The Football Association have defended themselves against Kenny Dalglish’s accusation of double standards after Wayne Rooney successfully appealed against his three-match Euro 2012 ban.
Rooney’s punishment for lashing out at Montenegro’s Miodrag Dzudovic in October has been reduced to a two-game suspension, with an additional match suspended for four years, a period that only covers England games in UEFA competitions.
It is a crucial amendment because it means any remaining doubt over the 26-year-old’s likely selection for Euro 2012 next summer has been removed as he is free to play in England’s final Group D match, against hosts Ukraine, which manager Fabio Capello has already admitted is likely to be critical to his side’s chances of progress.
The FA sent a team of four lawyers to argue Rooney’s case, the player travelling direct from Basle, where Manchester United exited the Champions League, to provide his own evidence, as did Capello.
However, the appeal has not gone down well with Dalglish, the Liverpool manager, whose striker Luis Suarez, already the subject of a racism probe following an altercation with Manchester United defender Patrice Evra at Anfield in October, was this week charged with making an offensive gesture as he left the field after Monday’s 1-0 defeat at Fulham.
“I find it a bit strange the FA are supposed to be setting an example for things yet they appeal against Rooney’s three-match ban,” said Dalglish.
“It’s not as if it was a 50-50 challenge. I don’t how they justify diluting it and don’t think it sets a very good precedent for everybody else.”
Dalglish pointed out that if Rooney had been judged on the FA’s own rules, a three-match suspension would have been automatic.
Club England managing director Adrian Bevington, however, was quick to point out there are major differences between how the FA and UEFA handle disciplinary matters.
It is believed the FA pointed out that a three-match ban that affects games in the finals of a major tournament is a harsher sanction than a suspension of a similar length which would just affect matches in a qualifying tournament.
Rooney misses the Group D opener against France on June 11 in Donetsk and also against Sweden in Kiev on June 15 but can face Ukraine on June 19.