Football: Bowyer may escape ban

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The Independent Online
LEE BOWYER, the Leeds United midfielder, was yesterday given hope of a reprieve by the Football Association ahead of his disciplinary commission hearing at Lancaster Gate tomorrow.

Bowyer faces the possibility of a two or three-match ban after receiving 11 bookings for the season, all of which have come while on first-team duty.

If the FA clamp down on the England under-21 international then he could be out for the trips to West Ham and Chelsea and the home game with Arsenal. With the season drawing to a close, however, Bowyer may escape as the FA have apparently been employing a degree of leniency in recent cases. An FA disciplinary office spokesperson said: "It's possible he could get away with a warning. A lot of players have been getting that lately, but otherwise it's more than likely to be a one-match ban."

Last week the FA gave Olivier Dacourt, the Everton midfielder, a warning and a pounds 2,500 fine for 14 bookings, while Nottingham Forest's Alan Rogers was ordered to pay pounds 2,000 after accruing 11 yellow cards.

Another Leeds man, Alf Inge Haaland, went before the commission at the end of last month, and the Norwegian international received a one-game suspension and a pounds 2,500 fine for 11 bookings. A similar punishment would mean Bowyer missing only Saturday's match at Upton Park.

After being withdrawn from the England under-21 squad for yesterday's game with Hungary due to a hamstring injury sustained in the 1-1 draw against Manchester United on Sunday, sitting out the London trip will give the 22-year-old the chance to make a complete recovery.

Of the other injured Leeds players, Alan Smith (calf) and Harry Kewell (thigh) were back in training yesterday, while Ian Harte was given the all-clear after bruising his kidneys.