Manchester City charged for Erling Haaland’s anger at referee in Tottenham game

Manchester City have been charged by the FA for failing to control their players after Erling Haaland and teammates surrounded the referee in anger towards the end of Sunday’s clash with Tottenham Hotspur.

City players were incensed as referee Simon Hooper appeared to initially play advantage after a foul on Haaland by Emerson Royal but then pulled play back for the free-kick just when Jack Grealish was through on goal with a chance to score the winner.

Instead, the reigning Premier League champions could only draw 3-3 in an enthralling encounter to lose further ground to Arsenal in the title race and players surrounded Hooper following the incident, berating his decision.

The FA has now announced that the club will be charged for failing to stop their players doing that and they have three days to respond.

An FA statement read: “Manchester City have been charged with a breach of FA Rule E20.1 after their players surrounded the match official during the Premier League fixture against Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday 3 December 2023.

“It's alleged that, during the 94th minute of the fixture, the club failed to ensure their players do not behave in a way which is improper. Manchester City have until Thursday 7 December 2023 to respond to the charge.”

Haaland had to be restrained at full-time after leading the protests and the Norweigan striker later took to social media to react to a clip of the incident, posting “Wtf”.

There was speculation that he would be fined or charged by the FA for his post but he has avoided any sanction.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola said he would not “do a Mikel Arteta” by criticising referees, in an apparent dig at his former assistant and Arsenal boss.

Arteta was charged by the Football Association last month following his criticism of Premier League referees and VAR. After a 1-0 defeat at Newcastle, Arteta said the decision to award Anthony Gordon’s winner was an “absolute disgrace” and “embarrassing”.

But Guardiola said he would not go down the same route and although the Spaniard said he did not “understand” why play was brought back, he refused to go any further.

When asked about the incident, he said: “Next question. I will not do a Mikel Arteta comment.

“It is hard when you review the image, the referee decides to blow the whistle after he has already said to play on. After the pass, the whistle, so I do not understand this action.

“It was a good game, that is the most important thing. It was a pity, same as the Liverpool game, I had the feeling that today that we made an incredible performance in all departments, against a really good team and manager and how they play.

“We created a lot of chances, we were aggressive, incredibly concentrated, and the feeling is that we still want to be there [at the top of the table].

“It is a pity. Sometimes football is like life, you do not get what you deserve.”

Meanwhile, on Sky Sports, former Manchester United captain Roy Keane said the referee had made a “mistake” while former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher said Hooper had “panicked” by bringing play back.

Former Man City defender Micah Richards added: “The referee had a brilliant game today until this moment. I don’t understand. He puts the whistle to his mouth, he waves it on but stops to play advantage. Grealish is clearly through but then he stops the play, which I just don’t understand.”