Comments on referee earn Hoddle improper conduct charge

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The Independent Football

Glenn Hoddle, the Tottenham Hotspur manager, has been charged with improper conduct by the Football Association.

The charge relates to his comments regarding the referee Rob Styles after Tottenham's defeat at Birmingham on the opening day of the Premiership season. The Spurs manager was unhappy with Styles' performance as his side slipped to a 1-0 defeat due to a penalty which left him angry.

Hoddle said after the setback on 16 August: "I don't think this referee should have been in charge of the game today. He had a big problem with Birmingham and you could tell that he was affected by that. From the first minute I knew it would go against us.

"The last place he should be officiating on the first day of the season is St Andrews and that is why we lost today."

Styles booked eight players in a not particularly ill-tempered match, and Hoddle added: "I've got nothing against him as a referee but he made some poor decisions and it sticks in the throat."

The Manchester United manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, is to fight the two FA misconduct charges brought against him following his side's win at Newcastle last month. Ferguson is facing one charge of improper conduct and another of using foul and abusive language to the match officials at St James' Park on 23 August.

Birmingham have lodged an appeal for wrongful dismissal following Darren Purse's sending-off against Fulham at the weekend. Purse was dismissed for wrestling Luis Boa Morte to the ground as the Fulham striker ran off with the ball seconds after Mikael Forssell's second goal of the game.

The initial reaction from Purse's manager, Steve Bruce, had been one of sharp criticism. Immediately after the game Bruce called Purse's indiscretion "absolute lunacy". But Bruce has since viewed footage of the game and believes the punishment was harsh. The Blues manager is pressing ahead with his appeal.

However, if the appeal is unsuccessful Purse will be ruled out of forthcoming big games against Manchester United, Chelsea and Aston Villa.

Leeds' Ian Harte will be suspended for three first-team matches after being sent off for violent conduct in a reserves match. The suspension casts doubt over a possible loan move to a First Division club and will also hinder his efforts to regain a regular starting place in Peter Reid's side.

Harte was dismissed after kicking out at Liverpool's young French striker Anthony le Tallec during the reserves match on Tuesday night. The Republic of Ireland international had been left out of the squad for the 4-0 defeat at Leicester and will now be unavailable for the visits of Blackburn and Manchester United and the trip to Liverpool.

There was some good news for Leeds from the reserves game as their striker Michael Bridges played for 45 minutes and scored a goal on his comeback. Bridges' career has been hit by injury over the last three years and he had not played since suffering a ruptured Achilles tendon in December.

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