Friday, 22 April 2016

Leicester’s Jamie Vardy accepts FA charge but hopes to avoid extended ban

Leicester City have informed the Football Association that Jamie Vardy has accepted the improper conduct charge he received following his dismissal against West Ham United but the striker has requested a personal hearing in the hope he can avoid an extended ban.

Vardy is expected to appear before a three-person independent disciplinary commission on Monday, where player and club will have the opportunity to make their representations in relation to the fallout from his red card in the 2-2 draw against West Ham. There is no pressure on the FA to convene the panel any earlier, because Vardy is automatically suspended for Sunday’s home game against Swansea City.

Although Vardy has accepted the improper conduct charge, the personal hearing will be crucial in giving the player the opportunity to explain why he reacted in the way he did when Jon Moss, the referee who was at the centre of so many controversial decisions at the King Power Stadium, showed him a second yellow card for alleged diving. Vardy will need to convince the panel that his actions, and in particular the reasons behind them, do not merit another suspension on top of his mandatory one-match ban.

There are a number of sanctions open to the commission, with the best outcome for Leicester and Vardy being he gets fined, clearing him to play in the Premier League leaders’ final three matches of the season, against Manchester United, Everton and Chelsea.

Leicester, who have also accepted an FA charge of failure to control their players in the same game, gave careful consideration to their response to the governing body. It is understood there was concern within the club that if Vardy denied the improper charge it could turn into a soap opera that threatened to overshadow Sunday’s match as well as the visit to Old Trafford. At the same time, there is still some hope at Leicester that Vardy could yet get the chance to feature in that game if he can make a strong case in relation to the circumstances surrounding his reaction.

Moss’s refereeing performance has been widely condemned, with a number of former top-flight officials coming forward to criticise his handling of the game, including Keith Hackett, who was formerly in charge at the PGMOL. Hackett described Moss’s display as the “worst refereeing performance I have witnessed all season”.

Vardy also has the backing of Roy Hodgson, whose support could not have come at a better time for Leicester or the player and is no doubt a considerable embarrassment to the FA. Hodgson, the England manager and the FA’s highest-profile employee, insisted Vardy is the victim of an injustice and said the 29-year-old should not be castigated for his “human” reaction to his first red card as a professional.

Culled from the Guardian

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