FA facing fine over Turkey tunnel fracas

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No England player will be charged over the violent clash in the tunnel at half-time during their European Championship qualifier with Turkey.

The Football Association and their Turkish counterparts will, however, face charges of improper conduct when Uefa's control and disciplinary body meets on Thursday, for which the likely punishment will be a fine. The European governing body's decision will have been greeted with relief by the FA since it removes the prospect of any of their players being suspended when Euro 2004 kicks off in Portugal next summer.

Although video footage was released of Emile Heskey, Ashley Cole and Sol Campbell - among others - involved in a ruckus with their opponents, including Hasan Sas, at the Saracoglu Stadium earlier this month, no individual was cited in the referee's match report. This alone would have made a Uefa charge difficult to stick.

The referee, Pierluigi Collina, did call David Beckham and Alpay Ozalan, who had clashed after the former missed a penalty, into his room during the interval to issue a warning but took no further action. The Turkish FA also faces a separate charge after flares and missiles were thrown on to the pitch.

Uefa's director of communications, Mike Lee, said yesterday: "The players are in the clear on the basis of all the evidence available. It was thought there wasn't sufficient evidence against any individual player for violent conduct.

"The English and Turkish FAs now have to deal with the charges we've brought. Whether they wish to look at individual players is now a matter for them. On the basis of the evidence we have seen and the limited number of previous cases we have had, we are probably looking at some sort of fine."

The FA said yesterday it had fully co-operated with the Uefa investigation and asked Brendan Batson, who was formerly the deputy chief executive of the Professional Footballers' Association, to interview England players and others who witnessed the incident.

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