Football: Ferdinand fury over fine after Cup outburst

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The Independent Online
A FINE of pounds 2,500 landed on Les Ferdinand's doormat yesterday, a punishment meted out by the Football Association for the Tottenham and England striker's criticism of the referee Gerald Ashby. An indignant Ferdinand then tempted further retribution by proceeding to aim a string of verbal right hooks at the FA's handling of the incident.

Ferdinand had described Ashby's performance during Tottenham's FA Cup defeat at Barnsley in February as a "disgrace" and said it was "worse than park football".

Yesterday Ferdinand responded to the fine, which he received by post, in equally irate terms. "I'm not happy with the way this has been handled and I'm not happy with the fine," he said. "I was sent a letter some time ago asking me if I wanted to apologise and I told them [the FA] I was not sorry about what I had said and that I stood by it.

"If the FA are fining me for what I said, I hope they are fining Ashby for his performance. They will happily sit down and punish players on video evidence, but I wonder if they ever do the same to referees when they perform badly?"

The Barnsley manager, Danny Wilson, is hoping the FA will be more sympathetic to the plight of the young defender Chris Morgan tomorrow as the list of suspended players grows longer by the week at Oakwell. Morgan faces a disciplinary hearing after picking up 11 bookings this season and is likely to receive a two-match ban, and a pounds 1,000 fine, to add to the four he was handed for his sending-off against Liverpool 11 days ago.

The FA, after studying video evidence and the report of the referee Gary Willard, yesterday decided his red card for violent conduct on the striker Michael Owen will stand. That means Morgan will start his suspension this Saturday for the Yorkshire derby against Sheffield Wednesday, with three games for "stiff-arming" Owen and an extra match due to being dismissed in a reserve game earlier this season.

Add the potential two-match ban for the bookings and Morgan could possibly sit out the rest of the season, although Wilson is hoping for some leniency from the FA when he attends the hearing with the 20-year-old.

He said: "Seventy per cent of Chris's bookings have been in the Pontins League and I think that bookings in the reserves should not carry over into the Premiership. It's ridiculous. I just hope they will be sympathetic towards him, because he doesn't deserve any more punishment."

The midfielder Darren Sheridan also starts a three-game ban this weekend after his sending-off for violent conduct in the same match.

The club's disciplinary problems will continue to mount over the next two weeks as the Serb midfielder Jovo Bosancic starts a two-match ban on 18 April and will miss the home meetings with Spurs and Arsenal. Barnsley's Macedonian striker, Georgi Hristov, meanwhile, could be watching the Tykes' last four games from the stands following his dismissal against Leeds on Saturday. The booking he received for dissent will stand, taking him to five and an automatic two-match ban, while the red card for foul and abusive language within seconds of the yellow carries at least a two-game penalty.

French football authorities have averted a club versus country conflict by clearing Arsenal's Emmanuel Petit and Patrick Vieira to play in the FA Cup final. The pair were due to join the national squad on 11 May in Tignes as the host country began their World Cup preparations, the Frenchmen have been reassured that they are not expected to meet up with the squad ahead of the final on 16 May.

Aston Villa have been found guilty of making an illegal approach to the former Charlton youth player, Jay Lloyd Samuel. Villa, who signed Samuel last April, were fined pounds 2,000 by an FA commission in Birmingham yesterday. The Football League Appeals Committee will now consider Charlton's request for at least pounds 100,000 compensation for the 17-year-old midfielder, plus extra cash for appearances and international recognition.

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