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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.

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The Journalist

Writer: Tim Stillman Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Tuesday April 10 2012

Time: 6:21PM

Your Comments

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.
Truly staggering. I've heard it all now.
Wyn Mills
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
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.
I've seen the Song tackle on Yaya slowed down. Their kneecaps collided.
Little Dutch
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
huh? even mancini thought his own player deserves a lengthy ban for that horrendous challenge but not the fa?
Joe_@** Good article here picking apart the F.A's legislation. Interestingly, Atkinson is not officiating this weekend.
Little Dutch
The no retrospective punishment rule is wrong at so many levels. Two wrongs dont make a right, FA.
Very interesting article there, LD. The writer does make a very compelling case of the contradictions inherent in the FA's claims, too.
Shocking. He stamped on Parkers head earlier on in the season but back then it was all hail king mario "the legend"
See that's the thing. Its not the first time Balotelli has been accused of a reckless challenge showing disregard for a fellow professional. And from what I have read its the FA's interpretation of the rules, not the rules themselves, which are at the root of the problem.
Wyn Mills
You can't blame Balotelli for trying to get the ball. That's what he did. Arsenal fans can ***** off.
Henry Baker Brown
Sensing your pain Henry old boy, you can't blame Arsenal for sp*rs choking though. That's what they do.
LD thank you for that piece. All I can say is I'm dumb founded. Surely that tackle falls into Police action? If the Police can take action against Racial comments then persistent Bad tackles would or could be deemed GBH. As for HBB go back to the other trolls , your just a Boof Head and a total waste of space.
HBB what an utter TROLL you are. I'm not wasting any more breath on you you than that. Meanwhile, back on THIS PLANET, well said LD. Having witnessed the Balotelli-Song and Young-Derry incidents again, it beggars belief how the lunatics at the FA would fail to act and first of all, hand out an additional ban to Balotelli and secondly, rescind Shaun Derry's red. So the FA's message is- it is okay to CHEAT and it is okay to COMMIT AN ASSAULT on a football pitch. We could've lost a player for a year and QPR, who are in the throat of a relegation battle, have lost a player FOR NOTHING. Absolute joke.
If Song had suffered a terrible leg break, do you thing the FA would not have taken further action? So it's all to do with the result and not the intent. Balotelli's challenge was one of the worst I've seen and I say that because some players are reckless, but his tackle was purely malicious. I actually thought the guy was okay up until that game, even giving him the benefit of the doubt regarding the Parker challenge, but even that looks like he meant it. The standard of refereeing is staggeringly poor in England. I just don't get how (largely) you get good referees in the Champions League, but not here. Even watching Spanish games, I've not seen any where I've come out thinking the referee was really poor. But in England, the likes of Dowd, Webb, Mason, in fact most of them, are just wannabe stars. Alan Wiley was okay, but he doesn't ref anymore I think.
That's exactly right Vin. It's all cure and no prevention from the FA and PL, no balls to go out there and instigate something. They are well within their rights to change the rules to ensure they can always take the appropriate action, but instead the pretend like they're legally bound by them or something. Utter morons.
They don't even need to change any laws, the laws they say that prevent them from acting don't even *****in exist!
Little Dutch
The problem with some of the strange decisions coming out of the FA, is the complete illogicality of the reasoning underpinning them. We all assume without questions being asked, that these are honest men, taking bad decisions, but if these had happened in other climes, we would be looking for further evidences of corruption. These decisions are dodgy, and I for one, ain't blaming this on incompetence, some evil might be abroad.
On the good side what the incident has shown to a lot of City fans is that Balotelli is not capable of changing and needs to go before he does even more damage to the image of our club. There have been a few footballers that fit this category .. El Haj Diouf springs also to mind and there is no place in football for them at the end of the day. The mystery is why they just cannot use their talent for their own good and the good of their team but then I am not a shrink.
The fact that they can't get these basic two retroactive decisions right doesn't really tell us a lot we don't already know. Worse than incompetence though we have seen many examples of some pretty suspicious activity within the game, things that really don't sit right, it makes we wonder just how above board this league is, if corruption could be rife within cricket and the Italian league then it's pretty likely that many people have been reached and bought here too. This is a really interesting look from Untold Arsenal, a site that is utterly obsessed with reffing and corruption in general, this article shines a light on UEFA Barca and the shocking decision to send off RVP which inevitably changed the balance of our tie against Barca. You'll need your concentration caps on as it weaves a pretty intricate web.......
* meant fifa not uefa
interesting article that, niko. sounds like a job for (ex) News of the World chief investigative reporter, mazher mahmood, aka the sheikh that snared sven goran eriksson. Where there's large sums of money, I'm sure the greed of man and corruption are never too far away, and we all know how much money is flowing through the game of football today. funny, coz balotelli took a shot after the ref blew his whistle in the first half on sunday and i thought back to that RvP sending off. Even now it makes me angry, a truly terrible, idiotic decision of the highest order, and one that really raises suspicion. Maybe Mourinho ain't that far from the truth about the treatment Barca get from refs, I mean they always get a penalty or a man sent off against them at home.
I fell short of stating the word "corruption"; well, you said it Niko and dudu. The resources held by the club owners cannot be under-estimated. Who knows what the reward on offer is for the 'right decision' and, conversely, the consequences of the wrong ones? We all witnessed how the mere change in fixtures for TV can favour one team over another; yet, we get on with it as if the TV rights owners are non-partisan and above board, whereas, they are fans as well.
The RVP sending off was a decision that just stank of a bought official, just as with derry the other night when a crucial game changing decision is made with no hesitation like the person in question was waiting for anything to give the home team a decision that would swing things in their favour. No consultation with any of the officiating team, not a second to dwell, process and consider then what else are people to assume other than the ref has a vested interest in making this decision and was willing for any incident so he could implement it. Add on to that Chelseas' laughable treatment when facing Barca and the mind bendingly bad decisions that went against them and something isn't adding up, or rather it's beginning to add up but what it's adding up to is pretty unpalatable for those of us that naively believe in a fair square honest system.
Wyn Mills
Read that the team sheet for Arsenal is: Szczesny, Sagna, Vermaelen, Djourou, Santos, Song, Arteta, Ramsey, Benayoun, Walcott, Van Persie. Subs: Fabianski, Squillaci, Jenkinson, Rosicky, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Chamakh, Park.
No Gervinho? Interesting.
Wyn Mills
Guess I called it right when I posted that Ramsey needed the run out v City as we will need him mid week. Surprised that RvP didn't get a rest but can understand that one. Happy that the reported injury to Sagna wasn't bad enough to keep him from this game. Good luck lads!
Gervinho is reported injured.
I don't know what is wrong with me but the sight of Djourou always make me nervous.
Now, to look for how to watch the game, live. Just saw that the regular providers will delay showing the game live, here (Toronto, Canada; had to come here for the Easter Holidays, extended one week), something we take for granted in Nigeria.
9jagunner. Please keep updating the site with events of play. Can't watch the game live here in Atlanta. @work
Sorry, Arseniger. Can't get a proper stream out here.
Niko - that twitter feed is pure gold :)
prits - which twitter feed?
It came from Wyn not me prits! but yes it is pure gold, rumour that rosicky started it as he was one of the first followers lol. He would be a ledge if that was the case.
check out this that talk spite put up heh
Hehehe! It is reported that someone may have hacked into the players' twitter pages. Enjoyed that punch to "Nasri's" face by a female boxer. Someone had a good spot there.
Gloryfying in violence from the club that brought you the charming "It should have been you" chant. Dirty animals..
Henry Baker Brown
Filthy beasts, urghhhh, they all eat babies! Arsenal fans eat babies, urghhhh bog-eyed****s!
Henry Baker Brown
Wyn Mills
Wyn Mills
sp*rs have been asked to take part in the next series of driving school. The producers felt the nation would p1$$ themselves watching them do an 18 point turn.
Whoops, it was Wyn with the twitter feed :)
thats GOLD !
Hahahahahahaha! Hohohohohoho! Any bird will struggle for balance on a Basketball too.

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