Manchester United midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger could still face punishment from the Football Association after elbowing West Ham United captain Winston Reid, despite the incident apparently occurring in full view of referee Mark Clattenburg. The official spoke to both players after a coming together in the second half, but Hammers boss Slaven Bilić says he did not see the episode which could activate a clause in The FA's retrospective punishment rules.
New regulations introduce in 2013 allow the governing body to take action on incidents where the referee saw the coming together between two players, but not the full incident. Should Clattenburg omit the specific incident in his post-match report then action could yet to be taken against the Germany World Cup winner.
Confirmation that Clattenburg was oblivious to the elbow from the United man prior to Reid going to ground came from Bilić following the 0-0 draw at Old Trafford, after the West Ham head coach said that the referee had admitted to him that the incident had passed him by.
"I spoke to the referee," Bilić told Sky Sports. "To be fair it is a red card. I can accept that he didn't see it and no matter how many referees you have. I am sure if he has seen it, it would be a straight red but it wasn't.
"We are disappointed but these things happen. He just didn't see it. I saw it from the video and it was a red, a big time red. For those kind of decisions, and it was a crucial moment, I can't blame the referee." Reid added to Sky Sports: "It was a red card. He knows what he's done – he's elbowed me in the face. The referee couldn't see it, so we move on."
With Clattenburg expected to leave out the elbow from Schweinsteiger on Reid from his match report which he must submit within 48 hours of the game, the United midfielder faces the prospect of a lengthy spell out of the game. The FA are likely to charge the 31-year-old with violent conduct which carries a three-match ban – though that punishment could be extended if the case is deemed severe.
Schweinsteiger will be available for the return to his homeland to face Wolfsburg in the Champions League, but his participation in United's Premier League games against AFC Bournemouth, Norwich City and Stoke City on Boxing Day has been thrown into doubt. An extended ban could even see him miss the remainder of the year, with the visit of Chelsea on 28 December to follow.