Wayne Rooney will not be punished by The Football Association despite television replays clearly showing that the England international caught Wigan midfielder with his elbow on Saturday.
As Rooney ran past McCarthy the striker seemed to deliberately hit the Wigan man in the face, leading to referee Mark Clattenburg giving a free kick. He did not, though, give a red, or even yellow, card.
Because Clattenburg ‘dealt’ with the incident during the match, English football’s governing body cannot act as they believe it will undermine the officials, as The Press Association explains:
“The disciplinary process is complex in the sense that the FA are not allowed by FIFA to take further action on incidents already dealt with by the referee.
In addition, world football’s governing body frowns upon the idea that referees could go into a game believing they have a ‘get-out’ of trial by video, as is the case in both codes of rugby, where Rooney would almost certainly have been cited given the severity of the incident.”
The FA have decided that retrospective punishment will not be taken as Clattenburg has told them that he feels he administrated appropriate action at the time, basically leading The FA powerless.
Professional Game Match Officials general manager Mike Riley said: “Match officials are trained to prioritise following the ball, as that’s where the greater majority of incidents are going to take place. However, we also do a lot of work around the area of peripheral vision to be aware of anything that might potentially happen off the ball.”
He added: “In this incident Mark was following play but caught sight of two players coming together and he awarded a free-kick because he believed one player had impeded the other.
“We should be clear that Mark did nothing wrong in officiating this incident as he acted on what he saw on the pitch.”
While this decision does show consistency (if The FA were to punish Rooney and therefore use him as an example, there would be similar outrage to that of now because they did not persecute Ben Thatcher or Steven Gerrard, who have been involved in similar incidents in the last few years) there is a clear indication that the rule regarding retrospective punishment needs to change.
With the advances in technology that the game has experienced, or, rather, ignored, over the years, surely some sort of implementation of video evidence should be at least taken into consideration?
Rooney is now free to face Chelsea tomorrow night as United go into a vital period of their season, with Liverpool and possibly Arsenal coming up in the next few weeks, as well as Marseille in the Champions League. Sir Alex Ferguson should count himself lucky that one of his most influential players, at his best, is still available for selection.
This article originally appeared on sports website Sports Haze but is now unavailable due to the site closing down.
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