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Hands Off!

Sergio Aguero questioned for putting an arm around Sian Massey-Ellis during match versus Arsenal.

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Manchester City v Arsenal - Premier League Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

One of the talking points following Arsenal’s 1-0 loss to Manchester City at the Eithad was an incident involving Sergio Aguero and assistant referee Sian Massey-Ellis.

Towards the end of the first half, Massey-Ellis awarded a throw into Arsenal. Aguero disagreed and in arguing his case, put his arm around her shoulder. Massey-Ellis pushed his arm off and walked away from him without any further discipline from referee Chris Kavanagh.

I was watching the match and thought that it seemed a strange thing to do. However, there was no aggression in the move, and I didn’t think much more of it. Others did and that moment became one of the game’s most discussed incidents after the match.

On Match of the Day, both Ian Wright and Alan Shearer were critical of the striker. Speaking to the show’s host Gary Lineker, Shearer said, “he shouldn’t put his hand on the assistant referee. It just wasn’t a good look, Gary, was it?”

Wright added his opinion saying, “What was that?! Unnecessary, unnecessarily patronizing. It felt really awkward, that did to me.”

Of course, Piers Morgan piped up with his opinion. He tweeted, “Erm, what is Aguero doing here? And why wasn’t he sent off for it?”

A new rule was introduced to the league in 2016 which states that a player can be cautioned or sent off for touching match officials. It is up to the referee’s discretion on how these incidents should be handled.

Speaking to Sky News Pep Guardiola defended his player “Come on guys, Sergio is the nicest person I ever met in my life. Look for problems in other situations, not in this one.”

Aguero will face no punishment for the incident as the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) ruled on Monday that it was “not deemed to have been an aggressive or threatening action.”

I did briefly wonder if the fact that Massey-Ellis was female would factor into the reaction to Aguero’s gesture. I think it did. Many speculated whether Aguero would have acted the same way with a male official.

Several female voices offering opinions following the incident including, Labour Party MP Dr. Rosena Allin-Khan. She tweeted, “Who does Aguero think he is? Completely unacceptable.”

Kayla Knapp, Senior Manager Social Content and Strategy for the Portland Timbers tweeted about the incident.

And Liverpool based sportswriter and broadcaster Leanne Prescott offered her opinion.

Do you think Aguero was out of line and should have been disciplined or should be retroactively? Please keep it civil and respectful in the comments.