'Get your hands off her': Manchester City star Sergio Aguero slammed for touching female match official

'Get your hands off her': Manchester City star Sergio Aguero slammed for touching female match official

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When Sian Massey-Ellis didn’t award his team a throw-in, Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero placed his hand on her neck.

Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero has come under attack for placing his hand on the neck and shoulder of assistant referee Sian Massey-Ellis during a Premier League match.

The UK’s national charity for football referees last night called for a “line to be drawn in the sand” so that players no longer escaped unpunished for “manhandling” officials. Its criticism followed widespread condemnation of Aguero’s conduct during the 1-0 win against Arsenal.

The UK’s shadow sports minister Alison McGovern described Aguero’s conduct as “horrendous” and took to Twitter to say: “Get your hands off her neck.”

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Her Labour colleague, Dr Rosena Allin-Khan, said his behaviour was “completely unacceptable” and asked: “Who does he think he is?”

Aguero had stepped towards Massey-Ellis to complain about the award of a 42nd-minute throw-in to Arsenal and then placed his left hand on the assistant referee’s neck and shoulder as she walked back up the touchline.

Manchester City's Sergio Aguero has been widely criticised for grabbing assistant referee Sian Massey-Ellis on the neck.

Screengrab

Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero has been widely criticised for grabbing assistant referee Sian Massey-Ellis on the neck.

Massey-Ellis gestured for Aguero to move away but, despite Premier League guidance in 2016 stating that any physical contact with an official should warrant a yellow card, Aguero was not cautioned. He will not be retrospectively punished either as such action can be taken only in the case of missed red-card offences for aggressive or confrontational behaviour, and it was decided that the incident did not meet that threshold.

The charity Ref Support UK praised Massey-Ellis for her calm reaction and said that Aguero should count himself fortunate.

“We wouldn’t want to see Aguero red-carded or suspended because that would dilute the real offence of referee abuse and assault but a line should be drawn in the sand to say, ‘You are lucky there’,” Martin Cassidy the chief executive of Ref Support, said.

“It wasn’t his actions that prevented him getting in trouble – it was her response to his actions. She didn’t react. She was very controlled. Compare that to players who, if they are touched, we often see falling to the floor and rolling around.”

Argentine striker Sergio Aguero will not face any punishment for the controversial incident during the win over Arsenal.

Michael Regan/Getty Images

Argentine striker Sergio Aguero will not face any punishment for the controversial incident during the win over Arsenal.

Cassidy also said that there was a direct connection between people seeing players think physical contact was acceptable at an elite level to “referees being manhandled in grass roots”.

He added: “The natural instinct is then to think, it is OK to touch a referee which just makes you ask, ‘How do they view us?'”

Pep Guardiola, the Manchester City manager, insisted that the incident was a non-issue when he was asked about it in the post-match press conference.

“Come on guys,” he said. “Sergio is the nicest person I ever met in my life. Look for problems in other situations, not in this one.”

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Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham threw away a 3-0 lead in the last 10 minutes to draw 3-3 with West Ham United.

Although there are other examples of footballers putting their hands on referees in a similar way, Keith Hackett, the former head of referees in England, said that such behaviour should be stamped on.

“The failure of the referee to implement a sanction is frankly unacceptable,” he said. “This incident will cascade down to grassroots level.”

Micah Richards also criticised his former Manchester City team-mate. “He [Aguero] knows not to be touching the officials,” he said. “It’s just not a good look.”

Ian Wright, the former England striker, said that it was “unnecessary” and “patronising”.

Aguero has not commented but Gabriel Agbonlahor, the former Aston Villa striker, believes he will regret his actions.

“It just gives a bad example to kids out there playing on a Sunday,” he said.

“Putting your hand on her there is quite shocking. I feel Aguero will have regretted it.”

The Telegraph

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