English soccer referee banned for using rock, paper, scissors instead of coin flip before kickoff

Coin flips are a pretty essential part of sporting events, trivial and forgotten as they may seem.

But what happens when you forget the coin itself?

If you're David McNamara, an English Football Association referee who oversaw a recent Women's Super League match between Reading and Manchester City, you get creative.

You break out some rock, paper, scissors.

That's exactly what McNamara did when he realized he'd left his coin in the dressing room during that match's pre-kickoff toss. And as ESPN's Chris Wright reported, his spontaneous alternative turned out to be a direct violation of a Football Association rule. Law 8 of International Football Association Board rules states that "a coin" must be used to determine which team gets to choose its side before each match. That's why, as of this week, McNamara has been suspended 21 days for his actions.

The referee has since accepted the suspension, saying his decision to have team captains Steph Houghton and Kirsty Pearce go at it with their hands was "not acting in the best interests of the game." But, hey, rock, paper, scissors is pretty fair, isn't it? As long as McNamara was keeping a close eyes on those fingers to ensure no one changed their signal after shooting, Reading and Manchester United still got a 50-50 shot at winning the toss, right?

In reality, we all know McNamara was wrong, and it's kind of unbelievable that he didn't just delay the coin toss to, you know, find a coin from someone else at the stadium. He does, however, retain the right to appeal his three-week ban.

No word yet on whether McNamara gave any consideration to having the captains draw straws.

CBS Sports Writer

Cody Benjamin joined CBS Sports in 2017 after time spent with SB Nation, various newspapers and his own Eagles outlet. Raised around the Philly sports scene, he now lives in Minnesota with his wife and... Full Bio

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