The FA today announced that referee Martin Atkinson confirmed that he would not have sent Bellamy off had he seen the incident with the fan at the time.
This means Bellamy is free for selection for tomorrow’s Carling Cup tie at home to Fulham and Monday evening’s Premier League fixture at home to West Ham United.
Bellamy will be contacted by The FA and warned as to his future conduct.
The more I think about this decision, the more I am surprised by it.
Perhaps in the aftermath of the derby, the incident was lost a little in the emotion and how the game finished. There would surely have been a greater focus had the game fizzled out to a 0-0 draw.
There was likely to be an amount of provocation from the guy who got onto the pitch and we don't know precisely what happened or was said leading up to it. In addition, the emotions of a dramatic end to the match would have been racing around.
The cold facts though are that Bellamy struck a fan in the face. That cannot be right any which way you look at it. The club were always going to defend Bellamy, and rightly or wrongly, no club would take a moral stance by handing out their own punishment when the prospect of no action by the FA was a possibility.
It does set a dangerous precedent though in relation to future incidents.
By definition, the FA are also deeming this to be a less serious transgression than the conduct of Emmanuel Adebayor following his goal against Arsenal. Take the two incidents in isolation and you cannot say Adebayor's was a more serious, dangerous and 'improper' offence.
You'd hope not, but maybe the furore over the injury time at the end of the game helped sway the decision?