Imagine Soccer Blogs

Above The Law

Rooney's Let Off Embarasses The Sport

Posted Mar 03, 2011 by Shaun Edwards

Rooney is a lucky boy

There has been an awful lot written about Wayne Rooney in recent weeks, and the latest bit of controversy will keep the fire burning.  Simply put, the decision to waive him from punishment following his elbow on Wigan’s James McCarthy is an absolute travesty.

Whilst Alex Ferguson’s decision to stand by his star striker – noting that he was expecting a media ‘witch hunt’ – was expected from a manager who has spent his whole career defending his players to the hilt, I really cannot think of too many previous situations where the evidence against Ferguson’s player was quite so awesomely damning.

Rooney’s elbow against McCarthy was unnecessary, un-needed and entirely pre-meditated.  With the Wigan man moving slightly to obstruct Rooney’s path to the ball – an in-game offence at the very worst, but not one even worth a verbal warning – the United striker moved past, took a slight jump and brought his elbow into the other man’s head.  Performed with a bit more venom, this was an attack capable of causing legitimate damage to the nerves in the neck.  That’s not being over-dramatic: it’s a fact.

The official ruling comes not from the FA itself in the end, but from referee Mark Clattenburg who should be profoundly embarrassed that he didn’t issue an immediate red card.  The reason that the FA have given for not issuing any further punishment is that the referee has claimed that he already took the appropriate action on the field, and that he didn’t feel any further punishment was needed.  This left the FA essentially unable to take any further action.  This means that Clattenburg saw the incident and didn’t consider it worthy of anything more than a jokey telling off.  The FA would do well to legitimately question Clattenburg’s ability, given that the precise letter of the law clearly prohibits such attacks.  It is a cowardly decision from an apparently arrogant referee.

As for McCarthy himself, he deserves excessive credit for not falling to the floor as most of his fellow professionals would have done.  It is an unfortunate fact that had he gone to the ground and given a bit of a performance, Rooney would likely have received the correct punishment.  The Wigan man can at least console himself that he handled the situation far better than the stupid, petulant boy who has once again embarrassed himself.

However much he may have lucked out, Rooney has embarrassed himself and shown a few true colours.  Considering the under-performing season he is having (his stupendous winner against Manchester City not-withstanding) he should consider himself very lucky that United have a manager willing to still back up a player who acts in such a way.

For the sake of their own dignity, United should issue a heavy fine to their striker, even if it is done behind closed doors.  Anything less is an insult to themselves and to the game in general.

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