Assistant referee Constantine Hatzidakis has commented on his incident with Liverpool FC’s Andrew Robertson during this weekend’s 2-2 draw with Arsenal at Anfield. In case you somehow missed it, the 38-year-old assistant referee decided to let the world know that he did truly “have the dawg in him”, and was caught hitting Robertson with an elbow to the throat after being confronted by the defender as the half-time interval was called.
Robertson was then yellow-carded for his troubles, which was truly mindblowing.
Speaking outside his home to Mail Online, Hatzidakis said:
“Whatever happens, happens. There is nothing more I can say at the moment. I can’t talk about what happened.”
The referee is understood to have been stood down from further duties while the investigation is ongoing. It is worth pointing out that media coverage of the incident has been rather laughable, as wording like “alleged elbow” or “accused of elbowing” has been used, like the whole world didn’t just see that happen in 4K HD.
Furthermore, two ex-referees in Peter Walton and Mark Clattenburg have predictably leapt to the defence of their ex-colleague. This is what Walton had to say:
“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.”
Clattenburg goes one further, claiming Robertson “initiated the contact”:
“I have studied the footage that the PGMOL will look at and all the angles suggest Andrew Robertson initiated contact with Constantine Hatzidakis before the official reacted by swinging his arm.”
“In doing so, Hatzidakis’s elbow appeared to catch Robertson on the chin. Webb will now speak to Hatzidakis to get his side of the story. He should ask Robertson what happened, too.”
“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.”
Incredible media washing by everyone involved here, to be honest. Top-notch stuff.