Thu, Sep 24, 2009 - Page 18 News List

Bellamy, Neville receive warning over derby antics

AFP , LONDON

Manchester United sub Gary Neville runs toward Manchester City fans to celebrate their fourth goal on Sunday during their match at Old Trafford in Manchester, England.

PHOTO: AFP

Craig Bellamy and Gary Neville have been warned by the English Football Association (FA) over their behavior in Sunday’s explosive Manchester derby.

The FA launched an investigation after Manchester City striker Bellamy responded to a fan who invaded the Old Trafford pitch by pushing him in the face.

Neville, a non-playing Manchester United substitute, was also investigated for his actions in celebrating the home side’s winner by running down the touchline towards the City fans.

But the FA decided against charging either player with improper conduct, in Bellamy’s case because referee Martin Atkinson told FA officials that he would not have sent off the Welsh star had he seen the incident.

A statement released by the FA on Tuesday said: “The FA has today warned both Manchester City’s Craig Bellamy and Manchester United’s Gary Neville following separate incidents in Sunday’s fixture at Old Trafford.

“In relation to Craig Bellamy the match referee has confirmed that he would not have sent the player off had he seen the incident with the fan at the time,” it said. “Craig Bellamy will be contacted by the FA and warned as to his future conduct.”

“Gary Neville has been reminded of his responsibilities following his actions after Manchester United’s final goal deep into injury time,” the statement said.

City boss Mark Hughes insisted the FA’s verdict vindicated his opinion, expressed immediately after the match, that Bellamy had done nothing wrong.

“We viewed the incident as something and nothing,” he said. “Craig wasn’t privy to how much time was left to enable us to get back into the game. He wanted the guy to get off as quickly as possible and told him so in no uncertain terms.”

“The guy has made an aggressive move towards him and Craig has put up a defensive hand and pushed the guy away,” Hughes said. “He was right to do that because you are never quite sure what is going to happen in those situations.”

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