Rock, paper, scissors was reportedly used to decide kick-off for hundreds of matches this weekend as referees the length and breadth of the land demonstrated their support for David McNamara.
As you may recall, McNamara is currently serving a 21-day suspension for the heinous crime of using the aforementioned method to divine kick-off before the recent Women’s Super League tie between Man City and Reading.
Having accidentally forgotten his coin, the ref simply used his initiative to avoid wasting any time only to end up on the wrong end of an FA ban for ‘not acting in the best interests of the game’.
As stated in Law 8 of the football rule book, a coin must be tossed before kick-off to ascertain which team will attack which goal in the first half of the match.
McNamara flaunted this ancient and sacred tradition and henceforth will not be allowed to return to work until mid-December.
While the ban is obviously ludicrous, the reaction from fellow match officials has been nothing short of heart-warming, with colleagues deliberately defying Law 8 in solidarity with their detained comrade.
Explaining the situation to BBC Sport, Ryan Hampson, a referee who took control of a non-league match in Lancashire on Sunday said:
A lot of us were thinking of David. We wanted to show solidarity.
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.
Speaking on Monday, Ref Support UK chief executive Martin Cassidy echoed those sentiments (quotes via ESPN FC):
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.
However, there were still some dissenting voices to be heard, with a spokesperson for Southern Sunday League moaning to BBC Sport:
Two wrongs don’t make a right. Referees are law-enforcers and not law-breaker. This action is unprofessional and it brings the game into disrepute.
Doing this due to a forgotten coin is one thing but this is a step too far.
Truly spoken like the mard-arse neighbour who runs his penknife through any kids’ footballs that come over his fence to ‘teach the little sods a lesson’.
Some people really are just joyless gits.