From 22 November the FA changed the rules with regards to how they can punish a player after a game. Previously, if any of the officials stated in their post match reports that they saw an incident, the FA could not act, even if they had seen the incident incorrectly. The rule change came after numerous incidents where a referee had given a free kick, or booked a player, or in some cases merely waved play on, led to players not receiving the correct punishment.
The change in regulations, which has been led by FA chairman Greg Dyke, see the FA now have the power to punish a player, even when the officials have seen, and potentially dealt, with the incident at the time.
“The new rules will cover violent conduct that occurs secondarily to a challenge for the ball, and off-the-ball incidents where one or more match officials saw the players coming together but their view was such that none could make a decision.”
Whilst Manchester United might have got the benefit during the 90 minutes, it is highly likely that the FA will give Rooney a 3 match ban for violent conduct after his kick.