FA pulls out all the stops for Rooney Euro appeal


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The Independent Online

Wayne Rooney will have an early meeting with the Football Association's four-man legal team in Nyon this morning before attending an appeal hearing against his three-match England ban at Uefa's Swiss headquarters there. The FA expects the matter to be settled today, with Uefa likely to announce its decision this afternoon.

Fabio Capello and Adrian Bevington, Club England's managing director, will also attend the hearing, with the England manager set to address the three-strong Uefa panel. Rooney will speak if the legal team judges it necessary as it seeks to have his ban reduced and free the Manchester United striker to play against Ukraine in England's group games at next summer's European Championship. That match follows fixtures against France and Sweden. England play a maximum of six games.

Rooney was expected to arrive in Nyon on the shores of Lake Geneva in the early hours after a three-hour drive last night from Basle, where United were in Champions League action. Rooney had already been heavily involved in the assembling of an appeal statement.

The FA's legal team is led by Adam Lewis QC, an expert in sports, EU, competition and human rights laws. He has acted for the Rugby Football Union and UK Athletics and advises London 2012 on sports advocacy. Lewis represented Sheffield United in their successful action against West Ham United over the signing of Carlos Tevez in 2009 and also secured a significant result last year when he represented two Belarusian hammer throwers who had been stripped of medals won at the Beijing Olympics for doping offences. Lewis led the pair's appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport and successfully argued that the testing process was not reliable. The medals were returned.

James Bonnington, the FA's in-house lawyer, a representative of the FA's external lawyers from the firm of Charles Russell, and a Swiss lawyer who specialises in local sports law, also headed to Nyon with Bevington and Capello last night. Part of the case they have assembled will include evidence from Miodrag Dzudovic, the Montenegrin defender whom Rooney kicked, which led to the striker's dismissal during England's final Euro 2012 qualifier in Podgorica in October. Dzudovic's evidence has been described as "quite supportive".