FA weighs up action over Beckham response

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The Independent Online

The Football Association is still considering whether to take action against England captain David Beckham after the controversy over his self-confessed deliberate booking against Wales at Old Trafford.

The Football Association is still considering whether to take action against England captain David Beckham after the controversy over his self-confessed deliberate booking against Wales at Old Trafford.

The Real Madrid midfielder was asked to provide a written explanation in light of the yellow card he received following a lunge at the Wales defender Ben Thatcher, which subsequently ruled him out of the next World Cup qualifier against Azerbaijan - a match Beckham claimed he knew he would miss anyway after fracturing a rib.

Beckham has already issued a public apology for what he saw as a "frank and honest admission to counter the negative speculation" in an interview he gave after the Wales match, and is understood to have since provided the FA with a detailed written response.

Sepp Blatter, the president of Fifa, football's world governing body, indicated that he considered just an apology from Beckham not to be sufficient, given the player's status as both England team captain and one of the game's most high-profile international stars.

The FA's compliance unit at Soho Square must now decide whether to charge Beckham with bringing the game into disrepute or hand out an official warning as to his future conduct and possibly fine the England captain.

The England coach, Sven Goran Eriksson, maintains that the controversy has not soured his captain's reputation. When asked whether Beckham had offered to hand over the full-time captaincy to someone else, the Swede replied: "No, we never talked about that and I never asked him about that."

For his part, Thatcher has spoken out on behalf of Beckham, insisting it is time to consign the incident between the pair to history. "I don't want him banned or censured, or for there to be this outrage and outcry," the defender said. "The sooner Fifa and Sepp Blatter step out of it then it's finished. Get off his back. As far as I'm concerned, it's finished."

With Blatter monitoring developments, the FA is under pressure to take some action, whatever it may be, against the England captain.

Thatcher could face a two-match ban after Poland forwarded a video to Fifa which they allege shows him stamping on an opponent.

The 29-year-old Manchester City full-back is accused of stamping on the Poland defender Kamil Kosowski during the World Cup qualifier at the Millennium Stadium last week which ended in a 3-2 defeat for the Welsh.

"Having looked at the tape, the issue is clear," said Michal Listkiewicz of the Polish Football Federation. "We have sent a tape to Fifa's disciplinary committee in Zurich and are now awaiting their verdict."

Brian Flynn has promised the FA of Wales that he already has plans in place should he win the race to become his country's new coach. Flynn, the former Wrexham and Swansea manager who won 66 Welsh caps, claims he "would love to be Wales manager" as successor to Mark Hughes, who has left to manage Blackburn Rovers

"I have plans already in place if I become the next Wales manager," Flynn said yesterday. "You simply do not go into a job or an interview without any plans and those plans do not just involve what happens tomorrow but what happens long-term.

"Everybody has a view on systems and formations and they are only highlighted when things start to go wrong. But you have to play to your strengths within the camp and I would certainly play a 4-3-3 with an all-out attacking three."

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