Coin-throwing footballer to get verbal warning with warning

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The Independent Online

A Liverpool footballer who hurled a £1 coin into a crowd of Arsenal fans during a match will receive only a verbal ticking-off by the police, Scotland Yard announced yesterday.

The Metropolitan Police will issue Jamie Carragher, 24, with a formal warning over his actions during Sunday's FA Cup-tie at Highbury, north London. The Premiership defender was sent off by the referee for violent conduct after he threw the coin, which had been thrown on to the pitch, back into the crowd from close range.

The Football Association confirmed yesterday that Carragher would serve a mandatory three-match ban for the red card, which will put him out of consideration for the England squad to face Holland in a friendly on 13 February. Liverpool revealed he had been fined £40,000 by the club and warned as to his future conduct.

However, he will not face an FA misconduct charge and a Met spokesman said that no further action would be taken by the police after two fans who had previously claimed to have been injured had refused to make any formal complaints.

Football has witnessed a spate of missile-throwing incidents recently, but Carragher's actions were also seen as another example of the bad-boy behaviour by top-flight footballers which has called into question the example being set by wealthy sportsmen.

A Met spokesman said: "All the facts of the case have been considered. The two people who allegedly received injuries have declined to make allegations. The only outstanding matter is the throwing of an object under the Football Offences Act. In light of all the circumstances it has been decided that a formal warning will be issued."

Formal warnings are verbal and are different to police cautions in that they do not require an acceptance of responsibility by the culprit and are not listed on a criminal record.

Phil Thompson, Liverpool's caretaker manager, praised the police. He said: "They have dealt with this in a very sensible and sensitive manner. I think everyone realises this was a reaction to what has been a poor trend. Jamie is not the sort of lad who gets involved in these incidents and I think his excellent discipline has been taken into account."