Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 20 August 2014

Rooney escapes punishment

Wayne Rooney

Wayne Rooney will face no disciplinary action for his attack on Wigan's James McCarthy at the DW Stadium on Saturday.

Television replays clearly showed Rooney swipe McCarthy on the back of his head with an elbow after the midfielder had appeared set to block the Manchester United striker's run.

At the time referee Mark Clattenburg awarded a free-kick and, after contacting the official, the FA have been told the official feels he administered the appropriate action, which leaves the governing body powerless to launch disciplinary proceedings against the 25-year-old.

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 that evening 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 admitted 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 front-man will be available for the trip to Chelsea and next weekend's encounter with Liverpool at Anfield, having claimed on Saturday the media would try to "electrocute" Rooney.

But the manner in which this case has been dealt with is bound to bring more calls for the widespread use of video technology.

Such demands reached a crescendo following last summer's World Cup final but so far FIFA president Sepp Blatter, whose organisation would have to give the green light for technology to be used, has been implacably resistant to such calls.

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