The English Football Association has suspended a referee after he used an impromptu game of ‘Rock, Paper, Scissors’ to decide the kick-off of a recent Women’s Super League match.
Realising he’d left his coin in the dressing room, official David McNamara asked the two captains of Manchester City and Reading — Steph Houghton and Kirsty Pearce, respectively — to determine which side kicked off.
This, as the FA will tell you, directly contravenes the laws of the game, which specify that a coin toss must be used.
Law 8 clearly states that, before the start of the match or extra time “a coin is tossed and the team that wins the toss decides which goal it will attack in the first half of the match.”
As such, McNamara has been banned from officiating for 21 days, beginning on Nov. 26, after he accepted a disciplinary charge of “not acting in the best interests of the game.”
A spokesman for the FA confirmed: “This follows an incident […] 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,”
The sentiment was echoed by FA women’s refereeing manager Joanna Stimpson, who described McNamara’s conduct as “a moment of madness.”
Stimpson told the BBC: “The referee forgot his coin and in that moment, in a TV game, he was really pushed for time.
“He should have been more prepared, he should have had a coin. It was disappointing, it’s not appropriate, it’s very unprofessional.”
As things stand, McNamara reserves the right to appeal his suspension but in the face of such ridiculously overwrought bureaucracy, we don’t imagine there’s much point.