Controversy in England over Sergio Agüero grabbing linesman Sian Massey-Ellis

Agüero’s actions in Arsenal-Manchester City

Sergio Aguero He had not been on the pitch since late June, when he suffered a severe injury to one of his knees that forced him to stand for almost four months. This Saturday, Kun returned to activity in the victory of Manchester City by 1-0 before him Arsenal for the fifth of the Premier League and he became one of the protagonists of the meeting not only because of his football return, but also because of a gesture he made towards a line judge of the match.

It was 41 minutes into the first half when Agüero discussed an action with Sian Massey-Ellis, the experienced assistant in charge of controlling the City attack. After a vehement complaint, the forward took her by the shoulder in a kind of subtle hug – understood by many as a “grab”-. The referee immediately, and with obvious annoyance, stuck the arm of the Argentine striker and remained attentive to the actions of the game.

This action led to a great controversy surrounding the behavior of Kun, who played 65 minutes (he was replaced by Ilkay Gündogan in the second part). In social networks, several users repudiated the attitude he had with the female assistant and questioned whether the player would have acted the same if the referee had been a male. Others, meanwhile, saw it as a normal reaction on the part of a footballer in the middle of a match.

Agüero’s action generated a debate on social networks

Anyway, the big claim – regardless of whether the gesture was towards a woman or a man – focused on the fact that Agüero did not receive any type of sanction for what he did. It should be noted that since 2016 there is a regulation in football in England that establishes that physical contact with the referees will be punished with a yellow or red card, according to the severity that magazine. The same happens with verbal excesses or aggressive reactions towards judges.

As stated on the official Premier League site, the yellow card should be used when there is “physical contact with any match official in a non-aggressive manner (eg an inquisitive approach to get the referee’s attention)”, while the Red is for “physical contact with match officials in an aggressive or confrontational manner”. Kun’s case could be more in line with the first definition and the mistake was made by the main referee Chris Kavanagh for not having warned him.

“This measure will focus on behavior towards match officials, with the goal of reducing disrespectful behavior such as challenging decisions aggressively or approaching a short distance to confront an official, “reported the FA (Football Association) at the time it established the measure that aims to protect the integrity of main and assistant referees.

Kun was replaced in the second half (REUTERS / Alex Livesey)

Kun was replaced in the second half (REUTERS / Alex Livesey)

Richard Scudamore, CEO of the Premier League in 2016, had explained the origin of the decision to punish these attitudes of the players towards the referees more vehemently. “Together with the clubs we have been discussing for some time some concerns about elements of the behavior of the players who are crossing the line. We have a collective stance of no longer tolerate this type of behavior”, The leader had stressed.

In that sense, he added: “These are things that happen at the moment, during very fast and highly competitive soccer matches. We want to see fans passionate and claiming, but players and coaches should be aware that there are lines that should not be crossed”.

In the case of the Argentine, these principles seem not to have been applied, which is why his gesture towards the linesman was approached by the most important media in England after the match. “Aguero goes unpunished after grabbing assistant Sian Massey-Ellis by the shoulder”, titled The Sun, while the Daily Star stated: “Manchester City player Agüero is criticized after putting his arm on Sian Massey-Elli in the clash against Arsenal.”

For the moment it is unknown if Kun will receive any ex officio sanction, given the notoriety that the episode took after the match that was played at the Etihad Stadium.

Sian Massey-Ellis is an experienced linesman with a long history in the Premier League, a competition in which he debuted in 2010). Last year, he also made his continental presentation in men’s football by joining a referee team in a Europa League match. In the women’s division, she was the fourth referee at the 2007 World Cup in China and linesman at the 2017 Eurocup and the 2019 World Cup in France.


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