The FA warned Gary Neville and Craig Bellamy about their future conduct after separate incidents in last Sunday’s Manchester derby. Neville vigorously celebrated United’s winning goal in front of his own fans in the South Stand, while Craig Bellamy punched an already restrained fan. Another example of the FA’s “world class” disciplinary processes?
Defending the organisation’s ineptitude, Ian Watmore, the FA chief executive told The Times that they had taken their lead from the referee, Martin Atkinson.
“With the Bellamy incident, we asked the referee what he would have done if he had seen the incident,” said Watmore.
“He said that he would have taken into account the emotion of the game and of that particular incident.
“We have to condemn the fan and the invasion of the pitch in such a situation. I’m not condoning what Craig Bellamy did, but we have to put it in perspective: a fan came on to the pitch and it was intimidatory.
“Bellamy shouldn’t have done what he did – and we don’t want that sort of thing happening every week – but, in this situation, we’re backing the referee’s judgement.”
That Bellamy ran more than 20 yards to face the restrained fan before striking him in the face was apparently not considered. Proving the point that it’s ok to beat up supporters, just as long as you’re not Eric Cantona.