Football: Fowler given six-match suspension

ROBBIE FOWLER intends to appeal against the six-match suspension he was given by a Football Association disciplinary commission yesterday for both his "cocaine snorting" goal celebration during the Merseyside derby last weekend and his fracas with Graeme Le Saux last month.

The three-man panel, who met in Birmingham, ordered a four-match suspension for the Liverpool striker's goal celebrations against Everton, when he knelt with a finger to one side of his nose and pretended to snort the goalline. He was also given a record pounds 32,000 fine, which equates to a week's wages and matches the fine independently imposed by Liverpool.

In addition he picked up a two-game ban for his dispute with Le Saux during Liverpool's Premiership match at Chelsea. During those exchanges, Fowler wiggled his backside at the Chelsea defender and taunted him about his sexuality. Le Saux, who was also charged with misconduct after reacting by cuffing the Liverpool man on the back of the head, was banned for one match and fined pounds 5,000.

The suspensions are due to take effect from 24 April, but Fowler intends to contest his ban, which means it will be deferred. His legal representative, Kevin Dooley, said the appeal process had been put in motion.

"It is my view that I should express disappointment on behalf of the player about what I believe to be an unjust and disproportionate sentence. We will be appealing to the FA against what we believe is clearly an unjust sentence," Dooley said.

Neither Le Saux or Fowler, who were dealt with separately by a panel headed by the FA vice chairman, Barry Bright, would comment after the hearing which lasted five hours.

The FA's interim executive director, David Davies, delivered a lengthy statement in which he said both players had admitted misconduct, adding that Le Saux did not seek to justify what he had done in hitting Fowler.

"[Le Saux] didn't condone violence of any kind and suffered what he called a torrent of abuse from a fellow professional, the origins of which were totally untrue and long-standing allegations that he was gay," Davies said in the statement.

"For his part Robbie Fowler denied saying or doing anything that was intended to question the sexuality of Graeme Le Saux but on his behalf was accepted that he had acted inappropriately in his behaviour at Stamford Bridge.

"As far as last Saturday was concerned, he said his actions had been spontaneous and instinctive. He had only realised how stupid they were several hours later. He had suffered for several years in his home city of Liverpool from totally untrue and damaging allegations of drug-taking."

Fowler agreed this week to assist the Merseyside police with their anti- drugs programme, Davies said.

Explaining the size of the fine, the statement said that the panel considered highly paid internationals to be role models. "They are also human beings whose behaviour sometimes falls below the standards expected of them," the statement said. "But mutual respect for each other is the absolute minimum requirement. The FA has an anti-discrimination policy and a commitment to fight drugs abuse which are well known and highly regarded."

Liverpool's manager, Gerard Houllier, who initially dismissed Fowler's goal celebration as a joke, escaped punishment when the same panel ruled he had no case to answer over his criticism of Mike Reed for his refereeing of Liverpool's Premiership game with Charlton on 13 February.

The French contingent in English football could be expanded by the arrival of Zinedine Zidane next season. According to the Italian sports daily Corriere dello Sport, the world player of the year will leave Juventus at the end of the season to join either Manchester United or a Spanish club. The paper claimed Manchester United had already made a bid for Zidane, whose contract with Juventus, United's European Cup semi-final opponents, expires in 2003. The Spanish clubs said to be seeking Zidane for next season are Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid.

West Ham United is the latest club to express an interest in playing in the Intertoto Cup in the hope of qualifying for the Uefa Cup. Aston Villa also added their name yesterday to those of Leicester, Middlesbrough, Wimbledon, Southampton and Nottingham Forest, who all hope to win a place in Europe via the much-maligned competition.

Brighton have sacked their manager, Jeff Wood, after nine weeks in charge of the Third Division club. Brighton have lost nine of their last 10 games to slip into relegation trouble. Martin Hinshelwood, Brighton's long time coach under Barry Lloyd, takes charge of the team for today's match at Plymouth.

Otto Baric, a 65-year-old Croat, will become new coach of Austria's national team, the Austrian FA spokesman, Wolfgang Gramann, said. Baric replaces Herbert Prohaska, who stepped down after Austria's 9-0 drubbing by Spain last month, and his appointment ends the hopes of the former Switzerland and Blackburn coach Roy Hodgson of making a quick return to the international arena.

Arts and Entertainment
The cast of The Big Bang Theory in a still from the show
tvBig Bang Theory filming delayed by contract dispute over actors' pay
Sport
England celebrate a wicket for Moeen Ali
sportMoeen Ali stars with five wickets as Cook's men level India series
News
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
News
Robyn Lawley
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people
News
i100  ... he was into holy war way before it was on trend
Life and Style
lifeDon't get caught up on climaxing
Life and Style
food + drinkVegetarians enjoy food as much as anyone else, writes Susan Elkin
Arts and Entertainment
Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe), Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) and Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint)
newsBloomsbury unveils new covers for JK Rowling's wizarding series
News
scienceScientists try to explain the moon's funny shape
Sport
Usain Bolt confirms he will run in both the heats and the finals of the men's relay at the Commonwealth Games
commonwealth games
News
peopleHowards' Way actress, and former mistress of Jeffrey Archer, was 60
Life and Style
Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson voice the show’s heroes
gamingOnce stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
As Loki in The Avengers (2012)
filmRead Tom Hiddleston's email to Joss Whedon on prospect of playing Loki
Voices
voices In defence of the charcoal-furred feline, by Felicity Morse
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Education Recruitment Consultant- Learning Support

£18000 - £30000 per annum + Generous commission scheme: AER Teachers: Thames T...

All Primary NQT's

£100 - £120 per day + per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Description Calling a...

DT Teacher - Food Technology

£100 - £145 per day + Pension and travel: Randstad Education Maidstone: SUPPLY...

Supply Teachers Needed in Thetford

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Supply teachers neede...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star