Sunday 16 December 2018

Referee suspended after playing rock, paper, scissors for kick-off instead of coin toss

The match between Manchester City and Reading ended 1-1
The match between Manchester City and Reading ended 1-1

Katie Whyatt

The FA have suspended referee David McNamara for 21 days after he made two captains play rock, paper, scissors to determine who would take kick-off when he left his coin in the dressing room.

The FA's women's refereeing manager, Joanna Stimpson, has condemned McNamara’s “moment of madness” prior to the televised Women's Super League match between Manchester City and Reading on October 26.

She said: “The referee forgot his coin and in that moment, in a TV game, he was really pushed for time. It was a moment of madness.

“He obviously thought it was the right thing to do. He probably walked away, or the second afterwards, thought it wasn't the right thing to do.

“It's not defendable. He should have been more prepared. He should have had a coin but he didn't. It was disappointing. It's not appropriate. It’s very unprofessional.

“The laws of the game state you toss a coin. I can't think it's something we are going to ignore. He wasn't taking the mick out of the game - it was just a really poor decision.”

McNamara has been suspended for three weeks by the governing body, beginning November 26. He has the right to appeal the decision.

McNamara’s suspension further highlights the perceived shortcomings of refereeing in the women’s domestic game. The judgement of officials was called into question after Chelsea’s Drew Spence only received a yellow card for the challenge that fractured Kim Little’s leg in Arsenal’s 5-0 win last month, leaving her out for up to 10 weeks.

The decision compelled England and Lyon right back Lucy Bronze to tweet: “Real shame for Kim, Arsenal and the league. Fans come to watch players like her play. But REPEATEDLY let down by the standard of officiating (not all officiating, may I add). But there's a real underlying problem somewhere. My yearly rant.” 

McNamara mainly takes charge of matches at National League North level. The game in question was his second Women's Super League match of this season.

An FA spokesman said: “The FA can confirm that referee David McNamara has been suspended for 21 days, starting from Monday 26 November, after accepting a charge of ‘not acting in the best interests of the game’.

“This follows an incident in the WSL match between Manchester City and Reading on Friday 26 October when he failed to determine which team would kick off the match by the toss of a coin, as required by the Laws of the Game.

“McNamara will return to duty from Monday 17 December.”

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