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Balotelli Escapes Charge

Balotelli Escapes Charge

Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli has, quite amazingly, escaped any further charge after a horrendous knee high tackle on Alex Song. During the first half of the Gunners 1-0 win over City, Balotelli raised his foot, with the ball grounded, and stamped down on Song's kneecap. Fortunately, the Cameroonian's foot wasn't planted, thus avoiding serious injury.

It was widely expected Balotelli would serve an extra punishment, having been eventually red carded in the game for a series of reckless tackles. But the F.A, who have also upheld Sean Derry's controversial red card at Old Trafford earlier in the day, have ruled that no action can be taken because one of the four officials saw Balotelli's tackle.

A statement on the F.A. website read, ''Retrospective action in relation to the incident involving Mario Balotelli of Manchester City and Alex Song of Arsenal, which occurred in the 20th minute of Sunday's game, will not be taken.

'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.'

But funnily enough the policy magically didn't apply under enough media pressure when Ben Thatcher was only booked for an assault on Pedro Mendes in a game between Man City and Portsmouth in 2005.

The supposition that one of the four officials saw the incident in question, but did not think the offence worthy of so much as a free kick, has to raise serious questions about that particular official's ability to officiate at this level. The first thing a referee is taught on a referee's course is that their first responsibility is to protect the safety of all participating players. That official was in dereliction of that duty if he felt Balotelli's tackle was a fair one.

It seems the F.A. and its band of increasingly laughable dinosaurs hide behind a number of convenient factors. They allege that retrospective punishment undermines the authority of the official. But surely harbouring an atmosphere of mistrust by upholding the infallibility of referees does an awful lot more to undermine them. I think most supporters recognise in their calmer moments that officials have an unenviable job and mistakes are likely and understandable. But by arrogantly refusing to admit and correct errors when presented with the chance, they simply fuel disrespect from fans and players alike. LD.

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

Writer:Tim Stillman
Date:Tuesday April 10 2012
Time: 6:21PM


I was convinced Mario would get banned because no official in their right mind would own up to seeing that incident, not even thinking it worthy of a freekick. Our game is governed by, and I use this term in the harshest possible way, f***ing idiots.
10/04/2012 18:41:00
Truly staggering. I've heard it all now.
Wyn Mills
10/04/2012 18:45:00
LD, you are exactly right in that all this does is reinforce the perception of incompetant and arrogant FA officials. The idiotic refusal to deal with the spiteful and dangerous act that millions will have witnessed on TV will do nothing but damage the already flaky reputation of the FA.
Wyn Mills
10/04/2012 18:52:00
As a City fan I find it quite staggering and yet another example of total inconsistency. I admire Atkinson for at least saying he saw the incident (unlike Webb in the Spurs match) and I also understand that at speed these things are hard to pick up but when one sees the replay of the tackle it was a straight red. I would also like to see the Song tackle on YaYa Toure at slow speed but he is not as big a rogue as Balotelli, so the press do not bother with this. However that is no excuse for the Balotelli tackle which could have broken Song's leg. One other huge inconsistency how can they overrule the Derry sending off, when Young was offside and dived like the cheat he is. He admittedly got a slight nudge but the twisting salmon effect was totally out of order to a fellow pro .... but they are United and did you see the speed at which Lee Mason got the red card out.
10/04/2012 18:54:00
I've seen the Song tackle on Yaya slowed down. Their kneecaps collided.
Little Dutch
10/04/2012 19:01:00
I've watched the match again and YaYa Toure is clearly unfit and not moving well BEFORE the clash with Song. Not only that, he's limping on the WRONG leg!!
Wyn Mills
10/04/2012 19:09:00
I must say the officiating in the EPL the last few days has got me worried, especially given the standards to which the officials are held here; and just when you thought the FA would get it right, they start pontificating in a manner that raises more questions than answers. This has little to do with Balotelli as it has to do with the integrity of the game. An outfit as the FA, as the last bastion of hope for fairness, should be able to be consistent. Football is a game played for high stakes and the concern here is the possibility that inducements or arm twisting may be employed to get the right rulings, depending on whose nest is to be feathered. Didn't intend to be controversial there but, how else does this whole episode look? See the way they came up with just the right clause(s) to ensure the Mario gets off. A precedent has been set here, guys; a dangerous one it may yet prove.
10/04/2012 19:13:00
willy, no way can the two tackles (Song's on Yaya and Balotelli's on Song) be compared. Wyn Mills is right. Yaya limps off on the wrong leg (the right knee, I think), whereas, the contact Song made with him was on the other knee.
10/04/2012 19:18:00
Wasn't comparing the two but just would have liked to have seen it but I will take your word if it was just two knees coming together. Also dont think City have been done any favours ... he majority of our supporters I have talked to were disgusted with that tackle and would have liked him banned all season. Equally why Young was not charged for diving is beyond me as it was the most obvious case of simulation you could see but he and the linesman are not punished.... whereas the linemn that gave a penalty to Newcastle at Old Tarfford was publically named by Ferguson (no charge) and hasn't been back there since.
10/04/2012 19:33:00
The official who saw Balotelli's tackle and ignored it should either be demoted by the FA or gracefully retire from officiating. Not good enough to do the job, in fact completely incompetent.
10/04/2012 20:06:00
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