rss twitter facebook mobile

FA Contradict Themselves With Dalgish’s Swearing

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.

To get in touch with the FA you must first register as a fan. Then you can contact them using this contact form.

Swear Watch Facebook
Swear Watch video
Swear Watch – The Story So Far

About Scott

Scott is the editor of Red Matters - 50 Years of Supporting Manchester United and an author of Play Like Fergie's Boys and Not Nineteen Forever. He writes for ESPN, The Metro and Bleacher Report. Follow @R_o_M on Twitter.

View all posts by Scott »



  1. d says:

    I got this response from the FA today:
    Thank you for contacting The Football Association.

    The FA takes a dim view of any foul and abusive language used at football matches. 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. We will always take a view on every incident reported to us by match officials, who also have the ability to apply Law 12 in relation to insulting and abusive language or gestures.

    The FA values the opinions of football supporters and we thank you for getting in touch with us to share your views.

    Kind regards

    Customer Relations Team
    The FA Group
    Wembley Stadium, Wembley, London, HA9 0WS

  2. Shimo says:

    Brooking is an idiot. Saying Dalgish completely different to what Rooney did. Yeah swearing/abusive language targeted towards your opponents/ counterpart manger is so much different from Rooney saying fuck into a camera. I mean this sets such a great example for kids right, that it is okay at the end of the game to show lack of sportsmanship and it’s okay to react in the manner Dalgish did even if Whinger did something to illicit it.

    What an absolute hypocrite. Neither situation is a good representation for kids if that is really what he is concerned about. One could say that Dalgish should know a lot better than Rooney, knowing the camera is going to be on him at the end of a game like that but, he reacted with abusive language.

    Rooney got what he deserved but, absolutely ridiculous how people keep saying his behaviour is any worse than so many on the field. There are cameras everywhere and they all know it’s being captured, doesn’t matter if they are looking into the camera or not. There is no different context – it’s bad behaviour on the field period. If Rooney does it, it can’t be condoned (well it can if he does it in an England shirt) but, if others do it – well it’s part of the game and they didn’t do it looking into a camera

  3. karun says:

    ^^ got the same. Note the fact that they say they have the “ability” to use law 12 basically implying that it doesn’t always apply and they can apply it whenever they like for eg. in the case of anyone from Manchester United.

    I would not say that their is a systematic targeting of United by the FA but I will say that United are often and awfully unfairly used and made examples of where others are given a slap on the wrist. This is because the FA like to use United’s success to make a large example. Worst part is that the examples once set are not enforced on others as well.

  4. steve says:

    It’s interesting that some of you think that United get a raw deal from the powers that be. Rooney’s elbow on the Wigan lad anyone? Punished…………….er, no.

    I agree that Carragher could easily of got a red for his challenge on Nani at Anfield, which just goes to show that all clubs get away with some things sometimes but not all clubs have a player with turds for brains (in keeping with Kanchelskis’s favourite expression of the day, and probably the only one he knows) like Rooney who shouts the F word directly down a camera lens, do they?

    If it wasn’t for Chelsea’s Russian fairy godmother, United would already be ahead of Liverpool in titles won, that much is true. But how many times have both Liverpool and United finished as runners up in the history of this wonderul game? A delve into the history books is needed to answer that, but I’m sure that is quite even between the two clubs too.

    If you asked Dalglish and Fergie which club they respect above all others, and they were prepared to give an honest answer, I reckon Kenny would say United and Fergie would say Liverpool. Stands to reason given the two clubs respective history and intense rivalry.

    Liverpool will be better next season, that’s a dot on the card.

  5. Costas says:

    @KIng Eric

    I bow at your feet mate. Or your balls, lol. I can’t believe you called them scum to their face. :D

  6. xol says:

    Law 12 does not say anything about cameras
    Law 12 does not say anything about cameras
    Law 12 does not say anything about cameras
    Law 12 does not say anything about cameras
    Law 12 does not say anything about cameras
    Law 12 does not say anything about cameras
    Law 12 does not say anything about cameras

  7. willierednut says:

    Liverpool fans on here, can only mean one thing, they’re getting nervous, as we approach our historic 19th title. I suppose It’s nice, king sour gob will witness this.

  8. steve says:

    Fair enough Willie, I would probably be saying that sort of thing if I were in your position. But number 19 is not in the bag just yet, you know!

  9. steve says:

    The main reason I am visiting this site is for a bit of banter with rival fans. If any of you are really pissed of by it, then fair enough, I’ll stop posting. After all this is a MUFC site.

    You sometimes get United fans on other clubs blogs, and some of them are objective in thier views, as I’m sure some of you are.

    So what will the final score be at St. James’s park tonight then?

  10. willierednut says:

    I didn’t say it was in the bag. We’re getting close though. Whats my prediction? A WIN! For Man United.

  11. karun says:

    @ Steve: Nobody is denying that all clubs get away with some stuff sometimes but United are made an example off more often than any other club in the recent past. Rio’s 9 month ban is another example of massive double standards if you truly read up about it. And on swearing everyone knows how much of it goes on in football and nobody will deny that swearing at the camera is bad and maybe worse than swearing in general if not worse than visibly swearing at the ref BUT their is no rule to say that. Rule 12 as Scott has pointed out is about swearing in general. The fact that the FA state that they CAN apply it instead of stating that it always applies smacks of a bias.

  12. King Eric says:

    Steve – Have to agree that Fergie and Dalglish would each say Liverpool and United respectively . As much as I hate Liverpool I have more respect for you than the rentboys and City.

    Costas – Cheers mate, but not strictly to their faces. It was over the phone!!

  13. Costas says:

    @King Eric

    It was still ballsy mate. :)

  14. Vilhelm28 says:

    Are there any Manchester MP’s available and that fans know of? Maybe even some United fans that are MP’s ? Since the FA don’t want to touch this and the media have reopened the inquisition, it would be fun/intersting to get this whole situation discussed in Parliament – since it is bordering on corrupion

  15. iceetch says:

    I would just like to say if u go back to the champions league game against Chelsea in the 58min and 5sec u clearly hear very audibly JOHN TERRY. shout Fucking come on at a linemans when he doesnt give him the freekick i just thought i would point that out but nothing was brought up about it at all

  16. Heywood is Red says:

    xol-ha funny as fuck mate. I’m proud of this site flying the flag on this matter, the Fa won’t do anything but it just shows how much this means that we keep up the fight. And the rest can “fuck off-fuck offfff”

  17. mufc4life says:

    i got this from the f.a this evening

    Thanks for your email.

    Referees are never forced to review their decisions. Fundamentally, when a referee has seen and dealt with an incident – regardless of the outcome – The FA are unable to act retrospectively. With the example of Wayne Rooney, the referee confirmed he had never seen or heard the incident, and the only comments he made on the matter were to confirm that if he had seen the incident then he would have sent him off.

    With regards to comparisons with other players swearing at an official, then it is in the rules that the referee can take action against them, but if he chooses not to then that is their decision. In a case such as the Wayne Rooney incident, with it being so unique in the fact that he ran intentionally towards the camera and swore directly into it, we felt that he had to be disciplined under the rules retrospectively.

    There is a system in place for monitoring the performance of referees and referee’s assistants. This involves referees assessors and reports from club managers. All assessors come from a footballing background and the majority are fully qualified referees themselves. The performances of referees over a season are then taken into consideration when the leagues appoint their referees for the following season.

    The Select Group officiates in the Premier League and is the responsibility of Mike Riley, General Manager of the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL). Premier League refereeing enquiries should be addressed to Mike Riley, The Premier League, 30 Gloucester Place, London W1U 8PL or via

    I hope this explains the matter for you.

    Kind regards,


  18. steve says:

    King Eric. I think most Liverpool and United fans do have more respect for each other than any other club though I find that most of them don’t like to admit it. Kudos to you for doing so.
    When Chelsea or Arsenal have lifted old big ears even once, I will gladly give them credit for doing so.

    Someone asked me the other day who I thought would become the first London club to lift the European cup. I thought about it for about ten seconds and then gave my answer………………….. Queens Park Rangers!

  19. steve says:

    @ Karun. The Rio Ferdinand ban is an interesting one. As A United fan, I can understand you feeling it was a case of the authorities punishing him more severely because he is a United player – but it would be interesting to see what would happen if a Chelsea, Arsenal or Liverpool player failed to show up for a routine drugs test. We may never find out but if it did happen my guess would be that he would get the same as Ferdinand got.

    We all think our own clubs get a raw deal, but in the Ferdinand case there is no direct comparison to be made – at least not yet anyway!

    Perhaps there may be some hope with Ballotelli at City – he doesn’t seem to be the sharpest tool in the box, does he? That’s if he sticks around at City long enough to be tested!

  20. Tom Ace says:

    This is seriously the worst thing. Just drop it. It’s embarrassing.

  21. manchuchu says:

    Everyone should yell fuck off at Atkinson the next time he’s as OT.


You must be logged in to post a comment.