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To Incite Or Not Incite, That Is The Question – United and City

The FA have today confirmed that Mario Balotelli will not be punished for celebrating in front of Manchester United fans at the end of the FA Cup semi-final on Saturday.

Over the years, we’ve seen plenty of examples of players winding up the opposition. Rio Ferdinand was particularly annoyed with Balotelli, given the inciting celebration came at the final whistle rather than amidst the rush of emotion after goal, which makes it slightly different from the examples below.

However, it’s interesting to see how the FA usually deal with situations like this:

January 14th 2006: Robbie Fowler scores against United for City. He runs to the United fans and gives them the five finger salute, rubbing in the success of his former club and United’s main rivals, Liverpool, in Europe.

Punishment? N/A

January 22nd 2006: Gary Neville runs to the Liverpool fans and holds up the United badge after Rio Ferdinand’s later winner.

Punishment? £5k fine

September 12th 2009: Emmanuel Adebayor scored against Arsenal and ran the length of the pitch to slide on his knees in front of the Arsenal fans.

Punishment? £25k fine

September 20th 2009: Shay Given turned to the Stretford End and wildly celebrated Craig Bellamy’s late equaliser for City.

Punishment? N/A

September 20th 2009: Gary Neville ran down the touchline towards the City fans wildly celebrating Michael Owens late winner for United.

Punishment? Warned about future conduct.

April 16th 2011: At the final whistle, Mario Balotelli celebrated a victory for City in front of the United fans by fanning his shirt and punching the air.

Punishment? N/A

Is there a general pattern? No, it appears as though the FA pick out their punishments from a hat.

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.

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  1. Dakota says:

    Pick it from a hat!!?? Ha are you kidding? Thats bogus..celebration or aggitation? Hmm which will it be this time?


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