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By ESPN Staff
Jul 4, 2006

Rooney gets FA backing over red card

Wayne Rooney's plea of innocence over his red card will be backed by the Football Association.

The FA will write to FIFA to stress Rooney did not mean to stamp on Ricardo Carvalho during Saturday's World Cup quarter-final against Portugal.

There will not, however, be any written apology from the player or the FA.

FIFA's disciplinary chiefs will consider the England's version of events before imposing Rooney's punishment.

He can expect a fine and a suspension which will force him to miss the start of the Euro 2008 qualifying campaign.

The FA's director of communications Adrian Bevington said: 'I can confirm the FA will be submitting a response to FIFA within the next 36 hours with regard to Wayne Rooney's sending off.

'Wayne has already made clear publicly he did not have any intention of making contact with Ricardo Carvalho.

'It is also worth noting that we believe there were one or two potential fouls against Wayne during the same move.'

Rooney, 20, broke his silence yesterday to insist he has no intention of kicking Carvalho.

He said he was 'gobsmacked' to be sent off by referee Horacio Elizondo and the FA will support his argument.

The feeling within the England camp is that Elizondo was pressurised into the red card by Portuguese players.

They believe he showed no intention of reaching for his cards until Cristiano Ronaldo rushed over to lead the complaints.

At this point, Rooney showed a flash a temper and gave his Manchester United team-mate a little push in the chest.

Elizondo and FIFA have never explained if the red card was for the boot on Carvalho or the push on Ronaldo - simply that it was for 'violent conduct'.

England's departing boss Sven-Goran Eriksson said the Argentinian referee had told him after the match that it was for kicking Carvalho's groin.

The FA also want FIFA to take into account the rough treatment Rooney was getting from several Portugal players in the seconds before the flashpoint.

Whether these mitigating circumstances are enough for Rooney to escape with a relatively light ban remain to be seen.

England would settle for a two-match ban but anything more than three would seem excessive.

FIFA would have preferred a show of contrition from England similar to the way Italy dealt with Daniele de Rossi's elbow on Brian McBride, earlier in the World Cup.

It was a much more clear-cut offence than the Rooney dismissal but De Rossi wrote an apology and was rewarded with a four-match ban rather than five games.

Rooney's offence was certainly no worse than De Rossi's and he does not deserve a hefty ban.

The youngster's world has already been shattered by being sent off in the biggest game of his life.

FIFA, however, may decide to play hardball if they are genuinely upset by the lack of an apology.

President Sepp Blatter backed referee Elizondo today and cleared Ronaldo.

Blatter said: 'The referee was touching distance from the players and he took the decision according to what he witnessed.

'I can only say that the referee's decision is final and I have not seen any protest from fans or even team-mates on the field of play.'

He admitted the trend of players waving imaginary cards had to be stopped but then stressed Ronaldo had not actually done this.

Blatter said: 'I was at the match and I have not seen any wrongdoing that has not been sanctioned by the referee.'