I know I’m a little late on this but it’s definitely worth the talking points.
Sunday, November 24 – Manchester Untd v Cardiff City
“With just seven minutes on the clock, a race for the ball between Rooney and Jordan Mutch saw the England striker kick out at his opponent. Luckily for United, referee Neil Swarbrick only deemed the foul a yellow card offence.” (courtesy of thescore.ie)
Now the good stuff:
Yellow card??? IMHO – I think the referee was being a little too lenient and was overly focused on the spirit of the game. If you ask me, Rooney should have seen RED and sent to the showers. This is far from a reckless tackle (which would justify the caution and yellow card) and completely deliberate.
FIFA Laws of the Game state that when a foul is called, the referee must then decide if the foul is careless, reckless, or uses excessive force. They are defined and sanctioned as follows:
““Careless” means that the player has shown a lack of attention or consideration when making a challenge or that he acted without precaution.
• No further disciplinary sanction is needed if a foul is judged to be careless
“Reckless” means that the player has acted with complete disregard to the danger to, or consequences for, his opponent.
• A player who plays in a reckless manner must be cautioned
“Using excessive force” means that the player has far exceeded the necessary use of force and is in danger of injuring his opponent.
• A player who uses excessive force must be sent off” (FIFA Interpretations pp. 117)
However, I wouldn’t classify what Rooney did as a foul. In my opinion this is straight-up misconduct. What’s the offence? VIOLENT CONDUCT! FIFA Guidelines define violent conduct as follows:
“A player is guilty of violent conduct if he uses excessive force or brutality against an opponent when not challenging for the ball.” (FIFA Guidelines pp. 127)
Rooney was clearly not challenging for the ball as it was way out of playing distance (as seen below). also, take notice of Rooney’s body language, posture and gaze. As he is running alongside his opponent, he slightly slows down in order to get just behind the opponent, his gaze moves from the ball ahead of him, down to his opponent legs/feet. He then moves his right arm back and away from his body in order to gain balance as he caulks back his right leg and deliberately kicks his opponent from behind with complete disregard for the safety of the opponent. Basically, Rooney flat out kicks the guy which is violent conduct, and Rooney should have seen RED.
Now, I can somewhat understand why the referee did what he did for two reasons (even thought I don’t agree):
1) The incident happened just 7 minutes into the match and the referee probably didn’t want to ruin the entire game by forcing Manchester to play short a man for the remaining 83 minutes of play.
2) His line of sight may have been compromised. As the referee is following play, and at the point in time that the incident occurs, the referee is most likely watching where the ball is, or where it’s going as it’s well ahead of Rooney’s position. Also, notice that at the exact moment that Rooney kicks his opponent, there is another defender directly between the incident and the referee. My guess is that the referee knew something happened but couldn’t be 100% certain that it was violent conduct and opted for a caution instead.
My only question now is…what about the other officials? No one else saw this happen? No one was able to give the referee a quick word over their head sets?
The third Blind Mouse