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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
A still from a scene cut from The Interview showing North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's death.
tech
Life and Style
Approaching sale shopping in a smart way means that you’ll get the most out of your money
life + styleSales shopping tips and tricks from the experts
News
in picturesWounded and mangy husky puppy rescued from dump
Caption competition
Caption competition
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

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'