Mario Balotelli will not face punishment over his awful tackle against Alex Song during Manchester City's 1-0 loss to Arsenal on Sunday. In the first half, the ersatz winger went for a semi-loose ball against the Cameroon international and ended up implanting his studs into Song's locked knee. It was a tackle that was worthy of a straight red card and a lengthy ban, a tackle that could have seen the Arsenal midfielder badly injured.
And play continued. The assumption was that none of the officials had seen the incident (which was, in retrospect, rather strange, because there was an assistant right next to the play), and that Balotelli - who'd later pick up two yellow cards for nasty fouls on Bacary Sagna - would be retroactively punished for the attack on Song. But, say the FA, that's not going to happen. Their excuse?
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.
In other words, someone saw a player's leg nearly get taken off and did nothing about it, which means the FA can do nothing about it. That's the rule, I suppose, but it's a bit of a weird one. To the rest of the world, justice has by no means been done.