Football: FA charges Graham with misconduct

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The Independent Online
ARSENAL'S disciplinary worries multiplied yesterday when they learned that their manager George Graham must also face possible punishment by the Football Association following their turbulent north London derby at Tottenham last month.

Graham has been charged with misconduct following comments he made to the referee, Alf Buksh, after the game while his England striker Ian Wright has been summoned to appear before a disciplinary commission on Thursday after television caught him throwing a punch at Spurs' David Howells in the same match. He has also been charged with misconduct.

Graham has 14 days to request a personal hearing. His outburst was triggered by the referee's denial of two Arsenal penalty appeals.

After the game he said: 'I can't comment on the referee but I will definitely be writing to the FA asking them not to allow Alf Buksh to referee another of our games.'

Lancaster Gate have looked sympathetically on similar requests in the past but they do not tolerate managers remonstrating with match officials. The Wimbledon boss, Joe Kinnear, has just completed a month's touchline ban for such an offence and if he is found guilty Graham must expect similar punishment.

Buksh missed the 66th-minute incident involving Wright, who is in danger of a lengthy suspension that would rule him out of Arsenal's potential FA Cup fourth-round match at home to Leeds. He could also miss important games in the run-up to the World Cup qualifying tie with San Marino on 17 February when he would be hoping to convince the England manager, Graham Taylor, of his worthiness both in terms of ability and temperament to remain in the side.

Graham is a strict disciplinarian, but his reign at Highbury has been fraught with controversies. Seven times in his seven years there, Arsenal have been in trouble with the FA. In May 1988 he was fined pounds 250 for remarks made to a referee. In November 1989 the club was fined pounds 20,000 following a Highbury punch-up with Norwich and a year later fined pounds 50,000 and deducted two League points for similar scenes during their game at Manchester United.

Individual players have also been in trouble, particularly Wright, who was fined pounds 1,500 a year ago following an incident at Oldham where he was said to have gesticulated to the crowd.

Claims of similar incidents against Wimbledon and Chelsea this season went unpunished and even Wright's match-winning hat- trick in the Cup at Yeovil on Saturday was tarnished by a sly V-sign he aimed at opposing fans.

Another persistent offender, Wimbledon's Vinnie Jones, will return to FA headquarters a week tomorrow to appeal against his pounds 20,000 fine and six-month ban suspended for three years, which was imposed after he was found guilty of bringing the game into disrepute for his part in the controversial video, Soccer's Hard Men.

The England midfielder David Batty will miss Leeds' FA Cup third-round replay with Charlton at The Valley on Wednesday, 13 January through suspension. He was booked in a reserve game last month, which took him over 21 disciplinary points.

The Republic of Ireland yesterday submitted a protest to Fifa in an attempt to have their experienced defender Kevin Moran available for the World Cup game with Northern Ireland in Dublin on 31 March.

Fifa say Moran is suspended because he has twice been booked but the Football Association of Ireland claim he is a victim of mistaken identity. Sean Connolly, the chief executive of the FAI, explained: 'When we played Denmark in Copenhagen Niall Quinn was booked but it seems the referee wrote down 'No 9 Kevin Moran' in his book. We have television evidence to show what happened if need be.'

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