ENGLAND manager Fabio Capello won a one-match suspension reprieve for Wayne Rooney and ensured his availability for England’s Euro 2012 clash against Ukraine by telling a Uefa disciplinary hearing the forward was "paying for my mistake" in failing to substitute the "distracted" player prior to his dismissal against Montenegro.
Rooney's three-match suspension for kicking out at Montenegro defender Miodrag Dzudovic in October has been reduced to a two-game ban, with a third game suspended for four years.
He was given permission by Manchester United to make a personal appearance at the hearing in Nyon, just 12 hours after the club’s Champions League exit against FC Basle.
But sources at Uefa’s Nyon headquarters claim that Capello’s admission of culpability in Rooney’s dismissal and subsequent suspension proved key to the commission’s decision to reduce the 26 year-old’s suspension.
Despite claiming publicly prior to the decisive qualifier in Montenegro that he had no concerns over Rooney’s state of mind following the arrest of his father, Wayne Snr, by police investigating alleged betting irregularities in football matches, Capello is understood to have told the three-man commission that he should have substituted Rooney at half-time after noticing that the player was not in the right frame of mind in the wake of his father being detained.
Capello’s admission echoed comments made by Montenegro coach Branko Brnovic following the game, with Brnovic saying, “I read that Rooney had some family problems in England and I didn’t expect him to play because those things are serious and it’s not easy to concentrate on the game. They’re serious, and maybe that’s why he did what he did.’’