Andy Carroll's three-match ban upheld
West Ham striker Andy Carroll will serve a three-match suspension, starting immediately, after an independent arbitration tribunal dismissed a legal challenge by the club against the Football Association's decision to uphold the player's red card.
The Hammers are unhappy that the England international's ban - a consequence of his dismissal against Swansea last week after an altercation with defender Chico Flores -- was not overturned by the FA, and took the case to tribunal in the pursuit of what manager Sam Allardyce claimed was "justice''.
However, the independent panel, at which the FA was also represented, found "there was no serious issue to be tried'' and as such rejected West Ham's submissions, meaning Carroll must serve out his punishment.
The forward will miss upcoming games against Aston Villa, Norwich and Southampton.
A statement from the FA read: "A n independent arbitration tribunal convenedunder FA Rule K has today dismissed a legal challenge brought by West Ham United FC and Andy Carroll in relation to the red card received by Carroll in the match between West Ham United FC and Swansea City FC on 1 February 2014.
"The independent tribunal resolved that there was no serious issue to be tried and also awarded the FA its costs.''
Irons boss Allardyce firmly believes the east London club were right to take the matter further, with the fallout from the FA's decision dominating the scheduled pre-match media conference on Friday morning before the final decision of the tribunal was known.
I think the whole procedure in terms of how we put our case together and the vast swell of people felt it was unjust and for me the panel has not seen it how they should have seen it and as the evidence we gave,'' he said. "In this case they were looking at it from the view of one thing only: was it an obvious mistake?
So we based our procedure on this, and I'm 100 per cent certain it was an obvious mistake - (referee) Howard Webb should have given a free-kick for Andy against Flores, at that stage the whistle blows and there's no incident, so that's an obvious mistake, because it is an obvious free-kick.
"For me the conclusion could only have been that he felt that even though he hadn't seen it 100 per cent, he was reluctant not to give a red card on the basis that if Andy had caught him full in the face or elbowed him or used violent conduct, which he didn't, it was at very best reckless, then he would've been in trouble with his group of referees and his bosses for not giving it.''
Allardyce was left less than impressed by the reaction of Spanish defender Flores, saying: "He has allowed people to say to players 'you can get away with simulation to get someone sent off or get a decision in your favour', that is clear for all to see on what happened.''
"Howard thought that Andy has smashed him straight in the face by his reaction and then when you see it after there is little or no contact and it is nowhere near his face, so it is a shame. The other scenario that he must feel a lot more guilty of is he has just got his manager sacked.''
Allardyce presented some statistics to the media ahead of the conference, highlighting an increase in the number of red cards shown this season.
He added: "The sad thing is if you're giving out red cards you have to be 100 percent certain. We have had two and they couldn't have been 100 per cent certain.''
Despite such an unsettled lead-up to the fixture, Allardyce expects a professional display at Villa Park as West Ham look to build on their draw at Chelsea and victory over Swansea to pull themselves out of the relegation zone.
• Thorne: Carroll appeal flounders
"I hope the players are angry, as angry as I am, and I hope they take that anger out in a positive manner against Aston Villa to go and prove we can still win a game of football without Andy,'' he said. "We are coming out of a very difficult period and are now proving that when everybody's fit and available, our results will turn.
"This is our best spell, a four-game run with seven points and we would like to continue from there. However, we must remember we have to maintain a level of performance which we have shown recently and try to better it, because that is the way forwards to try to get ourselves further up the league.
"We have all seen the benefit of a quick run of results with the way the table is laid out, so in the next few days, on Saturday and then Tuesday night (at home to Norwich), we could have ourselves in and around 11th or 10th position, if we do the job right and that will relieve an awful lot of pressure on ourselves.''
West Ham issued a brief statement on their official website.
It read: "Whilst West Ham United are obviously disappointed at the decision,as we have made clear throughout, we respect the rules of football and shall abide by them.''