Five-match ban has Vieira on the brink

Click to follow
The Independent Football

The Football Association confirmed yesterday that the Arsenal midfielder Patrick Vieira will get a five-match ban for receiving two red cards after the first two games of the new season, while Gary McAllister will be suspended for three games and his Liverpool team-mate Dietmar Hamann for one after their dismissals at Highbury on Monday night.

The Football Association confirmed yesterday that the Arsenal midfielder Patrick Vieira will get a five-match ban for receiving two red cards after the first two games of the new season, while Gary McAllister will be suspended for three games and his Liverpool team-mate Dietmar Hamann for one after their dismissals at Highbury on Monday night.

All three players were sent off by the referee Graham Poll during Arsenal's 2-0 victory over their fellow title contenders Liverpool. McCallister went first on his first start for the club after a two-footed lunge on Vieira. Next to go was the Frenchman - dismissed for a raised elbow in the last minute of Arsenal's 1-0 defeat at Sunderland on Saturday - after his second yellow card in the 73rd minute for what was also adjudged to be a two-footed challenge. Television replays, however, showed Vieira, 24, had played the ball first as both he and Hamann chased it down. The German got his second caution shortly afterwards after a particularly innocuous challenge.

"No sending-off for two bookable offences can be reviewed as the referee's decision is final," an FA spokesman said yesterday. "This is in line with an agreement reached with all sections of the game, including clubs, managers and players.

"As a result, Gary McAllister receives an automatic three-match suspension, while Dietmar Hamann serves a one-match ban. Patrick Vieira faces a total five-match suspension. This includes an extra match because it was the second time this season that he has been dismissed from the pitch.

"We have introduced an advisory panel which can review particular incidents on video that the referee has not seen. It is crucial everybody understands that the actual refereeing decisions to be reviewed only concern mistaken identity issues or alleged wrongful dismissal cases involving three-match suspensions."

Vieira's closest friend, the Leeds midfielder Olivier Dacourt, fears that his fellow Frenchman may decide to leave Arsenal after recent events.

After seeing Vieira being shown his sixth red card since arriving at Highbury three years ago, Dacourt said. "He is thinking of stopping playing. When he came off the pitch he was speaking in French and saying he did not want to play any more, that he was finished [with English football]."

The former Everton midfielder, himself sent off on his Leeds debut against TSV 1860 Munich two weeks ago, added: "As far as I'm concerned it was a bad decision because Pat got the ball. For his first yellow card maybe the referee was protecting him, but all the time players are winding him up. Because he is tall referees tend to notice him more, but you watch the game and tell me he was not unlucky. Maybe the Premiership will now lose a big player."

Suspended for Leeds' Champions' League qualifying encounter with TSV 1860 in Munich tonight, Dacourt was booked 14 times and dismissed once during his one season at Goodison Park. "Now I'm afraid that if I do anything, however small, I'll be shown red cards," he said. "But I have come to stay and I'll try to persuade Pat to do the same."

Comments