Every United fan’s favourite referee Martin Atkinson has covered himself in even more glory today by admitting he saw Mario Balotelli’s knee-high studs up challenge on Alex Song on Sunday, yet felt it wasn’t worthy of a card.
The FA announced that Balotelli cannot be punished for the astonishingly bad ‘tackle’ -although assault would be more appropriate- after Atkinson admitted he’d seen the offence yet decided not to card the City striker.
The Arsenal dugout were left fuming following the challenge, that even provoked a response from City boss Roberto Mancini who seemed furious with his player for such a nasty foul.
How Atkinson, one the games most experienced and respected referee’s can expect players, fans and managers to trust him, when he allows challenges which could feasibly end careers, to go unpunished is quite frankly beyond me. We ask a lot of our referees and they often have a thankless task, but witnessing a challenge like the one at Sunday’s game and allowing it, is unacceptable. It’s time for the FA and Martin Atkinson to seriously consider his position.