Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Arsenal Ponder If to Fight Elbow Charge

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Arsenal Ponder If to Fight Elbow Charge

Article excerpt

Arsenal were last night weighing up whether to contest the misconduct charge that threatens to rule Kolo Toure out of next week's key Premiership clash with Manchester United.

Toure has been accused by the Football Association of elbowing Alan Shearer in the back during Newcastle's visit to Highbury last weekend after they reviewed video evidence of the game.

If the Ivory Coast international, who has become a mainstay of the Arsenal defence alongside Sol Campbell, is found guilty, he faces the prospect of an immediate three-match ban.

That would leave Pascal Cygan, who has been out for the past two months with a back injury, needing to recover his match fitness against Wolves in the FA Cup this weekend in time to face United next Tuesday and Aston Villa four days later.

Arsenal must therefore consider whether Toure should plead guilty in the hope of lessening the punishment or contest the charge with a view to being exonerated.

The FA announced on their website, www.theFA.com: "Arsenal defender Kolo Toure has been charged with a breach of FA rule E3 for violent conduct. The charge relates to an incident involving Newcastle United's Alan Shearer during the match at Highbury on Sunday, January 23.

"In line with the FA's new `fast track' disciplinary system, Toure is required to respond to the charge by 6pm on Wednesday January 26.

"If he accepts the charge, the automatic penalty is a three-match suspension with immediate effect. If he denies the charge, the case will be heard at a disciplinary commission on Thursday, January 27."

Toure would not be able to attend any disciplinary hearing under the FA's new `fast track' rules, although he would be able to supply written or video evidence to be used in his defence.

Newcastle boss Graeme Souness insisted after Sunday's game that he had seen the incident, adding: "I know that the referee saw it, but he chose to do nothing about it."

However, referee Steve Dunn must have confirmed in his official match report that he did not see the incident properly for the FA to have acted on video evidence. …

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