"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."
This statement gives evidence of something that is seriously wrong within the governing body of English Football. They’ve followed their rules to the letter in this case. The FA WILL NOT "re-referee" any decisions. If an official saw something and he/she acts the decision is final.
Therein lays the serious issue here. It’s not the first time the issue has come up and won’t be the last unless the FA changes their rule TODAY*. I’ve highlighted this passage from the official statement as this really gets to the heart of the matter: "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."
*This of course won’t happen
The FA takes a firm stance here, and an obviously unwise one. They will not correct a referee mistake. If a referee misinterprets a situation and administers a wrong punishment (for example the sending-off and subsequent banning of Shaun Derry of QPR) or neglects to give one where one is due in the case of Mario Balotelli, he or she will not be held accountable and their incorrect decision will stand. I cannot fathom how the FA as a body sees that this is the appropriate way to deal with situations like these. It isn’t good for the game that relegation threatened Queens Park Rangers has to go without one of their players over a bogus decision or that the dangerous tackle made by Mario Balotelli goes unpunished.
Look at it again if you want.
Mario Balotelli tackle on Alex Song [Arsenal - Manchester City] (via 221987ism)
The FA want’s to protect its referees; that is understandable. However, putting them on an untouchable pedestal of infallibility when mistakes are so often made and are on display for all to see does not build any respect for them. If fact the permanence of the referee’s decisions, no matter how flawed, draws more ridicule. Unfortunately the FA has the power to do something about that, at least when it comes to rescinding or administering bans upon review, but doesn’t have the guts to undermine any referees, to the detriment of the game. They don’t even care if the referee even really knew what happened!
I’m not even talking about instituting an instant replay/review method during the match; that’s a topic worth discussing another time though. I just want the FA to provide an honest review of events afterward irrespective of what a referee did or didn’t see.
What really gets to me about this situation, not banning Balotelli, is that he’s escaping punishment for the type of tackle we should all really want stamped out of the game. It’s inexcusable; the kind of tackle that could see a player missing a year or more of football, or even effectively ending a career. One of the refs said that they saw it and didn’t think it was a foul, if I recall correctly Arsenal were not even awarded a freekick.
The fact is it was a foul, a bad one. The FA cannot honestly look at the tape of that moment and not think it deserving of a ban yet they let it go, demonstrating that the FA is willing to excuse dangerous challenges, even violent conduct on the pitch on the basis of technicalities. We’ve known this for a while I guess. The FA have written it into their rules. The punishment for dangerous play or violent conduct on the pitch is a red card and a suspension, but if a referee sees foul play and misinterprets it will go unpunished.
The FA’s statement ends by stating that the ‘not seen’ policy had been agreed on by ALL of football’s stakeholders. I’m sure QPR and Derry would claim to be stakeholders in football as would Alex Song, Mancini knew Balotelli deserved to be sent off for that tackle he’s a stakeholder. We fans are we not stakeholders as well? That is an interesting choice of words from the English FA, to say the least.