Constantine Hatzidakis, the referee assistant who allegedly elbowed Liverpool defender Andy Robertson during the team’s 2-2 draw against Arsenal, has spoken out for the first time since the incident. Robertson approached Hatzidakis after the first half whistle was blown, with footage appearing to show the assistant thrusting his elbow in Robertson’s direction. The defender insisted he was struck in the throat by Hatzidakis, but was shown a yellow card by referee Paul Tierney. Hatzidakis has been suspended and will not officiate a game until the PGMOL investigation has been carried out. Speaking on Tuesday, Hatzidakis said: “Whatever happens, happens. There is nothing more I can say at the moment. I can’t talk about what happened.” The altercation was caught on camera, and Robertson and other players are expected to be asked for statements, as will referee Tierney.
Some have called for Hatzidakis to receive an eight-game ban like Alexsandar Mitrovic did for his interaction with the referee at Old Trafford, including former Premier League referee Mark Halsey. talkSPORT’s Darren Bent believes Hatzidakis deserves a ban for his actions, but Roy Keane didn’t have much sympathy for Robertson, telling the Scotland international to get on with the game. “He should be more worried about his defending,” said the former Manchester United midfielder told Sky Sports at half time. “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.” talkSPORT’s Stuart Pearce was unconvinced the situation is being handled correctly. “I think it’s totally wrong. I equate it to myself when I was a player. It’s like suspending me while you have a look at an incident I might be found innocent of,” he explained on Monday’s White and Jordan. “It’s ridiculous. I don’t think you can stand him down. You’ve got to look into it, make a decision accordingly, but don’t stand him down while you’re doing so. He’s got a career. Would you stand a player down? Would you have stood Mitrovic down when he was waiting for his punishment? It’s ridiculous.”