Grassroots refs will adopt ‘rock, paper, scissors’ to support banned Preston official David McNamara

David McNamara has been banned for 21 days
David McNamara has been banned for 21 days

Some referees at grassroots matches this weekend are planning to ditch the coin toss and use the rock, paper, scissors game at kick-off to show support for banned Preston official David McNamara.

Grimsargh-based McNamara was handed a three-match ban after leaving his coin in the dressing room prior to the WSL match between Manchester City Ladies and Reading Ladies last month.

City captain Steph Houghton and Reading skipper Kirsty Pearce played a game of rock, paper, scissors to decide who would kick-off.

But the laws of the game state that a coin toss is required before EVERY match.

And McNamara – who refereed Preston North End’s pre-season friendly against AFC Fylde – accepted a charge of ‘not acting in the best interests of the game’, and was given a 21-day ban.

Yesterday the Lancashire Post reported that former referees’ chief Keith Hackett had branded the ban ‘draconian’.

Now BBC Sport reports that refs at grassroots level, angered by the decision to ban McNamara, will adopt the ‘rock, paper, scissors’ game to show their backing for the Preston official this weekend.

One Derbyshire-based referee told BBC Sport: “I will be doing it to show support. It will probably serve as a light-hearted way to introduce myself to both captains.

“Others will do so as well but not admit it publicly for fear of reprimand.”

“I’ll have a coin just in case anyone is unhappy but I don’t see it being an issue. Rock, paper, scissors is an equally fair way of doing things.

“The suspended ref has shown initiative and thought quickly on his feet. The whole thing is a bit ridiculous and massively out of proportion.”

The BBC claim they are aware of other officials who, in protest at the FA’s suspension of McNamara, plan to use the same method.

Lancashire Post football reporter Dave Seddon said: “The FA didn’t half use a sledgehammer to crack a nut.

“Would not a quiet word with the Preston official have sufficed rather than slapping him with a three-game ban?

“How many top-flight refs would get taken off the list for three weeks if they make an error? Not many, I would hazard a guess.”

What do you think of the ban? E-mail your views to lep.sport@lep.co.uk