Rooney two-game ban upheld
Wayne Rooney will miss this month's FA Cup semi-final with Manchester City after he failed in an attempt to reduce the severity of a two-match ban imposed following his four-letter reaction to scoring a hat-trick at West Ham on Saturday.
The Football Association opted not to release the outcome of yesterday's disciplinary hearing immediately following a request by Manchester United, who did not wish to suffer any disruption to their preparation for last night's Champions League encounter with Chelsea.
Rooney scored the only goal at Stamford Bridge but has now learned he will miss Saturday's Premier League encounter with Fulham at Old Trafford, then the Wembley meeting with City on April 16, with the FA merely confirming their original punishment.
"A Regulatory Commission has suspended Manchester United's Wayne Rooney for two matches," read a statement issued by the FA this morning.
"Rooney had admitted a charge for the use of offensive, insulting and/or abusive language, but claimed that the automatic penalty of two games was clearly excessive.
"The Commission did not accept the claim and Rooney will begin the standard two-match suspension with immediate effect.
"The charge relates to an incident during his side's fixture with West Ham United at the Boleyn Ground on Saturday 2 April 2011."
At least Rooney will be eligible to play in the return leg against Chelsea at Old Trafford on Tuesday.
However, his absence is a blow to Ferguson, particularly for the City encounter given the 25-year-old's remarkable winner against them in February.
The FA will view it as a watershed moment for their hopes of improving player behaviour, whilst it is another blow to Rooney's image, even if sources close to the player have been anxious to distance confirmation of a sponsorship deal with Coca-Cola not being renewed last year with lurid allegations about his private life.
And United team-mate Rio Ferdinand has also rallied to Rooney's cause, insisting it is now time to call off the "lynching" of his friend.
"We should follow him as a footballer rather than keep lynching him for a lot of the stuff that goes on," he said.
"I wouldn't say he is innocent in a lot of the stuff that has happened but sometimes because of the player he is and who he is the reaction can be over the top.
"Wayne Rooney swearing on TV, as much as I don't condone it, is not front page news.
"There are bigger things going on in the world. There are things happening in Libya and Ivory Coast and we are talking about Wayne Rooney on the front page of newspapers because he swore at a camera.
"I don't condone it but because it is him everyone goes over the top.
"I don't feel sorry for him. He thrives off the attention.
"But he thrives off football attention rather than the stuff on the outside.
"He loves playing football. That's what he wants to be judged on and talked about."