eight-match ban.
Fulham striker Aleksander Mitrovic was recently hit with an eight-game suspension for putting his hands on an official, and Halsey believes Hatzidakis could get the same punishment.
‘Officials are the guardians of standards on the field of play and looking back at that, I think he will be regretting his actions,’ he said on . ‘Having said that, I think that the PGMOL are going to do their investigations.
‘For me, Robertson approaches him and it looks like he goes to touch him and then the assistant flicks his arm up. He shouldn’t have done that. What he should have done is go to the referee and reported it and let him take action.
‘But if he’s found guilty of an act of violent conduct then he should take his punishment in the same way that Mitrovic has just taken his punishment.
‘They’re both professionals, Robertson is a professional player and the assistant is a professional assistant referee. We’re just guessing at what has gone on and we have to wait for the investigation to take place.
‘It’s something that I’ve never seen before and so there’s a first time for everything, but if he’s guilty he has to suffer the consequences.’
On the length of punishment, Halsey added: ‘You’ve got to look at Mitrovic, haven’t you?
‘He was banned for eight games for the use of technical assault, they could say that the assistant has technically assaulted a player. You’re looking at two similar incidents, aren’t you?
‘Obviously, if found guilty, he has to suffer the consequences of an eight-game ban because they’ve set a precedent.’
But others defended the assistant referee, claiming Robertson should not have approached him in a matter that some have described as intimidating.
Manchester United legend Roy Keane, meanwhile, felt Robertson overreacted to the contact and called the Liverpool star a ‘big baby’.
‘He should be more worried about his defending,’ the former Old Trafford captain told Sky Sports.
‘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.’
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