Stoke’s Glenn Whelan will face no retrospective disciplinary action from the FA following a horrific foul on Javi Garcia during Saturday’s FA Cup game. Whelan jumped into a two footed lunge on Garcia’s ankle only for referee, Howard Webb, to allow play to continue.
The astounding verdict comes after Webb claimed that he saw the incident during the game which means the FA cannot take retrospective action. Only if an incident is missed by the referee during the game can action after the match be taken. Gareth Barry said he spoke to Webb during the game:
I think the referee said at the time – I spoke to him and he said he didn’t have the right angle on it but Javi, in the changing room, said the player went in with both feet and caught his ankle so I think they showed that on TV too.
Surely, the integrity of Webb has to be called into question. Officially, he has claimed to have seen the incident but during the game he “didn’t have the right angle.” The challenge was aggressive, malicious and entirely devoid of ambiguity, as you can see in the below video. The fact that no free kick, let alone a red card, was awarded is outrageous.
After the game Whelan said:
I’ve gone in for the challenge and I don’t think I tried to be dirty but if it looks that way on TV then I’ll have to hold my hands up. I don’t think I caught him as much as he was rolling about. It’s the English game, the old-fashioned game, and that’s what the Premier League is so good for. There is massive pressure on the referees from the media and the people they’re accountable to. Hopefully it (tackling) can stay in the game and people just get on with it.
Quite how Whelan can refer to his challenge as “tackling” is astounding but he can consider himself extremely fortunate that the combination of Howard Webb’s ineptitude and the FA’s bureaucracy have let him off the hook. Here’s some food for thought: Imagine if it was Mario Balotelli who committed the foul. The outcome would be quite different I can assure you.