Ronney's fate hangs in the balance
ENGLAND are likely to learn whether Uefa has extended Wayne Rooney's statutory one-game ban for the Euro 2012 finals, with Andrei Arshavin's case before the last tournament suggesting that a two-game ban is the best they can hope for.
Uefa's disciplinary and control body will sit at 1.30pm in Nyon, Switzerland to discuss a wide range of issues including Rooney's dismissal against Montenegro. Under Article 10 of the disciplinary regulations, the striker can only be banned for one or three games. Two-game bans can only be allocated for offences such as trying to con a referee or deliberately trying to be dismissed to clear a disciplinary record, under the rules governing misconduct of players.
Rooney will be handed a three-game ban if he is judged to have "assaulted another player" - in his case Montenegro's Miodrag Dzudovic. But in the closest precedent to the Football Association's case, the Russian Football Federation managed to get Arshavin's penalty reduced to two games by sending experts and lawyers to testify before the panel, in 2008.
Theoretically, Rooney's letter to Uefa, pleading his case, ought to make no difference as the panel - which will comprise at least three officials - must consider the evidence of the challenge on Dzudovic alone. But Rooney's attempt to mitigate for his own conduct - and the FA's plea that he left the field of play immediately and without question - can have done him and England no harm. Former England captain Terry Butcher told the BBC yesterday: "If he gets one game he's the luckiest man in the world. He's got no defence and he just has to hope Uefa are lenient. He has had red cards before and Uefa may see it as a chance to make their mark."
The panel, which will number up to nine officials plus a chairman, is scheduled to conclude its business and though its decisions must be committed to paper and communicated to players before they are made public, it is likely that the results of a high- profile case such as this will be made known within the day. Rooney and England will be made aware of the outline decision with a detailed, reasoned argument to be sent on later. The FA, which has said it will appeal any decision to extend beyond a one-game ban, must do so within three days of receiving the detailed findings.
A day of some anxiety for Rooney comes as he faces the prospect of visiting Anfield - a ground where he has scored only once for Manchester United and twice in 18 career appearances for the champions and his previous club, Everton. Rooney, 25, has described the dread he experienced as a schoolboy Everton fan waking to the prospect of derby day. "[I would] not [feel] great to be honest - we didn't win many," he said. "I used to love the games, to be honest before the games I used to feel sick I was so nervous."