FA suspends two charges held against Stretford over Rooney

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The Independent Football

The Football Association has suspended two charges against the agent Paul Stretford following legal proceedings at the High Court.

Stretford was charged by the FA last June for alleged rule breaches, the circumstances surrounding how he acquired the right to represent Wayne Rooney and also with respect of evidence provided at Warrington Crown Court in 2004. Stretford, of Proactive Sports Management, challenged the FA's disciplinary proceedings, taking the case to the High Court in an attempt to make his case heard publicly in a court rather than through the usual FA route.

Two charges were suspended following Sir Roy Meadow's court case last week, which effectively stated that expert witnesses who give evidence to courts were immune from any disciplinary action so they are not deterred from coming forward.

An FA spokesman said: "The FA has chosen to suspend two of the nine charges in light of a change to the law that arose last week from an unrelated case (Roy Meadow v General Medical Council). These two charges relate to evidence provided by Mr Stretford to the police and Warrington Crown Court in 2004.

"The charges have been suspended pending either a possible reversal of the ruling in the Meadow case if the General Medical Council appeal last week's decision, or a referral to the FA from the Crown Court judge that heard the case in Warrington. The FA will be asking the trial judge if he wishes to make this referral. Seven of the nine charges remain unaffected."

It is yet to be decided if Stretford will face his charges independently or through the FA's system.

Proactive viewed the suspension of the charges as an admission the FA had acted "unlawfully", and a spokesman said: "We are delighted that the FA has admitted it has acted unlawfully in bringing these charges against Paul Stretford. We will now be considering all our options in light of this."

However, the FA spokesman added: "The FA has acted properly and lawfully at all times in this case, and categorically denies any suggestion that it has not. None of the FA's charges against Paul Stretford have been dropped."

The Manchester United defender Nemanja Vidic, meanwhile, is looking forward to a successful future with the Old Trafford club - starting with the Carling Cup final on Sunday. The Serbia & Montenegro international has taken time to settle down since joining from Spartak Moscow last month for £7m, partly due to the fact he had been inactive in Russia for seven weeks prior to his move.

However, the 24-year-old has now played six matches in a month and feels more comfortable. And with the Carling Cup final next in his sights at the Millennium Stadium against Wigan, Vidic is already setting his sights on winning trophies.

"I think this is the right league for me," he said. "I hadn't played since November 22 - my last match in Russia - so I have been training but I don't think I have reached my peak because it takes time to reach full fitness. My future, as far as I'm concerned, is in front of me and I will be fulfilling my potential. I am hoping to have a good career [at United] but that depends on my game. But the way I am playing, I hope in my period of time in Manchester it will be one of the best of my life."

United beat a number of other top European sides to sign Vidic, who revealed that once a club of their stature came in for him he had no second thoughts. "It is an honour to be playing for United," Vidic added.