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Wayne Rooney And Mark Clattenburg Again Prove The FA Is Inept


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.

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  1. Jake

    March 2, 2011 at 7:26 am

    typical united getting all the decisions. the reason the FA and clattenburg are backing rooney is beacuse there getting nig back handers. Big clubs always get the big decisions, its just how football is these days. Any other none top 4 club in the league they would of been booked and got a suspension, but oh no just because its a big name like “rooney” and “united”, and every typical united fan saying big wow we lost one, two games and cant face they got beat

  2. Troy

    March 1, 2011 at 11:54 am

    The funniest thing through this whole episode is hearing old blowhart Ferguson and the rest of the United fans defending Rooney. For a team with class players like Sir Bobby and Giggs, they show absolutely no honor and resemble the uneducated hordes of scousers. There is no excuse, it would be better if people would just say, “I’m embarrased for the team and I have no defense of what he did” but no, they keep trying to deflect the issue to turn it to someone else or deny. Pathetic United.

  3. king gooner

    March 1, 2011 at 10:12 am

    what is the point in trying to reasonwith any MANURE fans ffs!the most arrogant,one eyed bunch of c***ts your’e ever likely to meet-they hate us we hate them.end’s common knowledge the refs are in their pocket-anyone outside of old trafford could prob write a book full of dodgy decissions in their favour from their “friends”the men in black-rooneys assault was just another shining example of the favouritism dished out to the fa/media’s beyond a joke-one day like italy the truth will out with regards to corruption & that date i eagerly await…

  4. Romilos Fronimides

    March 1, 2011 at 8:35 am

    I don’t know if FA is corrupted or false (like Greeks keep yelling for their own League), but what we ALL KNOW and even a 5 years old child can understand is…
    …in England, in EPL, there is FOR DACADES, the… “Ferguson MAFIA”!!! I’m not talking about OTHER clubs, no. There are times/games, the refs but ALSO F.A. are favoring your team or mine. BUT!!!…
    ALWAYS and I mean it, ALWAYS – again, if you didn’t got it… ALWAYS!!! – the refs are ALWAYS FAVORING “Sir gum-eater”!!! ALWAYS!… During matches (with unbelievable callls), but also OUTSIDE pitches!
    I’m not English/British, to “learn” hating Everton/ManU, for the reasons that “Scousers” are. But! I learn HATING SO MUCH ManU & Ferguson, because this OLD-F*RT “GOD-FATHER” of English Football!!!

  5. Mizzy

    March 1, 2011 at 7:38 am

    Do United fans really and truly feel that justice was served and a free kick was all that was warranted? Really? Or do you feel that when people “attack” your team you have an obligation to defend them?

    If any player on God’s green earth had done that to Ryan Giggs, devils supporters would be screaming for blood. Admit it.

    • tonyspeed

      March 1, 2011 at 8:19 am

      Here’s my take it now that i understand what happened a little better. Was it uncalled for? Sure. Did Mccarthy deserve it? Yes. He was trying to screen Rooney so he could not get onto the ball. Should Rooney have gotten a red. By strict application of Fifa rules, probably, he should have went for the ribs instead. But I am a firm believer in the rule of cause and effect. If you play foul, then you expect to get fouled. That’s just fact. The reason he didn’t go down was because he realised he was being a idiot.

  6. brn442

    February 28, 2011 at 10:37 pm

    I’m sorry Gaffer but as you rightly say,there are protocols. The FA cannot do anything unless the referee missed the incident or, assuringly – the referee admitted he made a mistake – so don’t blame the FA, blame Clattenburg. Referees, get paid to do a job. It’s inexplicable how Clattenburg failed to punish Rooney but it’s a slippery slope to start having shadowy panels second guessing and reversing refereeing decisions.

    • The Gaffer

      February 28, 2011 at 11:41 pm

      brn442, Jesse Chula wrote the story, not me. I’ll let him respond.

      The Gaffer

      • brn442

        February 28, 2011 at 11:45 pm

        Sorry – Gaffer – that’s what happens when you read from a blackberry. It all makes (or lack of) sense now.

  7. Earl Reed

    February 28, 2011 at 9:37 pm

    Hats off to a United fan who can take off “the glasses” and be realistic about the situation.

  8. El Tri 2014

    February 28, 2011 at 5:31 pm

    “Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney bludgeoned Wigan’s James McCarthy…” wow, poetic license? or a Chelsea fan hoping Rooney would not be available for Tuesday? Of course, perhaps Mr. Chula is flexing his poetic muscles hoping to pin the Special One’s biograghy, “I’m a Winner.”

    • SoCal Jay

      February 28, 2011 at 7:49 pm

      Fair representation of the facts I would say. Rooney got away with one this time. Video replay shows that Rooney should have received a red card, no question about it. This coming from a United fan too!

    • Clampdown

      February 28, 2011 at 7:57 pm

      I guess you don’t visit this site much. Jesse is a diehard Man United fan. He writes (almost always favorably) about them frequently.

      I applaud him for taking off the red-tinted glasses and being honest about what a joke Clattenburg and the FA are.

  9. SeminoleGunner

    February 28, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    It’s been quite a season for Mr. Clattenburg. If United hold on for the title, will he get a winner’s medal?

    • jon

      February 28, 2011 at 3:57 pm

      I would imagine so. He deserves it. 1st name on the teamsheet every week if fergie had his way

    • RedMD

      February 28, 2011 at 5:14 pm

      Yep, and at this rate he’ll get his winner’s medal well before anyone at Arsenal ever does.

  10. Andy

    February 28, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    It can’t be hard having a camera at each end if the ground which is referred to for instances like this. Rooney would be subject to trial by video and handed a subsequent ban if found guilty. Review is done umpire and linesman and penalties (if any) are announced by a tribunal. Happens in our Australian Football League and works well.

  11. jon

    February 28, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    One law for man utd and another for the rest. Im not surprised this has happened this season and def not the last either!

    • Sapper

      February 28, 2011 at 4:23 pm


      Must be a city fan if you are that bitter !!

      Are you one of these who thinks United players don’t get sent off, what about Rafael ?

      • Lermio Lermasaurus

        February 28, 2011 at 6:17 pm

        No, just regular football fans of teams who abide by the rules are tired of all the special treatment.

        If that had been a Wigan player striking a United player with his elbow, the United player WOULD have fallen down in a heap, clutching his head and getting the Wigan player sent off, only to arise moments after the red card and continue playing as if nothing happened.

        Scholes has one or two bad tackles every game, and I forget who it was this time but he came in from behind and after the ball had left the Wigan players feet, and made a terrible challenge which sent the Wigan player to the ground. But since Scholes has a “reputation” he doesn’t get carded. It’s the same with Giggs. He’s an old veteran of the league, and does things to deserve a yellow in every game yet escapes due to his status. It’s the same for Rooney, he is (was?) Englands best forward and the referees and the FA turn a blind eye whenever he does stuff like this.

        Dont get me wrong, I’m definitely not saying referees cant miss things or that this happens every time. It just happens too much to be a coincidence.

  12. Sapper

    February 28, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    Everyone is moaning about Rooneys Elbow incident, but no-one seems to have picked up on this, tell me …which is worse,… the elbow or Calwells tackle that Clattenburg failed to card, now tell me Clattenburg favours United

    • Drew

      February 28, 2011 at 5:05 pm

      Hmm. I’m a United “supporter” in the sense that I watch all their matches, enjoy seeing them win, and generally like the manager and most of the players. But I also try to be as objective as possible. To me, Caldwell’s tackle was probably painful for Evra, but I have no doubt that it was accidental even after watching the replay. He stomped on his ankle but you can tell he was trying to pull out of it before he made any contact. Rooney’s offense was intentional, stupid, and deserving of a red card. Just the opinion of one Manchester United fan.

  13. Matt

    February 28, 2011 at 3:15 pm

    Here’s to hoping he never officiates another premier league match. After the disaster of a performance at the 2007 Merseyside derby and his subsequent suspension for threatening someone’s family I will always have comtempt for him.

  14. yankred7

    February 28, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    @Sapper maybe you should accquaint yourself with what happened. No card was given by the ref just a slap on the wrist. Also he was talking about how rules should be ammended as to allow for the FA to relook at things. Also most of you complain I assume are United supporters and mad cause some is attacking your club. It is written by a United Supporter so get over it. There is no room for thuggery in football no matter what club you support.

    • Sapper

      February 28, 2011 at 3:12 pm

      Read my comment again, the incident was dealt with by the referee, he awarded a free kick.
      Nor did I say I condoned what Rooney did, I was pointing out that a FIFA ruling states local FA’s cannot interfere or overturn decisions made by a referee on the field of play.

      United supporter or not, the wording is over the top, Rooney did not bludgeon him, or deal out a haymaker, he cuffed him around the ear as he ran past him, yes in the book it is red card offence, you’ll have to ask Clattenburg why he didn’t issue a red, because only he knows.

      As for People attacking “My club” after 44yrs I’m used to it, but that becomes of being better, not arrogant ;))

      • Andrei

        March 1, 2011 at 12:54 pm

        @Sapper Can you provide reference to a document that states this rule? What about this Disciplinary Code document at:

        that states in Article 77:

        “The Disciplinary Committee is responsible for:
        a) sanctioning serious infringements which have escaped the match
        of?cials’ attention;
        –>b) rectifying obvious errors in the referee’s disciplinary decisions;
        c) extending the duration of a match suspension incurred automatically
        by an expulsion (cf. art 18, par. 4);
        d) pronouncing additional sanctions, such as a ?ne;…”

        • Matt

          March 1, 2011 at 1:05 pm

          When Emmanuel Adebayor ran to the Arsenal fans after scoring against Manchester City he was booked. The FA subsequently gave him a ban even though the referee had acted on the day. At the time it was reported that the FA could only step in if violent conduct was involved. Why are the FA now claiming they can’t step in when they clearly did so in the Adebayor case

  15. Andy Kay

    February 28, 2011 at 2:37 pm

    Time for the FA to adopt something like the NFL Coaches Challenge rule maybe? Allow the manager to challenge a ruling or something that seemed to be missed completely on the pitch, with a review of the challenge by video by off-field officials in conjunction with the referee and his assistants?

    They would have to find some kind of a “penalty” for a challenge that proved to be unfounded as of course the team couldn’t be penalized a time out as they do in the NFL, but it might be a way for the FA to move in the 21st century and clean up their poor record in this regard.

    • Dave C

      February 28, 2011 at 5:59 pm

      I like this idea – I think they should get a limited number of challenges, like NFL or tennis, and if they challenge but the referee is proved correct, then the “punishment” is simply the loss of one challenge. If the ref is proved wrong, then the team retains its full set of challenges.

      I’m not sure how it could be practically implemented though – would you have to wait for a stoppage in play to make a challenge?

  16. Sapper

    February 28, 2011 at 2:32 pm

    bludgeoned ?? Haymaker ??? next you’ll be saying he took a haymaker to him !!

    The writer should first of all acquaint himself with disciplinary rulings before he rubbishes the FA, because the FA’s hands are tied in this by a FIFA ruling which states that if an offence is dealt with by the referee and a card is issued no further action can be taken, and video evidence in cases like this is not to be used.
    If the FA were allowed to review and overturn every decision made by a Ref you would soon have no referee’s, because there would be no point in having them.
    The only time FA’s are allowed to issue retrospective bans is when the Referee has failed to see an incident, then they may use video evidence to review it and discipline the player.
    It’s over, it’s done, move on and get over it.

    • R2Dad

      February 28, 2011 at 5:35 pm

      The article addresses the shortcomings of the EPL/FA. Supporting FIFA because it’s FIFA is illogical, as Qatar has proven. The FA should pressure Blatter to allow video replays to address violent conduct, goal line challenges–critical issues. No one desires to overturn sideline calls or other common referee decisions. When the referee makes an error that should be rectified for the good of the game, the FA should endorse rule updates that do so, regardless of what existing rules state.

      • Dave C

        February 28, 2011 at 5:57 pm

        But it’s obviously not a shortcoming of the FA/EPL if they are simply following the rules of FIFA. FIFA may well be incompetent and corrupt, but if that’s the case, it should be they who are the subject of the article, not the EPL/FIFA.

        And even if they COULD “rectify” the referees error (if indeed it was an error), what should they do? Give him a red card retroactively, after the damage has already been done and Man Utd have come away with a 4-0 win? Or replay the whole game?

    • brn442

      February 28, 2011 at 11:47 pm

      Well said Sapper – they just have no idea.

  17. Rob McCluskey

    February 28, 2011 at 2:27 pm

    I had a mate trying to defend it by saying “well the ref dealt with the incident on the pitch, he only gave a freekick, so you can’t go back on that.”

    I don’t understand in any shape or form how that makes it just. It’s all to do with the referees being scared to admit they make mistakes and to be honest I think people would have a bit more understanding if they came out after the game and admitted that they’d made an error, as human error is natural in such a high tempo sport.

    The FA are so corrupt and need to deal with such incidents. There is no point in trying to preach about fair play if you won’t even take action on an incident that has been seen globally thanks to television replay. I’m surprised they didn’t give McCarthy the ban for headbutting Rooney’s elbow…

  18. Benny

    February 28, 2011 at 2:23 pm

    Seriously, did you expect the gutless FA to do anything? They allowed Man U to drop out of the 2000 FA Cup as holders to improve their brand in a meaningless ‘World Club Cup’ in Asia. Ferdinand was a drug cheat and Rooney is a fat, cheating, money grabbing Shrek look-a-like who can get away with diving and cheating every week.

    • Sapper

      February 28, 2011 at 2:37 pm

      Again people showing their ignorance, if you read the book by David Davies who was Secretary of the FA at the time, he says that the FA actively encouraged United to pull out, in an effort to improve Englands world cup bid.
      Ferdinand was not a drug cheat, he missed a routine test after training, and was banned, all his tests before and since have proved negative for any banned substances in sport.
      I suggest you get your head out of the Sun and into a quality paper, then you may just be up to date, not 8 yrs behind everyone else.

    • Matt

      February 28, 2011 at 2:49 pm

      He has no neck, he looks like shrek,
      Rooney Rooney
      He sleeps with all the prostitutes,
      Rooney Rooney,
      He scores no goals, he loves the whores, he allways sleeps away from home,
      Wayneeeee Rooney England’s f**king disgrace

      • Nick

        February 28, 2011 at 3:18 pm

        You’ve learned a chant, bravo.

        • Matt

          February 28, 2011 at 3:45 pm

          And you’ve learned to use a keyboard. Your parents must be proud.

        • Dave C

          February 28, 2011 at 5:52 pm

          It would be even better if it rhymed.

    • falano

      March 1, 2011 at 1:28 am

      lets talk abt the treatment the FA gives to United…

      ’03: Rio banned for 8 months & £50k fine for forgotten drugs test. ManCity’s Christian Negouai misses test same year. No ban, £2k fine.

      ’06: 3 match ban for Rooney + Scholes for reds in pre-season Amsterdam Tournament. Gerrard + Mellor sent off in same tourny in ’03 – no ban.

      So how do u think the FA favor United???

  19. tonyspeed

    February 28, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    I think the FA should focus on the silly behaviour of the whining fans after the fact and those who are never satisfied with it’s decisions. Maybe all the cry-babies are the actual geniuses and the people on the board don’t know ANYTHING about football….

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