English FA could have sanctioned Rooney, says Blatter

Sun Mar 6, 2011 8:30am GMT

By Mike Collett

NEWPORT, Wales (Reuters) - The English FA would have been within its rights to sanction Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney following an elbowing incident last week, FIFA President Sepp Blatter said on Saturday.

The FA said it could not retrospectively take action against Rooney for elbowing Wigan Athletics' James McCarthy in the back of the head in a Premier League match because, under FIFA rules, as referee Mark Clattenburg had already given a foul against the England man for obstruction, they could take no further action.

However, Blatter told a news conference after a meeting of the International Football Association Board (IFAB): "This is up to the discretion of the national association.

"They can use video evidence in the discipline and control committee.

"They can impose or change a decision if a red or yellow card has been given to the wrong player. If there's violence the national association can intervene and punish a player -- this is permitted at the discretion of the national association."

The FA were roundly criticised for taking no action against Rooney and their decision not to take any measures meant he was free to play in United's match against champions Chelsea at on Tuesday when he scored the opening goal, although United eventually lost 2-1.

FA chairman David Bernstein, who was sitting next to Blatter at the news conference, said he was convinced the FA had done the right thing.

Bernstein added: "In the Wayne Rooney situation, under FIFA regulations if the referee sees the incident, which in this case he did do, the FA has no authority except in what is called exceptional circumstances, really exceptional -- the Ben Thatcher incident is the only one where that has been used.   Continued...

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