FA changes rules that let Fernando Torres escape scratch ban


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The Independent Football

The Football Association has closed the disciplinary loophole that saw Chelsea's Fernando Torres escape sanction despite being caught on video scratching a rival player.

From 22 November the FA will be able to charge players even if match officials have seen part of the incident. Torres escaped punishment for scratching Tottenham's Jan Vertonghen because the incident had been "partially seen" by an official, prompting the FA chairman Greg Dyke to try to change the regulation.

The new rules will cover violent conduct that occurs secondarily to a challenge for the ball, and off-the-ball incidents where one or more match officials saw the players coming together but their view was such that none could make a decision.

The FA's move to ban Fulham's Sascha Riether for stamping on Manchester United's Adnan Januzaj was not taken under the latest rules, however.

Riether's case was dealt with via a three-man panel of former referees, set up during the summer to look at video evidence and in that incident no officials saw the stamp.

The FA's director of governance, Darren Bailey, said: "It is sometimes difficult for officials to see such incidents, as they are often concentrating solely on the challenge for possession of the ball.

"This is an important step forward and provides an appropriate level of discretion for the FA to consider action."