Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Benitez charged with improper conduct by FA

The FA have charged Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez with improper conduct. The charge refers to the comments he made to the media following the opening day defeat at Tottenham on August 16th. Liverpool were awarded one spot kick after keeper Heurelho Gomes' clumsy challenge on Glen Johnson, but referee Phil Dowd waved away a second blatant penalty claim after Spurs left back Assou-Ekotto shoved Andriy Voronin to the ground denying the Ukrainian a goal scoring opportunity. Assistant Sammy Lee was so enraged by the injustice of the decision that he was sent off following a verbal altercation with fourth official Stuart Attwell. Lee was later charged by the FA for this incident.

After the Tottenham match, Benitez had this to say:

"I think everyone could see there was a penalty, especially to Voronin."

"The third one, you could excuse, you can say that the hand was to the ball or the ball was to the hand. But the other one was so clear that it was unbelievable."

Asked by the press if it was possible to win two penalties away from home, Benítez added:

"No, with this referee I knew that this was impossible."

The FA who had imposed new rules prior to the new season, intended to stop managers calling into question a referee’s neutrality and integrity, had revealed it was investigating the incident on Aug 21. The Telegraph says the Footballing Association "requested “all available materials” of Benitez’s comments, including television footage and newspaper reports, and later wrote to the Spaniard to ask him to explain his remarks."

The investigation has resulted in the FA charging Benitez. A brief statement says: "The charge relates to comments made about the match official immediately following the match at White Hart Lane."

Benitez has until 15 September 2009 to respond

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