Football Association officials will spend the weekend trying to sort out an embarrassing muddle over Roy Keane's appeal against his ban for bringing the game into disrepute.
Just a day after Adam Crozier resigned amid acrimony as chief executive of the game's governing body, the FA confirmed on its official website that the deadline for the 31-year-old Manchester United captain to appeal against his five-match ban and £150,000 fine had passed.
However, it was immediately informed that Keane's legal representatives were in possession of a letter from the FA – dated 25 October – confirming that the player, who is recovering from hip surgery, had 14 days from that date to appeal, which would make the appeal deadline 8 November.
It had been thought that the 14-day appeal period would run from the date of the original hearing at the Reebok Stadium on 15 October. After initially refusing to accept the contents of its own letter, the FA is now trying to resolve the confusion.
On Tuesday, the FA confirmed that Keane had until the end of office hours last night to contact it, believing, incorrectly, that the the letter confirming the player's punishment had been issued on 18 October.
The irony of the situation is that, privately, United officials want their captain to accept his punishment and let the controversies raised by his autobiography die down.
Keane was found guilty of two charges of bringing the game into disrepute by writing about a tackle on the Manchester City midfielder Alf Inge Haaland at Old Trafford last year. A three-man disciplinary panel agreed that Keane had made an "improperly motivated" tackle on the Norwegian and had then profited from it in his book.