A REFEREE in charge of a Reading FC Women’s fixture has been suspended for using a game of rock-paper-scissors instead of a coin toss.

David McNamara left his coin in the dressing room before the Women’s Super League clash at Manchester City on October 26.

Rather than return to pick it up, McNamara asked home skipper Steph Houghton and Reading’s Kirsty Pearce to play rock-paper-scissors to determine who kicks off and which team occupies which end, as required by the Laws of the game.

McNamara has since been suspended for 21 days for the error.

A spokesman from the FA said: "The FA can confirm that referee David McNamara has been suspended for 21 days, starting from Monday 26 November, after accepting a charge of 'not acting in the best interests of the game.

"This follows an incident in the FA WSL match between Manchester City and Reading on Friday 26 October 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."

Kelly Chambers’ Royals ended up drawing the match 1-1 after Jade Moore cancelled out a Georgia Stanway opener.

Top rugby referee Nigel Owens had his say on social media, suggesting 'common sense' was needed in a case where both captain's were satisfied.

Referee Dick Sawdon-Smith, who writes a popular, weekly column in the Reading Chronicle, also strongly criticised the decision to suspend McNamara.

"I think the penalty is ridiculous," he said; "Let's face it,  it is the same as a player would get for deliberately punching an opponent.

"Nobody got hurt. Law 8 says: 'The team that wins the toss of a coin decides which goal it will attack in the first half'.

"The referee is not the first to forget to take out a coin to toss up. I have been an assistant referee at a game where the referee has come over and said 'I've forgotten my coin, have you got one?' Why didn't this referee do that?"

He added: "I remember a referee at Reading in the old Elm Park days, forgetting his coin.

"He picked up two blades of grass, one short and one long, and asked the captains to 'pick a  straw'. The longest one got the choice.

"He then said to the two captains I'm going to pretend to toss up a coin and I would like you to pretend to call.' He explained that there was an assessor in the stand watching him, so he would be marked down for not tossing the coin.

"As a little twist, in the Laws, it lists the equipment a referee must have. It doesn't include a coin."

Royals are fifth in the WSL1 table, with City second.

Reading are back in action this Sunday when the take on Brighton at Crawley Town (2pm ko).