Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli escapes further punishment

 

Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli will not face disciplinary action over a studs-up challenge on Arsenal's Alex Song, the Football Association have confirmed.

The governing body say they cannot take retrospective action because the incident was seen by at least one of the four match officials in City's 1-0 Barclays Premier League defeat at the Emirates Stadium.

The decision still leaves Balotelli facing a three-match suspension for his sending off for two unrelated bookings in the same game.

A statement from the FA read: "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."

Balotelli could have faced a suspension of up to nine games following the incidents on Sunday had the FA taken action over the Song incident.

That is because it would have counted as a fourth red card of the season for the 21-year-old.

Balotelli was sent off at Liverpool in November and was then was hit with a retrospective four-match ban for stamping on Tottenham's Scott Parker in January.

Referee Martin Atkinson missed his challenge on Song on Sunday but later dismissed him for two bookable fouls on Bacary Sagna.

Balotelli could now be available for City's final three Premier League games of the season against Manchester United, Newcastle and QPR but his future at the club remains uncertain.

Manager Roberto Mancini said he would "probably" sell the player in the summer with his controversial involvement at Arsenal merely the latest in a long line of misdemeanours.

Mancini even suggested the FA should take retrospective action over the Song tackle.

Balotelli yesterday apologised for his conduct and said a decision over his future would be made in the summer.

A lengthy ban would also have jeopardised the player's chances of playing at Euro 2012 with Italy.

Italy coach Cesare Prandelli dropped Balotelli earlier this season because of his poor disciplinary record.

In addition to his domestic suspensions, Balotelli has also missed three European games after a sending off last season.

In all, he has now been sent off four times since joining City from Inter Milan two years ago.

Balotelli said: "I'm really sorry for what happened and for the disappointment I've caused Manchester City, and particularly to Roberto Mancini, whom I respect and whom I love.

"I would like very much to play for the national team, but yesterday [Sunday] I committed two fouls - they were not reaction fouls.

"I have not broken [Prandelli's] code of ethics. I have already missed out on the national team for one stupid thing - I will not do it a second time.

"Regarding my future, we will see at the end of the season. I will talk with the club and we'll see."

Balotelli's sending off on Sunday came on a costly day for City as defeat left them trailing rivals Manchester United by eight points in the title race.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before