Rooney ready to make personal plea to cut ban
England striker willing to go to Switzerland as FA seeks to get three-match punishment reduced
The Football Association will appeal against Wayne Rooney's three-match Uefa ban, it announced yesterday, and the governing body is not ruling out the prospect of Rooney himself travelling to Switzerland to plead his case. The FA informed Uefa yesterday of their intention to appeal the ban, which currently means that Rooney will miss the entire group stages of Euro 2012, and now have six days in which to prepare a submission to the European governing body. When that is handed over, Uefa will decide when to hold the hearing at which Rooney will have the option to appear.
The FA has not yet thought as far as the nature of Rooney's appeal, having spent the time since Tuesday studying Uefa's five-page judgement on the case. However, taking Rooney to Uefa's headquarters in Nyon may well play in the FA's favour and they have not dismissed it as an option. The player himself appears to be in the right frame of mind to plead his case.
He has already conceded that his kick out at Miodrag Dzudovic in the last Euro 2012 qualifier against Montenegro was "stupid". Speaking for the first time about the ban this week, Rooney said that it was "a bit harsh" but that it was also his own fault and that he did not feel in a position to complain. There was no accommodation for submissions in person when the original judgement was made but the FA have that option this time for the appeal.
The FA has clarified the appeal process with Uefa and been told that it will have prior warning if Uefa is minded to increase Rooney's punishment. In other words, if Uefa decides to "cross-appeal" the FA's appeal then the latter will be warned first and will withdraw their original appeal to avoid the punishment being increased.
The FA has also gone to the lengths of bringing in an outside law firm to help frame the argument that Rooney's ban should be reduced. So far the situation has been managed by the in-house lawyers in the FA's governance and compliance department.
Rooney's appeal will be heard by a three-man appeals commission. It is drawn from the same Uefa-approved pool of lawyers and administrators from which Uefa drew the control and disciplinary commission. However the appeals body for Rooney's case will involve different individuals this time.
There are few recent cases that bear close similarities to Rooney's current situation. Franck Ribéry failed in his appeal to Uefa against a three-match ban for a red card in the Champions League semi-final first-leg game while playing for Bayern Munich against Lyons last year. On that occasion, Ribéry was sent off for a studs-up tackle on Lisandro Lopez that was a lot more dangerous than Rooney's petulant kick-out at Dzudovic.
The Italy striker Alberto Gilardino was successful in getting a two-game ban reduced by Uefa to one on appeal after a red card for Fiorentina in a Champions League game against Lyons in September 2009. Gilardino was originally found guilty of serious foul play but that was changed to the less serious "reckless act" on appeal.
The last appeal by a high-profile figure in English football against a Uefa sanction was Arsène Wenger's appeal against a two-game touchline ban. In that case Wenger was given the ban for not abiding by the terms of his original touchline ban in the first leg of Arsenal's Champions League qualifier against Udinese. His appeal failed.
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