Football: Hartson to be charged by FA

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The Independent Online
JOHN HARTSON will be charged with misconduct by the Football Association tomorrow over his training ground spat with his West Ham team-mate Eyal Berkovic.

Spokesman Steve Double revealed that the FA would act after viewing a video of the incident in which the Welsh international kicked his Israeli team-mate in the head after tangling in a tackle during a training match. The video, taken by a fan, was delivered to the FA's headquarters at Lancaster Gate on Friday from the West Ham training ground at Chadwell Heath.

Hartson has already been fined pounds 10,000 for the incident, which occurred a fortnight ago. West Ham's manager Harry Redknapp said yesterday that Hartson had been fined two weeks' pay, the maximum permissible under Professional Footballers' Association guidelines, and that the money would be going to a leukaemia charity.

Redknapp said he decided to fine Hartson despite calls from Berkovic not to impose a financial penalty. "John has apologised for the incident but he has still been fined two weeks' wages." Redknapp added that the striker would receive counselling to control his fiery temper. "We'll have to bring someone in from outside to talk to John," he said. "He definitely needs sorting out."

The incident sparked widespread condemnation when a series of graphic still photographs taken from the video, published in a national newspaper on Wednesday, showed Hartson first tackling Berkovic heavily from behind. Hartson then tried to help Berkovic to his feet but the Israeli, clearly hurt, swung an arm at his teammate. Hartson was then seen to kick the still kneeling Berkovic in the face.

Berkovic was quoted as saying he was in agony and was unable to eat for two days after the incident. He also said he was considering leaving West Ham as he could not "forgive and forget" what Hartson had done.

"If my head was a ball it would have been [kicked into] the top corner of the net," the Isreali said.

On Tuesday Hartson was fined pounds 70 by magistrates in Swansea after he was captured on a security camera kicking a hanging basket in the city.