Former referee Peter Walton points blame at Andy Robertson for 'elbow' incident involving linesman
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A former Premier League referee has blamed Andy Robertson for starting the confrontation with linesman Constantine Hatzidakis during Liverpool's clash against Arsenal on Sunday.
Peter Walton, who officiated in the Premier League between 2003 and 2012, believes it is "worth emphasising" that Liverpool full-back Robertson instigated the dispute by "unnecessarily approaching" the assistant referee.
So what happened? As both sets of players headed back to their respected dressing rooms, Robertson appeared to grab Hatzidakis.
Hatzidakis then hit out at the Scotland international and, although the footage is grainy, it appears the 38-year-old linesman moved his arm into Robertson's face.
Upon seeing footage of the clash, the PGMOL have since confirmed Hatzidakis' punishment after they launched an investigation into the incident.
A statement read: “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.”
Many people have had their say on the matter, including former Premier League official Peter Walton, who has somewhat pointed the blame at Robertson for Sunday's altercation at Anfield.
"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," Walton told The Mirror.
"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."
📌 "It looks like assault."— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) April 10, 2023
📌 'Any different to Mitrovic?'
Ref Watch analyse the incident where an assistant referee is accused of elbowing Andy Robertson. ⭕ pic.twitter.com/VWqFQ0iHgj
A number of other former Premier League referees have also chipped in with their opinion on the matter. Mark Clattenburg clearly states that officials cannot lose their temper, even when provoked.
Speaking to the Daily Mail, he said: "Players can push us officials to the limit, They can provoke to the point where you are probably tempted to give them something in return. But under no circumstances can we can respond. Certainly not physically.
"Hatzidakis did and there will now be a clamour for him to be banned, given Fulham's Aleksandar Mitrovic is set to miss eight matches for pushing referee Chris Kavanagh last month."
Mark Halsey added: "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."