Woah, Football Association, slow down already, this is gold! Mere milliseconds following the ruling on Shaun Derry’s red card, we received word Balotelli would receive “no further punishment” from the FA with regard to his studs up challenge on Alex Song in Manchester City’s 1-0 defeat to Arsenal. The FA to their credit at least offers an explanation which was lacking in the Derry case:

Where at least one of the officials has seen the coming together of players retrospective action is not taken, regardless of whether they have seen the full extent of the challenge.

Retrospective action can only be taken in scenarios where none of the Match Officials saw the players coming together. The normal scenarios in which retrospective action is taken are for ‘off the ball’ incidents.

Retrospective action was introduced for off the ball incidents where there was no contest for possession and could not be deemed to be re-refereeing an incident.

In agreement with FIFA, this is how ‘not seen’ incidents are dealt with retrospectively in England. It is a policy that is agreed with all football stakeholders.

Italics mine. So it is written, so it shall be done. The result here is that in English football it’s possible to see something without seeing it. Heavy. Still, you can understand why the decision was made this way. As Sam Wallace put it,

Referee Martin Atkinson was asked a question about what he saw on the day and didn’t lie. If the FA bends the rules regarding retrospective decisions in any way, it will allow for a whingy bonanza after every closely contested match. So even if a ref has seen a “bit”, it’s probably best to avoid any grey area.


Comments (7)

  1. The FA is a fucking joke… that is all.

  2. The biggest issue I have with this is that everyone and their dog was discussing the possibility (probability?) of Balotelli getting as many as 9 matches for this, on top of his other red card incidents.

    How can everybody be so out to lunch on the ruling? If this were the NHL, I can assure you that one of the talking heads would have provided chapter and verse as to whether or not it was reviewable, and if so what rules (numbered and sub-sectioned) were in play, complete with potential and likely consequences. Here, all those same talking heads seem totally unaware that the incident wasn’t even eligible for review. How can this be?

    Regardless of what you think of the FA (and we’ve had enough of these hot spots pop up that all of us have an opinion) the most obvious thing we can learn from this is that they do a piss-poor job of making their rules known to outsiders. Considering how many billions are being made, it seems stupid of them to not do a better job of informing the media about how they work.

    The Balotelli incident should have been extinguished at halftime, not left to blaze up and leave supporters disgruntled and building conspiracy theories about how decisions get made in football.


  3. It was a ridiculous challenge that should have resulted in a straight red card. I was furious.
    Mostly because he could have recklessly, and purposely broken his leg. This was no Ramsey broken leg incident.

    It was no accident or hard challenge. Balotelli blatantly lined him up. Stutter stepped even.

    What message is the FA sending by not addressing this. Its open season to see what players can get away with. It was malicious.

    I was happy that Song could keep playing.

    One day, someone is going to do a job on Mario. And if the FA doesn’t watch out, that is the type of thing they are encouraging.

  4. This is a straight red card every day of the week.

    Either the referee wasn’t in a good position to see the studs going into his leg, or the referee is just incompetent in enforcing the laws of the game. These are the only two options.

  5. I love all the comments and critics from the talking arm chair referees. How many of these people have actually officiated a game let alone a game of this caliber and speed. At times due to position or speed of play when something occurs looks diifferent then what actually occurred. In addition when you have advantage to sit and watch an incident replayed over and over from different angles of course you can sit there and eaisly say it was a stright red blah blah. Yeah im sure he is unqualified right? Do you think any of the talking heads here could do better? Im sure if you could you would be officiating top flight matches yourself. Give it a break call not made, decision determined down with it. Stop comparing it to other leagues cause its not the NHL, NFL, etc. Its goverened by the Laws of the Game, not rules like other sports that seem to be changed or interpreted at will. Feel free to blast me its a free world and a lively debate is always a blast.

    • Mate I’m a qualified provincial soccer referee here in BC and I know exactly what you mean. I officiate high calibre, fast paced matches here in BC (not as fast as the BPL) but like the FA officials, I only get one look not numerous camera angle replays. We officials make mistakes, I am the first to admit I have made mistake in matches, but it’s a learning point and you move on not letting it affect you through the rest of the match. I do this because I love the game of football, from grassroots to the world game!
      If you listened to 5 Live 606 Phone-In Show on Saturday (EVERYONE NEEDS TO DOWNLOAD THE PODCAST FROM ITUNES AND LISTEN TO THAT SATURDAY EPISODE), Robbie Savage (the washed up twat) made a comment that football referees do not love the game of football, nor do they fully know the Laws of the Game. This coming from a washed up footballer whose highlight in the last 10 years is being on UK Dancing with the Stars. He needs to get his head out of ass and realize that all football referees, no matter grassroots to world games, do it because we love the game. Just because we aren’t good enough to play it for a living, we can at least be still involved in some capacity.
      I am open for debate to Campy…bring it on!

    • Your argument is a straw man, Campy. People are not upset primarily at Atkinson, but at the FA. Games are played at high speed and refs do miss calls sometimes. That’s why the FA has the option to review things and make sure justice is done.

      The fact that Balotelli did what he did, that the incident went largely unnoticed by the on-site officials and the FA still did nothing is the galling part.

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