MANCHESTER CITY have received a huge boost after the Football Association decided to take no action against Yaya Toure for an apparent kick at Norwich’s Ricky van Wolfswinkel.
The Ivory Coast midfielder could have faced a threematch ban but the three-man panel of former elite referees which reviewed the incident did not unanimously believe it was an act of violent conduct.
That will come as a relief to City boss Manuel Pelligrini as his club chase the Premier League and FA Cup trophies.
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It will however, infuriate Jose Mourinho, manager of title rivals Chelsea, who claimed if Toure was not suspended it would give carte blanche to other players to misbehave.
Mourinho said: ‘‘If he is not suspended, the message is clear: the players can do what they want if the referee doesn’t see.
‘‘If there’s no suspension, the message is normally that, if the FA defends football, he’d have to be suspended.
‘‘It’s the same for everyone: if the referee doesn’t see, I can do whatever. It doesn’t matter about cameras or others seeing. I can do whatever I want.’’ A suspension for Toure would have come as a hammer blow to City’s title hopes after Pelligrini’s side dropped two points at Norwich on the back of losing to current Premier League leaders Chelsea.
Toure, arguably City’s most influential this season, will now be available for tomorrow’s game against Sunderland, the FA Cup fifth round match against Chelsea at the weekend, and the league fixture against Stoke.
Cardiff, however, could be without Craig Bellamy for their Premier League fixture against Aston Villa after the striker was charged with violent conduct by the FA.
Should Bellamy choose not to contest the charge, over an incident with Swansea midfielder Jonathan de Guzman, a three-match ban will begin against the Villans.
- Bayern Munich midfielder Franck Ribery will miss the Champions League tie with Arsenal, after a ‘‘minor operation’’ to repair a burst blood vessel in his buttock last Thursday.