Belfast Telegraph

Whelan unhappy with FA stance

Wigan owner Dave Whelan has reacted angrily to the Football Association's failure to punish Wayne Rooney for his clash with Latics midfielder James McCarthy on Saturday.

Television replays from the match showed Rooney strike McCarthy on the back of his head after the midfielder had appeared set to block his run, but the striker avoided punishment. At the time referee Mark Clattenburg awarded a free-kick, and on Monday informed the FA that he felt he administered the appropriate action, leaving them powerless to launch disciplinary proceedings.

Whelan told The Sun: "It sends out a terrible message. Something is wrong when a top international like Rooney is seen doing something like this, as clear as day, and is allowed to get away without being punished."

He added: "If it was any other club or player, you can bet your life he would have been sent off. But officials seem intimidated by the words 'Rooney' and 'United'.

"Manchester United are allowed to get away with things the rest of us get pulled up for. And you can't have one set of rules for one club and another for the rest.

"I don't care what the FA say about the matter being dealt with at the time by us getting a free-kick. They, and everyone else in football, know justice isn't being served here.

"The FA will be delighted they can hide behind their rules and let Rooney off, as they are frightened of taking sanctions against him and his club."

FIFA rules prevent the FA from taking action in cases where the referee has witnessed the incident.

Clattenburg's stance has come in for some criticism, although he has been defended by Professional Game Match Officials general manager Mike Riley, who said: "Mark took the correct course of action with this incident.

"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."


From Belfast Telegraph