Ibrahimovic and Mings face FA charge over Old Trafford chaos
Referee Kevin Friend 'like a rabbit in the headlights' as he misses head stamp and elbow to the face
Tyrone Mings and Zlatan Ibrahimovic have been charged with violent conduct by the FA following the five minutes of mayhem that marred Manchester United's 1-1 draw with Bournemouth on Saturday.
The pair were involved in a running feud during the first half at Old Trafford on Saturday. Things boiled over before the break when Mings appeared to stamp on Ibrahimovic's head after a tackle on the edge of the box. A minute later the Swede elbowed the defender in the face.
Referee Kevin Friend missed both incidents but sent off Bournemouth skipper Andrew Surman after brandishing a second yellow card during the melee that followed the elbow incident. But it appeared that Friend was not aware that it was Surman's second booking and only showed the red after talking to United skipper Wayne Rooney and his assistant.
Friend confirmed on Monday that he had not seen either incident. The players were then charged by the FA.
"Ibrahimovic and Mings have until 6pm on Tuesday to respond to the charges," reports the Daily Mail. "The United striker faces a three-match ban if found guilty, ruling him out of Monday's FA Cup quarter-final at Chelsea and the Premier League fixtures against Middlesbrough and West Brom.
"Mings could face an even longer ban because the FA will recommend to a disciplinary commission that his offence deserves a more serious punishment."
They are not the only ones who could pay a price. Friend has come in for heavy criticism in the wake of the rumpus. He was "like a rabbit in the headlights", says former referee Keith Hackett in the Daily Telegraph, who describes it as "the worst refereeing performance in the Premier League this season, or even for some time".
To make matters worse for Friend it later emerged that he spent last week in Marbella on a stag do for fellow referee Anthony Taylor, who also dropped a clanger when he wrongly awarded a penalty for handball in the game between Swansea and Burnley.
Writing in The Times, another former referee Howard Webb has some sympathy for both officials and says their errors were not connected to their overseas jaunt. But he adds: "It was foolish to go on a stag do during the season as it opens you up to accusations of unprofessionalism."