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Feb 28, 2011

Rooney escapes FA punishment

Manchester United's Wayne Rooney will not face any punishment from the Football Association following his apparent elbow on Wigan's James McCarthy at the DW Stadium on Saturday.

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Rooney was facing the prospect of a potential three-match ban after television replays showed him catching McCarthy with his arm, but the United striker will now remain available for key Premier League clashes against Chelsea and Liverpool.

An FA probe hinged on Mark Clattenburg's report and the referee confirmed he had seen the incident and was content with how he had dealt with it on the field at the time - when he awarded Wigan a free kick. The official's verdict left the governing body powerless to launch disciplinary proceedings against Rooney.

Retrospective 'trial by video' may only be used for incidents that escape the attention of the referee. Clattenburg would first of all have had to admitted he did not see the incident and then explain exactly what he gave the free-kick for given the striker committed no other offence.

Professional Game Match Officials general manager Mike Riley said: "Mark took the correct course of action with this incident.

"Match officials are trained to prioritise following the ball, as that's where the greater majority of incidents are going to take place. However, we also do a lot of work around the area of peripheral vision to be aware of anything that might potentially happen off the ball.

"In this incident Mark was following play but caught sight of two players coming together and he awarded a free-kick because he believed one player had impeded the other.

"We should be clear that Mark did nothing wrong in officiating this incident as he acted on what he saw on the pitch.''

At the time, Wigan manager Roberto Martinez said that, if Clattenburg had seen the incident properly, the offence would have warranted a straight red card. United boss Sir Alex Ferguson claimed that "because it is Wayne Rooney the press will raise a campaign to get him hung by Tuesday or electrocuted or something like that".

United can now prepare for Tuesday night's clash with Premier League champions Chelsea with the England international part of their plans.

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