The Football Association are sending a team of four lawyers including a QC to UEFA to support Wayne Rooney’s appeal against his three-match England ban today.
Rooney faces missing all of England’s Euro 2012 group games against France, Sweden and Ukraine after being suspended for three games following his red card for kicking Montenegro’s Miodrag Dzudovic in October’s qualifying game.
Even if the appeal at UEFA’s headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland, is successful, the England striker can still expect to be suspended for the first two games of the tournament.
The Football Association have left nothing to chance, however, and the four-strong team includes Adam Lewis QC, who has previous experience of chairing Rugby Football Union appeal hearings.
The team also includes a Swiss sports lawyer, plus the FA’s own internal solicitor, James Bonnington, and a representative from their external lawyers Charles Russell.
Rooney will travel to Nyon for today’s hearing after Manchester United’s Champions League defeat in Basle last night.
England manager Fabio Capello will also travel to the appeal along with the FA’s legal support team.
As things stand, the United player would miss all of England’s group games against France, Sweden and then Ukraine. However, those experienced in UEFA disciplinary matters believe the best Rooney can hope for is to have his ban reduced to two games, with perhaps the third match suspended.
The FA may argue 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.
Miodrag Dzudovic, the Montenegro player kicked by Rooney, is also providing evidence on the striker’s behalf.
Club England director Adrian Bevington said earlier this week: “We feel we have put a very robust case together with some evidence from Wayne, Fabio Capello, from the Montenegrin player and also from the specialist external legal advice and our own internal in-house lawyers that we work with as well.
“The important element is to present it to UEFA and let them make their judgement from there.”
The UEFA appeals panel will open the hearing at 8.30am with a decision expected in the afternoon.