Football: Hull charged by FA after players surround referee

Arsenal's Theo Walcott clashes with Hull City's Harry Maguire and Tom Huddlestone as referee Mark Clattenburg looks on.
Arsenal's Theo Walcott clashes with Hull City's Harry Maguire and Tom Huddlestone as referee Mark Clattenburg looks on.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (AFP) - Hull City were charged by the Football Association on Tuesday (Feb 14) with failing to control their players during last weekend's Premier League loss away to Arsenal.

Tigers players surrounded referee Mark Clattenburg after Arsenal full-back Kieran Gibbs was merely booked, rather than sent off, for fouling Lazar Markovic when the Hull winger was clear on goal.

"Hull City have been charged for failing to control their players," said a statement issued by the FA, English football's governing body.

"It is alleged that in or around the 55th minute of the game against Arsenal on Saturday (11 February 2017), the club failed to ensure that its players conducted themselves in an orderly fashion.

"The club have until 6pm on Feb 17, 2017, to respond to the charge."

Hull were 1-0 down at the time and lost the match 2-0.

The incident that sparked the visitors' furious reaction at the Emirates Stadium saw Markovic knocked over by Gibbs as he tried to control a long bouncing ball, with goalkeeper Petr Cech the only other Arsenal player between him and the goal.

Before the start of this season, the Premier League insisted they would clamp down on players surrounding referees, with officials empowered to show a yellow card for dissent in such circumstances.

Yet Clattenburg took no such action, and was content to caution Gibbs for the preceding foul alone.

Hull were already annoyed at having conceded a controversial goal in the first half when, after an initial effort from Alexis Sanchez was blocked by Hull keeper Eldin Jakupovic, the ball rebounded into the net off the Chile forward's raised hand.

Tigers full-back Andy Robertson said Clattenburg had apologised to Hull players about Sanchez's goal at the start of the second half.

"When we came out at half-time, the referee's apologised to us and said there was handball so he's obviously looked at it at half-time and seen he was in the wrong," Robertson told the Hull Daily Mail.

"Not many referees admit they're wrong so it's good but it doesn't make (the result) any better." Howard Webb, the referee for the 2010 World Cup final, said such decisions would remain controversial so long as they involved a judgement about whether the handball had been deliberate.

"One way around it would be to change the law to say that you cannot score a goal if the ball comes off an arm regardless of whether it was deliberate or not," Webb wrote in his Times column.

"That is something I would support as it would bring greater clarity, but it is not the law as it currently stands," he added.

Sanchez sealed Arsenal's win with a stoppage-time penalty after Hull's Sam Clucas handled on the line and was sent off by Clattenburg.