Manchester United will fight the Football Association and risk losing Wayne Rooney to a three-game suspension in an attempt to avoid the forward being banned for next week’s FA Cup semi-final against Manchester City as a result of his foul-mouthed rant into a television camera.
Senior figures at Old Trafford, led by manager Sir Alex Ferguson, are understood to be furious at the severity of the punishment facing Rooney, who has until 6pm on Tuesday to respond to a charge of using offensive, insulting and/or abusive language, which carries a two-game suspension, issued by the FA following his expletive-laden reaction to a cameraman after scoring his hat-trick goal in United’s 4-2 victory at West Ham.
Having aimed his aggressive outburst directly at the camera during Sky Sports’ live broadcast of the fixture, the FA believes that it had no option but to deal quickly and decisively with Rooney. The player’s swift apology afterwards is unlikely to affect the outcome.
With Rooney being charged less than three weeks after Ferguson was hit with a five-match touchline ban following his criticism of referee Martin Atkinson, United believe the charge to be further evidence of their perception that the club are subjected to more stringent penalties than their rivals simply because of their profile as England’s most powerful club.
The FA’s decision to charge Rooney has been supported by Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp, however.
“The charge is fair enough. I don’t remember Bobby Charlton doing that when he scored, or Jimmy Greaves,” Redknapp said. “I don’t know why some of these young footballers are so angry with the world. They get hundreds of thousands of pounds a week. I respect him greatly as a player, but he is a silly boy for what he did. I don’t know why he did it.”
Despite the anger within Old Trafford at the FA’s action against Rooney, the club have decided to accept that he will be banned, but plan to challenge the severity of the penalty in an attempt to turn the two-game ban into a one-game suspension.
Ferguson and United chief executive David Gill are to discuss the avenues open to Rooney on Tuesday morning.( Collapse )