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Assistant referee stood down while Football Association investigates apparent elbow incident

<i>Andrew Yates/AP</i><br/>Robertson received a yellow card as the players walked off at the break.
Andrew Yates/AP
Robertson received a yellow card as the players walked off at the break.

By Ben Church, CNN

The assistant referee who appeared to elbow Liverpool’s Andy Robertson during an English Premier League game on Sunday will not be involved in any matches while English football’s governing body investigates the incident, the body responsible for Premier League referees said in a statement.

The Football Association (FA) is investigating the incident which happened at the end of the first half match between Liverpool and Arsenal at Anfield.

Robertson, a 29-year-old defender, had approached Constantine Hatzidakis on the pitch. Video replays appeared to show Robertson brushing past Hatzidakis who responded by lifting his elbow, which hit the player.

Robertson was visibly furious and had to be pulled away by his teammates after receiving a yellow card for his subsequent reaction.

In a statement to CNN Monday, the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) said it would 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.”

Robertson was criticized by Sky Sports pundit and former Manchester United midfielder Roy Keane for his reaction, saying the player “should be more worried about his defending,” while former Premier League striker Chris Sutton told the BBC that the assistant referee would have to be punished.

“I really don’t know what he was thinking. As far as I can see, he has to be banned,” Sutton said.

CNN has reached out to Liverpool for comment but did not receive a response at time of publication.

The incident during the break was one of many flashpoints in a chaotic game at Anfield which eventually finished in a 2-2 draw.

It also comes after Fulham striker Aleksandar Mitrović was handed an eight-game ban for pushing referee Chris Kavanagh in the team’s FA Cup loss against Manchester United last month.

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