ZURICH (AP) — Cristiano Ronaldo will not face disciplinary action by FIFA over his yellow card against Israel, which was suggested to have been deliberate to provoke a one-match ban before the World Cup playoffs.
"It was considered that there were not enough elements to open any disciplinary proceedings," FIFA said in a statement on Tuesday. FIFA had the option to charge the Portugal star using its disciplinary rule regarding any player who "violates the principles of fair play or whose behavior is unsporting in any other way."
FIFA has no specific rules against players or coaches who seek to provoke yellow or red cards to orchestrate the timing of suspensions, though UEFA introduced a two-match ban for such offenses in 2011.
Ronaldo was booked for dissent in the 90th minute of a 1-1 draw against Israel last Friday. The result left Russia as the probable group winner and Portugal heading for the playoffs next month. Ronaldo is suspended Tuesday for Portugal's qualifier at Luxembourg, but will have a clean disciplinary record for a potential home-and-away playoff series.
UEFA toughened its sanctions against deliberate yellow and red cards after an incident involving Ronaldo's club, Real Madrid, in the Champions League. In 2010, Madrid players Sergio Ramos and Xabi Alonso — seeming to follow orders from coach Jose Mourinho — were sent off late in a 4-0 victory against Ajax in a group match which ensured they had clean disciplinary records for the knockout rounds.