Rooney avoids FA charge
Published 28/02/2011 | 16:12
Wayne Rooney has avoided punishment for catching Wigan's James McCarthy with his elbow despite referee Mark Clattenburg having only a peripheral view of the incident.
The Football Association have been told by Clattenburg that he feels he administered the appropriate action, which leaves the governing body powerless to launch disciplinary proceedings against the 25-year-old.
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."
Wigan manager Roberto Martinez claimed if Clattenburg had seen the incident properly the offence would have warranted a straight red card, a view endorsed later on Match of the Day by Alan Hansen, who suggested Rooney was "in big trouble".
However, 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.
It meant that Clattenburg would first of all have had to admit he did not see the incident and then explain exactly what he gave the free-kick for given the striker committed no other offence.
Sir Alex Ferguson will no doubt be gratified at knowing his £27million frontman will be available for Tuesday's trip to Chelsea and next weekend's encounter with Liverpool at Anfield, having claimed on Saturday the media would try to "electrocute" Rooney.