Savage ban for elbow on Kezman

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The Independent Football

The Birmingham City midfielder, Robbie Savage, has been banned for three games for elbowing Chelsea's Mateja Kezman during the teams' match at St Andrew's on Saturday.

Savage was charged with violent conduct after the Football Association's video panel studied the incident. Under the new FA fast-track system, Savage had the option of accepting an immediate three-match suspension or lodging an appeal and risk having the ban increased to six games if he lost.

Birmingham opted not to appeal but their manager, Steve Bruce, defended his Wales international player. Bruce said: "I've discussed it with the player and the board and I feel so strongly that I would like to appeal. But what I can't have is Robbie missing for six games.

"I am very upset. If Robbie had deliberately elbowed the player I would have fined him two weeks' wages and come down on any player who had done that like a ton of bricks."

Bruce believes the incident only flared up because the Chelsea manager, Jose Mourinho, highlighted it in his after-match press conferences. "There was no real kerfuffle over what happened. Kezman went down but was back on his feet within 30 seconds with no serious damage done," added Bruce. "Then their manager views his point to the media afterwards and all of a sudden we are talking about a Robbie Savage incident rather than the game. I don't think there would have been an issue if Mourinho had said nothing after the game but then it becomes trial by TV and the press."

There was better news for Bruce as his leading scorer of last season, Mikael Forssell, and captain, Kenny Cunningham, are back for today's Premiership match with Manchester City. Forssell was ineligible to face Chelsea on Saturday as part of the loan agreement with the London club. Cunningham returns after being suspended at the start of the season.

The FA have charged referee Andy D'Urso with "less than proficiently applying the laws of the game". D'Urso failed to send off Blackburn's Barry Ferguson after twice booking him during Rovers' Premiership defeat at Southampton on Saturday.

D'Urso has acknowledged his error in his match report and a sending off will now be included on Ferguson's disciplinary record. He will serve a one-match suspension with immediate effect.

Blackburn lost 3-2 after Southampton were given a controversial last-minute penalty, which Ferguson disagreed with.

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