Moyes backs rival Mancini
ROBERTO Mancini received public backing from the most unlikely figures yesterday as Manchester City considered whether to lodge an appeal after their manager was charged by the FA with improper conduct over his touchline bust-up with his Everton counterpart David Moyes, WRITES James Ducker.
Mancini has until Tuesday week to respond to the charge, although he is expected to escape a touchline ban given that it is his first brush with the English authorities and he has apologised to both Moyes and Peter Walton, the referee. The case will be heard by an FA regulatory commission by April 19.
A formal written warning or, at the worst, a fine are the most likely punishments after Mancini barged into Moyes. The Italian took exception to the Scot holding on to the ball, rather than throwing it straight back, during second-half stoppage time of Everton's 2-0 win on Wednesday.
The FA has written to Moyes to remind him of his responsibilities but will not take disciplinary action against the Everton manager who, along with Alex Ferguson, his Manchester United counterpart, launched a surprise defence of Mancini, arguing that it was "big of him" to apologise publicly while claiming that the Italian should not "be brought before the FA".
Another fracas involving the two clubs was also diffused yesterday, with Everton fan George Downing, described as a 'long-standing friend of the club', and Garry Cook, the Manchester City chief executive, speaking to each other by telephone to draw a line under their heated exchange in the directors' box during Wednesday's game.
City, though, are investigating an incident at the end of the match when Craig Bellamy was alleged to have made comments in support of Moyes after his stand-off with Mancini. Moyes declined to comment when asked about the matter yesterday. (© The Times, London)