Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp has followed Kenny Dalglish’s lead in accusing the Football Association of double standards over their campaign to get Wayne Rooney’s Euro 2012 ban reduced.
Rooney’s suspension for next summer’s tournament was cut from three matches to two at a UEFA hearing in Switzerland.
Redknapp thinks the FA’s stance is hypocritical as he is sure that had the Manchester United player lashed out in a similar manner to his kick at Montenegro’s Miodrag Dzudovic in a domestic game, the 26-year-old would be suspended for three matches and an appeal might have brought even more.
Redknapp, the bookmakers’ favourite to succeed Fabio Capello as England coach, said ahead of his side’s trip to Stoke tomorrow: “In all honesty, it was a three-match ban for violent conduct.
“You can look at it and say it wasn’t that violent, but it doesn’t matter. If you cuff someone, you get a three-match ban. Those are the rules. If you appealed it (domestically), it would be a frivolous appeal and you would probably get four games if you went to the FA.”
They are similar comments to those expressed by Liverpool manager Dalglish, and Redknapp now expects the FA to be besieged with appeals for domestic red cards.
“For them to get it from three to two, it opens up a can of worms,” he said.
“There will be clubs appealing against bans and they will want to know why they aren’t getting it cut from three to two for similar situations.
“People will look at it and think, ‘Hang on, the FA have gone and appealed against his (Rooney’s) red, why can’t we?’
“From England’s point of view, I’m pleased to see him get two because he’s that important to England, but in all honesty, the rules are supposed to be the rules and they have not been adhered to in this situation.”
So, once again, the FA find themselves on the back foot.
Essentially, there is a significant difference in the manner in which UEFA and the FA deal with discipline.
Whereas UEFA prefer to offer guidance to their disciplinary body, and a sliding scale of punishments, the FA lays down set sanctions, partly due to the time constraints brought about by the huge number of games.
Had the Rooney incident occurred in a domestic game, he would have known instantly he faced a three-game ban for violent conduct.
Such are UEFA’s rules that when he was shown the red card in Podgorica, Rooney was left facing a minimum one-match ban, with the likelihood that it would be increased to two or three.
As this punishment did not cover friendlies, and as England had avoided the Euro 2012 play-offs, the first match affected was the opening group game against France in Donetsk on June 11.
Under such circumstances, the FA felt they were duty-bound to try to reduce the suspension Rooney faced.