Belfast Telegraph

Balotelli and Dalglish set to escape FA punishment

By Sam Wallace

Mario Balotelli is set to be told today by the Football Association that he has no case to answer over the post-match row on the pitch at Wembley on Saturday.

The Manchester City striker has been criticised by Rio Ferdinand for his conduct after City's 1-0 win over Manchester United, but the FA has decided that nothing in the footage they have seen suggests that Balotelli was guilty of improper conduct.

The governing body has more evidence to study today, but it does not expect to charge Balotelli.

Kenny Dalglish will also escape censure for telling Arsene Wenger to “p*** off” in front of the Sky Sports cameras at the end of the match between Liverpool and Arsenal at the Emirates on Sunday.

The West Ham defender Danny Gabbidon may find himself charged under new improper conduct rules governing social networking sights for his rant against a fan on Twitter.

Sir Trevor Brooking, meanwhile, believes it is unfair to point the finger at big stars such as Wayne Rooney when people discuss a perceived lack of respect in football.

Brooking, the Football Association's director of football development, was at the forefront of the campaign calling for action to be taken against Manchester United and England striker Rooney, who swore directly at a television camera after completing a recent hat-trick against West Ham.

He received a two-game ban and was criticised for setting a bad example to youngsters. But Brooking feels it is too easy just to blame the likes of Rooney and that the right behaviour should be shown by clubs and players at the lower end of the game.

Brooking said: “We are always conscious as managers and players that what is reflected at the weekend in the professional game is an issue. I do understand that high-profile figures do have a responsibility.

“On my travels with grassroots football, you get people saying 'you've got to improve that sort of thing' — and we will try and improve it. But I also think it is important from the grassroots level that you set your own standards.

“If you are running a team, I'd like to think the people involved will set those standards. I think sometimes we use someone else's behaviour as an excuse not to behave properly ourselves.”

Belfast Telegraph


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