Kick into touch

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The Independent Online

When then Leeds footballers Jonathan Woodgate and Lee Bowyer were charged with causing grievous bodily harm and affray at the start of last year, Peter Ridsdale, the club chairman, said they were "innocent until proved guilty". True. He also said: "All players have a personal responsibility to act in a way that befits their position. If it is proven that this has not been the case, internal disciplinary action will be taken."

Well, Mr Bowyer was found innocent of both charges, but Woodgate is guilty of affray. Mr Ridsdale's relief that the more serious charge did not stick was almost audible, despite the fact that affray is serious.

The chairman has decided that violence does not detract from a player's role as an ambassador for the club – he will take no action and Woodgate is free to play.

Mr Ridsdale also said: "Leeds United have not been on trial." Wrong again. At the end of a week in which racism has reared its ugly head again in football, Leeds United is guilty of failing to take a stand against the curses of drinking and violence that also disfigure the face of British football.

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