Football: FA takes action against Hartson

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The Independent Online
JOHN HARTSON will be charged with misconduct by the Football Association today for the ferocious attack on his West Ham team-mate, Eyal Berk- ovic, which was caught on camera and broadcast by BSkyB.

The West Ham manager, Harry Redknapp, confirmed on Saturday that Hartson - who is to be presented with the Welsh Player of the Year award by Welsh football writers in Cardiff tonight - was fined pounds 10,000 by the club the day after the incident.

But Redknapp, who said that the money, like all club fines, went to the Leukaemia Busters charity, insisted that he did not make the punishment public after a request from Berkovic.

Redknapp said: "Eyal Berk-ovic said to me: `Look, don't fine him, please let's forget it. I want the whole thing to die down'."

Redknapp acknowledged that the 23-year-old needs to curb his aggression. "Once the film was shown, there was no hiding place for John," he said. "The whole country had seen it and he had to pay the penalty. It was a bad incident and I don't condone it at all. But underneath it all, John Hartson is a smashing lad but he does have a short fuse that he has to cure."

Redknapp dismissed the idea of sending Hartson for professional advice. "I don't know what to make of professional counsellors half the time," he said. "I keep seeing people coming out of prison after being counselled. They claim `Oh he's fine now and he won't commit any more murders' and they come out and commit another one. So I'm not too sure about these people. I think some of these psychiatrists need counselling."

The manager of another player in trouble, Paolo Di Canio, was also standing up for his player over the weekend.

Sheffield Wednesday's Danny Wilson believes Di Canio was not totally to blame in the incident which finished with the Italian pushing the referee Paul Alcock to the ground.

"I feel he has been made a bit of a scapegoat," Wilson said. "I would point out that some people have been let off with things in the past and I hope the FA don't... blame Paolo for everything that happened, because he certainly wasn't totally to blame."

Middlesbrough have agreed a pounds 3m fee with Benfica for the former Leeds and Sheffield United striker, Brian Deane. The 30-year-old will join this week subject to a medical.

Doncaster Belles' Karen Walker and Croydon's Joanne Broadhurst scored as the England women's team beat Romania 2-1 to secure a 6-2 aggregate victory in the second leg Uefa play-off match at Wycombe's Adams Park - ensuring their participation in the European Championships in August next year.