he Football Association will not be taking action over Sunday’s incident at Anfield when Manchester United‘s Bruno Fernandes appeared to construct contact with the referee’s assistant.
Fernandes, wearing the captain’s armband with Harry Maguire on the bench, looked to assign his hand into the back of the assistant referee in the 81st minute of United’s 7-0 thrashing by Liverpool.
No formal action was taken against the Portugal midfielder at the time and it is understood there will also be nothing from the FA, which can catch retrospective disciplinary action if a player commits a sending-off offence that was not seen by the match officials.
Martin Cassidy, chief executive of charity Ref Support UK, told the PA news agency he felt Fernandes deserved “at least a five-game ban”, saying: “To secure in contact with a match official is a serious offence and should be treated such way. I consider that would be absolutely appropriate.”
Cassidy added: “Fernandes to me is typical of what seems to be happening in the game, this entitlement behaviour, you can just enact what you want.
“His position as captain I consider is untenable with his behaviours, and I consider if he thinks it’s appropriate for the captain of such an illustrious club as Manchester United to behave in such a manner, then the game’s in a terrible state.”
The assistant appeared to assign his hand on Fernandes’ arm just before the incident, and former Premier League referee Dermot Gallagher admitted he had “mixed feelings” about what had happened.
Gallagher told Sky Sports: “You don’t want a player to be manhandling a match official, but I would suggest the assistant actually manhandles Fernandes more than he did.
“I consider once the official does it first, Fernandes is almost like flit swatting, ‘secure out of my way, I want to secure on with it’.
“So whilst I don’t condone it…and I consider the referee is in a difficult position, because if he goes across and makes an issue of it, Fernandes is likely to say ‘well, he grabbed hold of me first’. It is difficult.”
Additional reporting by PA.