FA insists it could not have punished Wayne Rooney
Rooney escaped a possible ban for the incident with McCarthy
Wayne Rooney could not have been retrospectively punished for elbowing Wigan's James McCarthy, a Football Association official has said.
FA general secretary Alex Horne told the BBC: "Fifa regulations state if the incident has been seen by the referee we can't review.
"If you review everything you begin to undermine the referee."
The comments appear to contradict Fifa chief Sepp Blatter who said the decision was at the FA's "discretion."
But Horne added: "I check this regulation with the Fifa executive and with other national associations regularly."
Blatter made his statement during a media briefing following the International Football Association Board meeting in Wales.
FA chairman David Bernstein, who was sitting next to Blatter, also insisted his organisation followed Fifa's rules.
"In the Wayne Rooney situation, under Fifa regulations if the referee sees the incident - which in this case he did do - the FA has no authority except in what is called exceptional circumstances, really exceptional," Bernstein said.
"If you open the door to 'halfway exceptional' the floodgates will open."
Meanwhile, Blatter also urged managers - including Manchester United's Sir Alex Ferguson - to show referees more respect.
Ferguson is contesting an FA charge of improper conduct after criticising referee Martin Atkinson following United's 2-1 defeat at Chelsea on Tuesday.
The Scot was angry after Atkinson failed to send off Chelsea defender David Luiz for fouling Rooney and then awarded a penalty against Chris Smalling.
Ferguson has two matches of a four-game ban from last season hanging over him after remarks about referee Alan Wiley.
"Everyone deserves fair play," added Blatter. "Respect starts with self discipline. This is what we are asking everywhere, from youth teams upwards and it is also valid for personalities.
"The higher your position, the higher your responsibility. Those that have more power should be more responsible towards others. This is a principle in life."
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