Avram Grant charged with improper conduct

West Ham manager Avram Grant has been charged with improper conduct by the Football Association following comments he made about match official Mike Jones after his side's 2-1 FA Cup defeat to Stoke at the weekend.

Grant was left disappointed after seeing his side crash out of the competition at the quarter-final stage, and claimed afterwards that the Hammers should have been awarded a penalty in the second half.

The former Chelsea boss has until 4pm on March 21 to respond to the charge.

After the match Grant hit out at Jones' handling of the second half, which began with Stoke being awarded a penalty just 13 seconds after the restart.

Matthew Etherington missed the spot-kick but Grant intimated he felt that Jones had been swayed by the home fans after Frederic Piquionne appeared to handle in the lead-up to the Hammers' opener in the first half.

"I think maybe this is the reason the referee started the second half very strange," Grant said of Stoke's penalty award.

"Until they scored (the second) goal he gave fouls, a penalty, everything for them.

"It was a penalty for us at the end which he didn't give. What happened with (James) Tomkins was more bushido (the Japanese code of conduct for samurai warriors).

"Maybe he felt a little bit guilty. I think it was the effect of the first goal for us."

The SFA confirmed they had received no appeal from Celtic before the deadline over Lennon's four-match suspension.

A statement on www.rangersfc.co.uk read: "Rangers Football Club can confirm that assistant manager Ally McCoist has lodged an appeal with the Scottish Football Association following their decision to impose a two-match suspension from the technical area after the recent Scottish Cup tie at Celtic Park."

Given the time usually taken for the SFA to convene an appeals panel, McCoist looks set to take his place in the Hampden technical area for Sunday's Co-operative Insurance Cup final against Celtic.

Lennon was unable to do so even if he had appealed because he is already serving a four-match ban following his dismissal to the stand and subsequent reaction during a 2-0 defeat by Hearts in November.

The Celtic manager was handed double the punishment of McCoist given it was his second offence in the relevant period.

An angry Lennon was pulled away from McCoist after reacting to a comment from the future Rangers manager as the pair shook hands after Celtic's 1-0 victory on March 2.

McCoist had earlier been held back by manager Walter Smith as Lennon and Rangers player El-Hadji Diouf exchanged words during the first half of the fifth-round replay.

Rangers later claimed the added tension surrounding the encounter, which saw Diouf and Rangers team-mates Madjid Bougherra and Steven Whittaker sent off, had been sparked by "extreme verbal abuse" of their players from the Celtic camp.

Diouf and Bougherra were also charged with misconduct. The former threw his shirt into the visiting fans after being shown a second yellow card following the final whistle and Bougherra held down referee Calum Murray's arm as he showed him a second yellow and red card.

The players' case will be heard at the next meeting of the SFA disciplinary committee on April 12.

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