Toure escapes FA charge
The FA has charged Cardiff City's Craig Bellamy with violent conduct after an incident in the South Wales derby at Swansea that was missed by the officials but caught on camera, but Manchester City's Yaya Toure avoided retrospective action after an incident against Norwich.
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Bellamy appeared to throw his arm out at Swansea's Jonathan de Guzman during Cardiff’s 3-0 defeat and, after reviewing the video evidence, a three-man FA panel has decided that the former Wales international should be charged. He now faces a three-match ban.
He has until 6pm on Tuesday to respond to the charge, and an FA statement explained: "Under a new pilot project in Premier League matches this season, if an incident has not been seen by the match officials a three-man panel of former elite referees will be asked by the FA to review it and advise what, if any, action they believe the match referee should have taken had it been witnessed at the time.
"For an FA charge to follow, all three panel members must agree it is a sending-off offence. In this instance, the panel were of the unanimous decision that it was an act of violent conduct."
The panel also considered an incident in the match between Norwich and Manchester City at Carrow Road in which Toure appeared to kick out at Canaries striker Ricky Van Wolfswinkel -- but they decided Toure should not be charged.
“In this instance, the panel were not of the unanimous decision that it was an act of violent conduct,” the FA statement said.
Van Wolfswinkel took to Twitter to state that he was happy with the FA's decision, saying: "Things happen on the pitch, but we all enjoy watching him play. So get on with it and enjoy the football. That's what it's all about."
Good to see Touré not getting suspended. Players like him belong on the pitch! What happens at Carrow Road stays at Carrow Road. ✌️— RickyvanWolfswinkel (@RvWolfswinkel9) February 10, 2014
Referee Jon Moss had his back turned as Toure reacted to Van Wolfswinkel and, although Andre Marriner may have partially seen the Bellamy incident, the FA closed a loophole earlier this season that might have protected the Welshman.
Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini had said at the weekend he was "not concerned" by the prospect of Toure facing retrospective action.
Earlier on Monday, the Daily Mirror reported that former referees Eddie Wolstenholme, Steve Dunn and Alan Wiley were set to make up the panel.
Meanwhile, another former referee, Graham Poll, wrote in his Daily Mail column that the FA's disciplinary review panel “really has no consistency” and is “impossible to predict.”
He said: "Referees are asked for consistency and the governing body must do the same. That said, in these cases the FA should not take action against either player as neither incident is a major one or particularly violent."