The Football Association has hit Man City with a fine of £120,000 ($150,000) after several of their players had surrounded referee Simon Hooper following the recent 3-3 draw against Tottenham Hotspur at the Etihad Stadium. Hooper called a play back after initially opting for an advantage to City in the 94th minute.

After Emerson Royal had fouled Erling Haaland, Jack Grealish was through on goal. This could have led to the winner, but Hooper pulled it back for a foul. This killed the reigning champions’ hope to score the winner. Several City players were enraged by the decision. They surrounded the referee and vented their anger, with Haaland prominently shouting at the official.

The FA, today, announced that they will be imposing a fine on City. Specifically, this is due to failing to control their players following the game. The case was heard by an independent panel.

£120,000 fine for Man City after referee incident

A written statement from the FA stated, “Manchester City FC have been fined £120,000 after their players surrounded a match official at the Premier League game against Tottenham Hotspur FC on Sunday 3 December. Manchester City FC admitted that they failed to ensure their players did not behave in an improper way during the 94th minute. An independent Regulatory Commission imposed this sanction following a hearing.”

City manager Pep Guardiola had also sarcastically hit out at fourth official Anthony Taylor when quizzed whether he had been provided an explanation on the controversial decision. The Spaniard had said, “’No, the master of commander Anthony Taylor knows everything in this business and didn’t tell me anything. When you review the image, the referee whistles after saying play on, and then after pass comes the whistle. This is what I don’t understand.”

A potentially costly mistake

Earlier, PMGOL chief Howard Webb had revealed that Hooper was devastated by the incident. He also confirmed that it was the wrong decision as the referee blew his whistle at the wrong time. Webb said, “He had refereed the game really well for 93 minutes but he knows this is going to be the only talking point really close to the end of the game.”

The former referee added, “I understand the disappointment that Manchester City felt on this one because it would have been a wonderful advantage. He just formed the opinion to blow just at the wrong time.”

“It looked like he was ready to play advantage. You never heard him shout advantage. I asked him about the arm, he said he didn’t even realize he was doing it in the moment. Disappointing for Simon, he would have loved to have played advantage to him there. I said to him afterward, “Just hold your hands up”.

“It’s difficult to be annoyed at a remorseful man, show your disappointment in the moment because he was certainly feeling that at the time. We took the learning from it and hopefully, he’ll not do it again.”

City have been in poor form of late having won just once in their last six league games. The Etihad outfit has fallen off the pace and is in fourth spot, trailing leaders Arsenal by 5 points having played 17 games.

Photo: Imago.