Harry Redknapp, the Tottenham Hotspur manager, is expected to escape censure from the Football Association today for his suggestion that Chris Foy, the referee, "enjoyed" not awarding decisions in his side's favour during their 2-1 defeat at Stoke City on Sunday.
Though no formal decision has been reached on whether his comments transgressed FA directives that managers should not question the integrity of a match official, the game's governing body is expected to be lenient when reaching a conclusion today. It is believed the context of Redknapp's remarks – querying why his side saw a legitimate equaliser from Emmanuel Adebayor ruled out for offside and had two penalty appeals for handball turned down – is enough to convince the FA that the Spurs manager did not mean to imply any bias on Foy's part.
"I never complain about referees' decisions," said Redknapp. "I have not done it in 30 years of management, never. But today, I'm afraid, he got some badly wrong. I felt he was quite enjoying giving us nothing. He hadn't seen them, but when he goes home and watches them, he'll realise he got a couple badly wrong. And the linesman? When someone's two yards onside, like Adebayor was, how's the linesman not seen it?"
While Redknapp may not suffer for his words, the four-time Olympic gold-medal winner Sir Chris Hoy already has. The Scot was the misjudged target for abusive messages from Spurs fans who had mistaken him for his near-namesake Foy on Twitter yesterday, eventually finding himself forced to take drastic measures to reassert his identity.
He tweeted: "Just for the record 1) I don't need glasses and 2) I do not lead a double life as an English premier league ref. That's Chris Foy," Hoy tweeted. He continued to protest his innocence, adding: "Still getting some rather amusing grief from Spurs fans! On the plus side I've learned some new 4 letter words today. #FoyNotHoy."
Meanwhile, the Liverpool striker Luis Suarez has been afforded more time to lodge an appeal for his latest charge from the FA, for making an obscene gesture at Fulham fans following Kenny Dalglish's side's 1-0 defeat at Craven Cottage last Monday night. The club had also been charged with "failing to ensure its players conducted themselves in an orderly fashion" in the aftermath of the dismissal of midfielder Jay Spearing in the game, and both were given until 4pm yesterday to consider their appeal. That deadline has now been extended, though it has not yet been confirmed how long player or club now has.
Dalglish played a DVD showcasing a litany of offences carried out against his Uruguayan striker – also granted extra time by the FA in recent weeks to defend himself against a charge of racially abusing the Manchester United defender Patrice Evra during the two sides' fixture at Anfield on 15 October – during the defeat and had revealed Liverpool intended to use the footage as part of their case.
Spot the difference: Why were these three managers charged then?
The Chelsea manager was charged with improper conduct after criticising referee Chris Foy following October's defeat at QPR: "The ref was poor, very, very poor. I don't care if he's OK or not. It was a good day for us and a bad day for the referee. I think he lost it and was card happy towards the team."
Sir Alex Ferguson
The Manchester United manager was found guilty of improper conduct and given a five-match ban after commenting on Martin Atkinson following March's 2-1 loss at Chelsea: "You want a fair referee – or a strong referee, anyway – and we didn't get that. When I saw who the referee was, I did fear it. I feared the worst."
The Stoke manager was found guilty of improper conduct and fined £10,000 after criticising referee Lee Probert following defeat to Liverpool: "We don't think it was even stevens in terms of the decisions. You can't have some rules in one box and different rules in the other box. We have had Lee a few times now and had three goals disallowed."