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Referee suspended for using rock/paper/scissors to decide kickoff in Women's Super League

Rock, Paper, Scissors was used instead of the traditional coin toss
Rock/paper/scissors was used instead of the traditional coin toss.

The English Football Association has suspended a referee after he used an impromptu game of rock/paper/scissors to decide the kickoff of a recent Women's Super League match.

Realising he'd left his coin in the dressing room, official David McNamara asked the two captains of Manchester City and Reading -- Steph Houghton and Kirsty Pearce, respectively -- to determine which side kicked off.

This, as the FA will tell you, directly contravenes the laws of the game, which specify that a coin toss must be used.

Law 8 clearly states that, before the start of the match or extra time "a coin is tossed and the team that wins the toss decides which goal it will attack in the first half of the match."

As such, McNamara has been suspended from officiating for 21 days, beginning on Nov. 26, after he accepted a disciplinary charge of "not acting in the best interests of the game."

A spokesman for the FA confirmed: "This follows an incident [...] when he failed to determine which team would kick off the match by the toss of a coin, as required by the Laws of the game,"

The sentiment was echoed by FA women's refereeing manager Joanna Stimpson, who described McNamara's conduct as "a moment of madness."

Stimpson told the BBC: "The referee forgot his coin and in that moment, in a TV game, he was really pushed for time.

"He should have been more prepared, he should have had a coin. It was disappointing, it's not appropriate, it's very unprofessional."

However, Peter Walton -- ESPN analyst and former Premier League referee -- thinks the FA should have been more lenient.

"I agree with the FA's action in principle, but it should have been a slap on the wrist -- not a three-week ban," Walton told ESPN. "You can see the funny side.

"Kickoff is one of the times during a televised game when the referee is the centre of attention. I don't think he realised how it was going to look. He should have sent one of his assistants back to the changing room to get the coin.

"It would be different if it happened in a match at grass-roots level but even then, you could do something else, like pick up a blade of grass and ask which hand it was in.

"The closest to that incident I ever experienced in my career was in a Premier League match between Everton and Birmingham. It was live on TV. I forgot to bring my cards out with me, and didn't realise until I went to show a yellow card to Jordon Mutch. You can probably find it on YouTube.

"But I was lucky, because there is nothing in the Laws of the Game about the use of cards -- they are just visual aids. Still, I was given 'operational advice' because of it, and that probably would have been sufficient for McNamara."

As things stand, McNamara reserves the right to appeal his suspension.

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