Assistant referee Constantine Hatzidakis will not be involved in any matches while the Football Association investigate whether he elbowed Liverpool’s Andrew Robertson.
The extraordinary incident occurred just after the half-time whistle had been blown during Liverpool’s explosive 2-2 draw against Premier League leaders Arsenal at Anfield on Sunday.
Robertson appeared to confront Hatzidakis on the pitch, reaching to grab the arm of the official, who reacted by jabbing his elbow towards the Liverpool left-back.
Robertson gesticulated that he had been hit by Hatzidakis while the irate Scotland captain was led away by team-mates, only to receive a yellow card in the aftermath of the bizarre incident.
Hatzidakis is under FA scrutiny for his role in the row and will be sidelined until the governing body’s probe is complete.
A statement from Premier League referees’ body the PGMOL read: “PGMOL will not be appointing Constantine Hatzidakis to fixtures in any of the competitions it serves whilst the FA (Football Association) investigates the incident involving the assistant referee and Liverpool defender Andrew Robertson at Anfield.”
Keith Hackett, formerly head of the PGMOL, told BBC Radio Five Live: “Ultimately, if he is found guilty of this, his career is in jeopardy.
“I was trying to find an excuse as to why he did it and I came up with was he in fear? He shouldn’t be, because he’s in a protected environment with plenty of security.
“But he reacted in a way that he shouldn’t have reacted at the end of the day and here we are talking about a match official and not a decision, but an action by a match official — and he’s clearly lost his composure.”