On April 5th, the FA charged Wayne Rooney with breaking Law 12 after he swore following scoring his third goal.
A Sky Sports camera came on to the field of play and Rooney shouted “what? Fucking what?” at it.
“The FA has today charged Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney for the use of offensive, insulting and/or abusive language relating to an incident during his side’s fixture with West Ham United,” the FA statement read. “Rooney has until 6pm on April 5 to respond to the charge.”
The FA’s charge doesn’t mention a television camera and neither does Law 12.
Nobody is denying that swearing directly at a camera is a worse offence than just being caught swearing after say missing an attempt at goal or falling over. However, Law 12 doesn’t account for this difference.
With the Respect campaign in full flow, you could argue that telling the referee to “fuck off” is a worse offence than swearing at a camera, particularly if the viewing public see the player do this. Law 12 specifies that “using offensive, insulting and/or abusive language” is worthy of a red card. Referee Lee Mason claimed he would have sent Rooney off if he heard him swearing.
We’re now confronted with a disgraceful set of double standards, as Rooney could only be charged because of what Mason said in his match report, which was a retrospective comment using video footage. The FA opened up a can of worms. Would referees now send players off for directing “offensive, insulting and/or abusive language” at them, like Mason claimed? Would the FA now use video footage to retrospectively punish players guilty of using “offensive, insulting and/or abusive language”?
RoM has encouraged people to write to the FA to highlight these double standards every time a player is guilty of breaking Law 12. We have all received more or less a similar response, which talks of how Rooney’s case is different because his language was directed at the camera lens. When we reply reminding them that Law 12 and their charge did not mention a camera lens, they do not respond, which has lead us to get in touch with the Independent Football Ombdusman.
After Joey Barton repeatedly told referee Stuart Attwell to “fuck off” last weekend and no punishment was given by the referee or retrospectively by the FA, we contacted them. In their copied and pasted response, they said: The clear distinction to be made in the Wayne Rooney case is that the language used was directed specifically at a television camera lens, whilst clearly audible to the viewing public.
Again, Law 12 doesn’t account for this distinction, it is a distinction they have created to justify punishing Rooney, but the most interesting part of this reply are the words “clearly audible“.
Kenny Dalglish was guilty of using “offensive, insulting and/or abusive language” when he told fellow manager, Arsene Wenger to “piss off” at the end of their 1-1 draw on Sunday. This “offensive, insulting and/or abusive language” was “clearly audible”. After walking away from Wenger, he was seen saying “fuck off”.
However, the FA have confirmed that they will be taking no action against Dalglish.
An FA spokesman said last night: “We are quite clear that the context of the Rooney incident was wholly different to the other recent incidents cited.”
It’s fairly easy to invent your own rules to punish Rooney. It appears the FA also find it easy to ignore these rules they have invented to allow others to go unpunished.
One rule for us, one rule for everyone else.
Made in Manchester is available for just £3. Some of the best football writers take a player each, from Sir Bobby Charlton to Ryan Giggs, George Best to David Beckham, Duncan Edwards to Paul Scholes, and many more, with 30 articles in total. All profit goes to Trafford Macmillan so please support this fantastic cause.