Suspension for Preston rock, paper, scissors referee is 'draconian' says former refs chief
Preston football referee David McNamara has won support from senior sporting figures after he was suspended for using a game of rock, paper, scissors to decide kick-off in a Women's Super League game.
McNamara couldn't conduct the usual coin-toss with the captains of Manchester City and Reading because he had left his coin in the dressing room.
The Football Association has suspended him for three weeks, the ban set to begin on November 26 and run to December 16.
He accepted a charge of 'not acting in the best interests of the game'.
The FA's women's refereeing manager Joanna Stimpson said McNamara's mistake was a 'moment of madness'.
However, the suspension for the level 2b referee has been described as being 'draconian' by former referees chief Keith Hackett.
And top rugby union referee Nigel Owens says a more common sense approach was needed.
Hackett, who refereed the 100th FA Cup final and is the former general manager of the Professional Game Match Officials Board, backed McNamara on Twitter.
He wrote: "The question is who at the Football Association took the decision to suspend a young referee who made the mistake of forgetting his coin?
"A three-week suspension is draconian.
"A player who gets a three-man ban can be back playing in 7/10 days."
In a second tweet, Hackett wrote: "I'm surprised and saddened that a serving officer at the FA when questioned about the draconian punishment of a Petty Officer and referee David McNamara stated that in her words it was a moment of madness. This is an unacceptable comment."
Rugby referee Owens wrote on Twitter: "A bit of common sense is needed surely.
"If both captains were happy to do it, then why not?
"I did it Blues v Ospreys and NZ v Barbarians on the request of the captains.
"I obliged as a bit of fun is what's needed sometimes."