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FA hit back at irate Dalglish; We were right to appeal Rooney red card, say chiefs.

THE Football Association have defended themselves against Kenny Dalglish's accusation of double standards after Wayne Rooney successfully appealed against his three-match Euro 2012 ban.

Rooney's punishment for lashing out at Montenegro's Miodrag Dzudovic in October has been reduced to a two-game suspension, with an additional match suspended for four years, a period that only covers England games in Uefa competitions.

It is a crucial amendment because it means any remaining doubt over the 26-year-old's likely selection for Euro 2012 next summer has been removed as he is free to play in England's final Group D match, against hosts Ukraine, which manager Fabio Capello has already admitted is likely to be critical to his side's chances of progress.

The FA sent a team of four lawyers to argue Rooney's case, the player travelling direct from Basle, where Manchester United exited the Champions League on Wednesday night, to provide his own evidence, as did Capello.

However, the appeal has not gone down well with Dalglish, the Liverpool boss, whose striker Luis Suarez, already the subject of a racism probe following an altercation with Manchester United defender Patrice Evra at Anfield in October, was this week charged with making an offensive gesture as he left the field after Monday night's 1-0 defeat at Fulham.

"I find it a bit strange the FA are supposed to be setting an example for things yet they appeal against Rooney's three-match ban," said Dalglish.

"It's not as if it was a 50-50 challenge. I don't how they justify diluting it and don't think it sets a very good precedent for everybody else."

Dalglish pointed out that if Rooney had been judged on the FA's own rules, a three-match suspension would have been automatic.

However, Club England managing director Adrian Bevington, who immediately after the hearing thanked Manchester United for releasing the player for a few hours, was quick to point out a major difference that exists between how the FA and Uefa handle disciplinary matters. And this has now been followed by a formal FA statement on the matter.

"To promote speed and consistency, stakeholders in England agreed a standard formula encompassing a fixed penalty sanction should be applied across the game by The FA," said the statement.

"The system has been in operation for many years and meets the demands of the domestic game.

"The FA's system allows clubs to make a claim of wrongful dismissal - to reduce a sanction to zero - or appeal the severity of a sanction. Both of these processes are dealt with prior to the player's next fixture. Uefa chooses to operate a different process for European matches, based on a sliding scale, under which each sanction is determined individually by a disciplinary panel.

"In any event a minimum one-game ban will always be applied by Uefa.

"This process meets the demands of Uefa football where the period between fixtures is greater than that in the domestic game."

Still, there is an argument to say the FA should have accepted Rooney's punishment given, if they had received a similar appeal for a domestic incident, the suspension would have been increased to four matches if it had been deemed frivolous. Rooney himself had admitted his actions during the 2-2 draw in Podgorica were "stupid".

It is believed the FA pointed out that a three-match ban that affects games in the finals of a major tournament is a harsher sanction than a suspension of a similar length which would just affect matches in a qualifying tournament.

Rooney's two-match ban means he misses the Group D opener against France on June 11 in Donetsk and also the second game against Sweden in Kiev on June 15 but can now face Ukraine on June 19 in Donetsk. Bevington told reporters afterwards: "It is a positive outcome, Wayne and Fabio are both very pleased.

Wayne always made it clear he accepted it was a red card offence."

CAPTION(S):

ANNOYED Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish JUST 'STUPID' Wayne Rooney receiving a red card after kicking out at Montenegro''s Miodrag Dzudovoic
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUE
Date:Dec 9, 2011
Words:672
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