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.

Sport
Super BowlAfter Katy Perry madness it's back to The Independent's live coverage of Super Bowl 49!
News
See what Twitter had to say about the first half of the Super Bowl
News
people
News
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: PMLD Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: PMLD Teacher A specialist primary school i...

Recruitment Genius: Online Media Sales Trainee

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Now our rapidly expanding and A...

Recruitment Genius: Public House Manager / Management Couples

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about great ...

Recruitment Genius: Production Planner

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Day In a Page

The super-rich now live in their own Elysium - they breathe better air, and eat better food, when they're not making beans on toast for their kids

The super-rich now live in their own Elysium

They breathe better air, eat better food, take better medicine
A generation of dropouts failed by colleges

Dropout generation failed by colleges

£800m a year wasted on students who quit courses before they graduate
Entering civilian life 'can be like going into the jungle' for returning soldiers

Homeless Veterans appeal

Entering civilian life can be like going into the jungle
Sam Taylor-Johnson: Woman on top

Sam Taylor-Johnson: Woman on top

Fifty Shades of Grey director on bringing the hit to the screen
Shazam! Story of the $1bn 'what's that song?' app

Shazam: Story of the $1bn 'what's that song?' app

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch