Farce at FA as Balotelli Escapes, Derry Banned

Farce at FA as Balotelli Escapes, Derry Banned

English football reacted with surprise and dismay yesterday when Mario Balotelli was given a reprieve for his stamp on Alex Song, meaning he will face no retrospective action for the foul but Shaun Derry's soft red card against Manchester United was allowed to stand.

On a difficult day for the Football Association's disciplinary department, referee Martin Atkinson said that he saw enough of Balotelli's lunge at Song on Sunday that the governing body could not go back on the foul, under Fifa guidelines. That was despite Roberto Mancini, the Manchester City manager, urging the FA to review the foul.

In the separate case of Derry, dismissed by Lee Mason for the faintest of touches on Ashley Young in Queen's Park Rangers' defeat to United the same day, a three-man independent panel ruled that the decision should stand. The panel had to decide whether it was a "serious and obvious" error by Mason and judged that it was not. QPR had lodged an appeal against the Derry red card but the one-match ban stands – the Rangers captain will have to serve it against Swansea City tonight.

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