Manchester United can breathe a collective sigh of relief after it was reported that Wayne Rooney will face no retrospective action for the kick he aimed at Jordon Mutch.
Rooney was booked during the Cardiff vs. United encounter by referee Neil Swarbrick, but new FA rules allow incidents to be reviewed even if the match official has acted, as outlined by the governing body's official website.
If the referee is deemed to have had a partially obstructed view, the matter can be reviewed, but that will not happen with Rooney—per Ralph Ellis of the Daily Star:
The FA say referee Neil Swarbrick DID get a clear view of the England striker’s off-the-ball kick in Manchester United’s 2-2 draw at Cardiff on Sunday.
That means it falls outside the new rules and Rooney, who was booked before going on to score his 10th goal of the season, can instead concentrate on helping David Moyes clinch a place in the Champions League knockout stages.
United actually benefited from the new FA rule earlier in the season when Sascha Riether was retrospectively punished for a stamp on Adnan Januzaj.
However, they will be grateful Rooney has not suffered the same fate, with games against Tottenham, Everton and Newcastle next on their Premier League agenda.
The England international confessed after the 2-2 draw at Cardiff he had committed a poor challenge, although he did hit out at Sky commentator Martin Tyler and pundit Graeme Souness for their condemnation over the incident.
Unfortunately, Rooney’s loss of control serves as more evidence of the ticking time bomb that is the forward’s self-discipline. In a World Cup year, he has delivered a timely reminder of a very similar kick once aimed at Miodrag Dzudovic, which prompted a suspension for the opening games of UEFA Euro 2012.
The bigger issue created by the FA’s ruling, though, is what action referee Swarbrick should face for his failure to act appropriately.
Rooney’s kick was clear violent conduct, and the only defence available to the official for not brandishing a red card was that a Cardiff player may have blocked his line of sight.
The fact that the FA has now confirmed he got a clear view confirms Swarbrick made a poor decision, which arguably cost Cardiff two points. Rooney stayed on the pitch and had a giant hand in both United goals.
If, at the end of the season, a point or two relegates the Welsh outfit, that aberration by Swarbrick could be costly. Like Rooney, he deserves the appropriate punishment.