Last season, Wayne Rooney swore during the celebration of one of his goals against West Ham and was banned.
Rooney broke Law 12 and was charged with using “offensive, insulting and/or abusive language”. Despite players directing this language at referees and opponents on a weekly basis and receiving no punishment, the FA banned Rooney for two games. They claimed that because his language had been directed at a camera he deserved a ban, despite the law making no mention or reference to this. According to the FA, abusing a referee is acceptable but saying “fucking” on camera is worthy of a ban.
Regardless, on Friday night, Rooney lost his temper and took a swipe at his opponent in England’s game against Montenegro. He managed some control, pulling back before making any real contact, and the player accepted his hand straight away. However, the referee was left with little option but to send him off.
Rooney now stands to miss England games in next summer’s Euro 2012 and the FA are all too aware of how important he is to the team. They have put in an appeal to UEFA in the hope he will receive just a one match ban.
“We have been working very hard behind the scenes to ensure that we are prepared to support Wayne in any way we can,” said the FA’s director of communications, Adrian Bevington. “If it does lead to an appeal process, or any supplementary evidence we can submit to support him, we are not disputing that he was sent off for a red-card offence, but it is very important to us as an organisation that we try and look after all our players. And I would like to say, on the record, that Wayne conducted himself incredibly well after the game. He was very apologetic and I felt he handled it very maturely. We will do all that we can to try and ensure that Wayne is available to us as soon as possible in the finals.”
This statement is particularly interesting when you consider that Rooney “conducted himself incredibly well” after the West Ham game too and was “very apologetic” then as well. He even released a statement saying how sorry he was. The FA didn’t take that in to consideration in his appeal though and banned him for two games, meaning he missed out on our crucial FA Cup semi-final against City.
Whilst of course I want the best for Rooney in this situation, I won’t lose any sleep if the FA find England without their best player for two or three games.
“The FA may realise who has produced more players for their country than any club in the world,” said Ferguson this summer. “Maybe they will get some joy from it and realise how important we are to England instead of treating us like shit.”
What goes around comes around.