The Football Association have charged Swansea City’s Jonjo Shelvey with violent conduct for clashing with Liverpool’s Emre Can during the Monday night match at Anfield but the home side’s Raheem Sterling escaped any further punishment despite slapping defender Federico Fernandez, as the officials were deemed to have seen that incident and dealt with it at the time.
Shelvey clashed with Can in Swansea’s 4-1 Premier League defeat when he appeared to fling back an arm into the face of the German defender, but the incident went unpunished at the time with referee Andre Marriner waving play on.
“Swansea City’s Jonjo Shelvey has been charged by The FA for violent conduct,” said an FA statement. “The incident... was not seen by the match officials but [was] caught on video.”
Shelvey has until 6pm on Wednesday to respond to the charge. If found guilty, Shelvey, who was sent off at Everton at the start of November, could face a four-match ban, starting with him missing the match against Queen’s Park Rangers on New Year's Day.
Earlier in the day Shelvey had pleaded his innocence, tweeting: “Just wanna say didn’t intentionally elbow emre can was just trying to get my arm across to get round him and it’s come off as I’m trying to hurt another play and I can assure you that that isn’t the case. And I had apologised to Emre Can for catching him.”
Swansea manager Garry Monk had also said earlier today that Shelvey should escape disciplinary action after seeing footage of the incident on the way home from Liverpool. “There was a motion towards the player, but it’s not clear,” Monk said. “I spoke to Jonjo on the way home and he said his intention was not to catch the player at all.
“He said the player was tugging on him and he was just trying to push him away from him to move it. I don’t think it was an intentional elbow at all and the referee was perfectly placed. No one had a better view of the incident than him. He felt it didn’t warrant any more action and the game went on. There were no complaints from any of the players afterwards, so you have to trust the referee made the right decision – and we thought that he did.”
Brendan Rodgers, the Liverpool manager, will be delighted that Sterling has escaped punishment – the FA rule stipulating that should an official see an incident it cannot then be subject to post-match scrutiny coming to eh rescue of the winger who clearly slapped the Swansea defender. However, as it was done almost under the nose of the linesman, it would have been hard for the officials to have claimed not to have seen the incident.
After the match, Rodgers had said: “Young Raheem’s incident, the centre-half has slapped him on the side of the head and he has put his hand up and slapped him on the side of the head. I think the referee has called both right and got on with the game.”