IT is pleasing I was not the only one critical of the FA’s suspension of referee David McNamara, who forgot his coin at the recent Reading FC women’s match.

Several national football correspondents had similar thoughts and ex-PGMOL chief, Keith Hackett, called it draconian.

Many referees protested the following Saturday by copying his solution of paper, stone, scissors to decide how to start their games.

Although a coin doesn’t appear in the compulsory equipment a referee must take onto the field of play, the Laws say that at kick-off, ‘the team that wins the toss of a coin, decides which goal it will attack in the first half’.

All referees normally start with a toss-up, but not always with a coin.

I once refereed a Greek Cypriot team and at toss-up, I said to their captain as I handed the home team my old penny piece ‘call heads or tails’.

‘What’ he asked me in broken English, ‘is heads and tails’.

I explained of course, but it made me wonder what happens in other countries.

My answer came when on holiday in Turkey, I watched an international game on television between the home nation and Azerbaijan.

The camera zoomed in on the toss-up and the Danish referee spoke to the captains in English.

Showing them the ‘coin’ he said ‘red’ and then turning it over, ‘blue’.

It was not a coin but a small two coloured disc.

People sometimes wonder, why after the toss-up at the Madejski Stadium, the referee often runs over to the fourth official and hands him something.

Judging by my one and only appointment as fourth official it will be his coin, which he doesn’t want clanking about in his pocket.

Only in my case it was not a coin that I was handed but a rather large medal.

This reminds me when the Referees Association reached its centenary, it gave all members a celebration medal with the associations logo on one side.

I used mine for toss-up ceremony training with new referees.

Don’t tell the FA.