EVEN Wayne Rooney admits he made a big mistake when he swore at the TV cameras after hitting his match-winning hat-trick at West Ham on Saturday.
The argument now is over the severity of the punishment. And the previous history is confirmation the FA have overstepped the mark with their 2-match ban, which Rooney has appealed against.
As Martin Samuel eloquently argues in today’s Daily Mail it is hypocritical of the FA to now suspend Rooney and punish Manchester United when they failed to act over the same offence by the same player during the World Cup.
The difference then of course was Rooney was playing for England and the FA’s inactivity was clearly in their self-interest. It was FIFA’s tournament and the world governing body took no action either. So why such a harsh punishment this time.
Significantly yesterday’s FA decision has been questioned by Professional Footballers’ Association chief Gordon Taylor. The PFA agreed yesterday that Rooney was guilty of the offence charged. But the PfFA do not accept the severity of the punishment.
In a statement issued on the PFA website, Taylor said: “Whilst the use of foul and abusive language is not condoned, there is an acceptance by all parties within the game that ‘industrial language’ is commonly used.
“It becomes an issue when directed towards match officials. However, when used in a spontaneous way in celebration or frustration then it is not normally expected to merit a sanction.
“If sanctions are to be imposed in such circumstances then this has to be done in a balanced and consistent manner, and participants made aware of this fundamental change in approach.”
United hopes are that Rooney’s sentence will be reduced to a one-match ban. And that will allow him to face Manchester City in next week’s FA Cup semi-final at Wembley.