FA charges Bosnich over salute

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The Independent Online
Mark Bosnich, the Aston Villa goalkeeper, has been charged with misconduct by the Football Association following his Nazi salute to Tottenham supporters at White Hart Lane on Saturday.

Bosnich gestured to the home fans of a club known to have a wide Jewish following after they had taunted him over an incident he had been involved in with Spurs' former German international striker Jurgen Klinsmann at Villa Park in January 1995.

Although Bosnich insisted it was not meant to be taken seriously and has apologised for offending some Spurs fans, the FA have evidently decided it could have provoked crowd trouble. The police are also investigating the matter as a possible public order offence and a report will be sent to the Crown Prosecution Service when they have completed their inquiries.

Villa will be taking no action against Bosnich, and their manager, Brian Little, has assured Bosnich that his first-team place is safe. The Villa chairman, Doug Ellis, had hoped the incident would be closed after Bosnich had apologised - first on Radio Five Live's 606 programme and then in a 400-word statement issued yesterday.

Ellis said: "He has apologised very fully and I had hoped this would be the end of the matter and the club won't be taking action against Bosnich. I've since seen what he did, and I'm sure he did not mean any malice."

Little added: "Mark is an extrovert who likes a bit of attention but he knows in this case he did something that was taken the wrong way and is full of remorse. He is a nice guy who wouldn't intentionally hurt people."

Bosnich has clearly been taken aback by the volume of criticism over his actions and suggestions that he is a racist. In his statement he said: "What I did wasn't meant to harm, it wasn't meant to confound. It wasn't mean to upset anyone. To anyone I've upset, I'm profoundly sorry and I can't be any more sorry myself.

"Ever since the Klinsmann incident I have been cast a villain by Spurs fans. When an amusing reference was made to the incident on Saturday I mimicked the Basil Fawlty salute as a mere jocular acknowledgement of the crowd's banter.

"I was astonished to be booked, let alone to raise the effect it later generated. Once again, I am very sorry if I offended anybody, no offence was intended, only comical mimicry."

The Arsenal striker Ian Wright has also been charged with misconduct by the FA. Wright was reported to have called the Sheffield Wednesday manager, David Pleat, a "pervert" in the aftermath of a game at Highbury on 16 September. He has been ordered to attend an FA disciplinary commission on a date to be arranged.

To complete a day of misconduct cases at Lancaster Gate, Bryan Robson and Graeme Souness, the managers at Middlesbrough and Southampton respectively, have been similarly charged. Robson has been fined pounds 1,500 and warned about his future conduct over remarks made to referee Michael Riley after the match with Nottingham Forest at the City Ground on 24 August.

Robson has also been ordered to give a written undertaking not to become similarly involved with match officials in the future. Souness has been fined pounds 750 and warned about future conduct as the result of remarks made to Riley after the Leicester-Southampton match at Filbert Street on 21 August.

The Scottish FA have handed Falkirk's Albert Craig a two-match ban in addition to the five he has already missed for striking Partick's Gareth Evans in the players' tunnel in August. The SFA were using video evidence of an incident for the first time.

Last night's football, page 27