“Hundreds” of grassroots referees in the UK used rock-paper-scissors in place of the customary pre-game coin flip this weekend to show support for suspended official David McNamara.
McNamara was banned for three weeks by the Football Association for using rock-paper-scissors before a Women’s Super League match last month. McNamara left his coin in the referees’ locker room before a Women’s Super League match and opted for a different method to determine which side would kick off first/which end the two teams would attack.
One referee in Lancashire, 19-year-old Ryan Hampson, claimed that the players asked to do rock-papers-scissors ahead of the game he was set to referee — quotes from the BBC:
“Without me saying a word, four players came up to me and said, ‘Are we getting on the rock-paper-scissors today?’ as they had seen coverage of the issue.”
Ref Support UK, an organization that backs the UK’s more than 28,000 licensed referees, issued a statement that very much straddled the fence of right and wrong, versus solidarity:
“We can’t condone anyone deliberately breaking the laws of football. However, we understand hundreds took part. The level of support should send out a message that the punishment was disproportionate.
“This suggests people are willing to face a possible charge from the FA or their county FA as they feel so strongly about it.
The Laws of the Game state, in no uncertain terms, that a coin flip must occur prior to kickoff.