Another week and yet another incident allowing football fans to again see just how silly the FA operate, or in this past weekend’s case, fails to operate. Reminiscent of a clumsy, bumbling teenager attempting to un-hook his first bra strap aged 16 because of their historical callowness, the FA possess neither the ability to make an unpopular decision or the ability to re-write their own rules thus allowing common sense to prevail.
On Saturday, attempting his best George St-Pierre impersonation, Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney bludgeoned Wigan’s James McCarthy proper elbow to the head style during United’s eventual 0-4 away win. The issue, even more vital than the incident itself (which was shocking and ridiculous by definition), was that referee Mark Clattenburg in fact witnessed the infraction yet deemed his actions in only awarding Wigan a free kick “appropriate”.
It’s at this point where we begin to pick up the pieces, attempt to reassemble them and form coherent thought over the whole matter. While the three parties involved – Rooney, Clattenburg and the FA – are all guilty in some shape or form, it’s the sum of the absurdity that assigns the Rooney-Clattenburg incident as one of the most laughable ever.
By Clattenburg’s own admission, the 35-year-old witnessed Rooney throw a haymaker of an elbow to the head of McCarthy yet somehow failed to deem the action violent conduct which would have witnessed the 25-year-old England striker miss massive matches the likes of Chelsea and Liverpool away this week and a third - likely a home FA Cup tie Vs. Arsenal.
Because Clattenburg blew a call that could have severely injured a Premier League player, the FA, under their very own laws, are left powerless to defy Clattenburg’s initial opinion. When viewed as a simple mathematical equation, football fans and head-scratchers the world over are left with something resembling this:
Wayne Rooney’s elbow + Mark Clattenburg’s eye = FA fail
At best and when given the benefit of the doubt, Clattenburg may have witnessed only half of the incident because of the fact that it did in truth happen off the ball which only places the proverbial ball in the court of the FA to use common sense. United fans and Rooney devotees may scoff at these sentences but when the red-shaded glasses are removed from their eyes, they’ll see an obvious infraction of rules resulting in a violent offense which should have led to a three match suspension.
Just because the referee didn’t witness the incident in its entirety doesn’t mean it failed to transpire. It’s for this very reason, and because of the power of video technology, that the FA must soon consider at minimum a tweaking of rules and at maximum an overhaul or risk even more ridicule from the world football community.