After tussling for a loose ball, Reading striker Nelson Oliveira and Mings were involved in a tangle that sent Oliveira to the deck, and Ming’s boot directly into his head. Oliveira stood, before falling to the ground with his hands covering up a severe facial injury. Mings had motioned for a stop in play, but that will be of little consolation to Nelson Oliveira who was taken off the pitch and sent to a local hospital. No punishment was afforded in the match and Mings played on.
The FA concluded that because the referee on the day had seen the incident, no retrospective action could be taken. Regardless of what the intention of the incident was, it is somewhat surprising that the FA felt that it was not worth a further look into.
As a club, we ensured that the referee & the FA were fully aware of an incident during Saturday’s match which caused injury to our striker, Nélson Oliveira. But as the incident was seen by the ref at the time, we understand no retrospective action can or will be taken by the FA. pic.twitter.com/AXYa8N9Rgg— Reading FC (@ReadingFC) February 4, 2019
The incident occurred before the eyes of the referee and has been a cause of debate - did Mings mean it? A lot of amateur armchair analysis has concluded that he did mean to place his foot directly onto Nelson’s head and push down into his face causing catastrophic damage, but there is only one person who will know that.
With this situation over, it is better to leave the debate there. Not because it is not worth tackling, but because there is a greater injustice at play. The FA should have properly investigated the incident, regardless of the outcome. A player was left wounded with a terrible head injury, and it will bring a number of FA protocols into the light of criticism.
The most important thing however is that Nelson Oliveira enjoys a quick recovery.