Sergio Aguero will not be forced to make an apology after placing his hand on the neck and shoulder of assistant referee Sian Massey-Ellis during Manchester City’s win against Arsenal at the weekend.
His club have drawn a line under the incident and consider it dealt with, as Aguero will face no action over the incident at the Etihad Stadium. The Argentina striker drew widespread criticism, the latest from Crystal Palace goalkeeper Chloe Morgan, who works full-time as a lawyer.
“What kind of message does it send out when a man can (very publicly) touch you inappropriately in your place of work and receive no punishment?” wrote Morgan. “Worse yet, the manager says he’s just a nice guy #handsoff”
Massey-Ellis, 35, could have reported Aguero to Chris Kavanagh after the 1-0 win to City but it did not form part of the referee’s report that would see the incident investigated. It is understood the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL), the organising body for match officials, did not deem it an aggressive or threatening action.
Aguero has not made a statement on the matter but was backed by his manager, Pep Guardiola, immediately after the game. "Come on guys," Guardiola said. "Sergio is the nicest person I ever met in my life. Look for problems in other situations not in this one."
What kind of message does it send out when a man can (very publicly) touch you inappropriately in your place of work and receive no punishment? Worse yet, the manager says he’s just a nice guy #handsoff pic.twitter.com/nQUHovsAJW
— Chloe Morgan (@Morgie_89) October 19, 2020
Telegraph Sport reported calls from charity Ref Support UK for a "line to be drawn in the sand" over the treatment of officials, praising Massey-Ellis for her calm reaction and insisting Aguero should count himself fortunate.
The shadow sports minister, Alison McGovern, described Aguero's conduct as "horrendous" and took to Twitter to say: "Get your hands off her neck." Her Labour colleague, Dr Rosena Allin-Khan, said his behaviour was "completely unacceptable" and asked: "Who does he think he is?"