Why Bruno Fernandes wasn’t punished for Anfield shove despite Mitrovic ban

Aleksandar Mitrovic was handed an eight-game ban for putting his hands on a referee, leading fans to ask why Bruno Fernandes escaped a charge.

Mitrovic has received a ban of eight games – including Fulham‘s 2-1 loss to Bournemouth at the weekend – for pulling back the referee in the recent FA Cup quarter-final against Man United.

It was a moment of madness from not only the Serbian but also his manager, with Marco Silva banned from the touchline for two games after also being sent off in that tie.

The precedent set by Mitrovic’s ban, though, has led many to ask why Man United midfielder Fernandes was not charged for shoving linesman Adam Nunn during Liverpool’s 7-0 triumph at Anfield in March.

Fernandes attempted to wrestle the ball back from Trent Alexander-Arnold for a throw-in when Nunn intervened, with the Portuguese then pushing him out of the way afterwards.

Though a footnote on a record-breaking win for Liverpool, it was strange to see Fernandes unpunished – particularly now Mitrovic has been banned.

However, the FA were unable to charge Fernandes as referee Andrew Madley had seen the incident during the game and opted not to include it in his post-match report.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, March 5, 2023: Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold is pushed by Manchester United's Bruno Fernandes during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester United FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 7-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

With no action taken during or after the game, the FA were essentially powerless; one of many baffling quirks of their rulebook.

Fernandes scored twice in United’s eventual 3-1 victory over Fulham as they booked a spot in the FA Cup semi-finals, both of his goals coming after Mitrovic’s red.

Whether referees will be advised to be more vigilant when it comes to any contact with officials from now on remains to be seen.