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By ESPN Staff

Pearce questions new Thatcher inquiry

Manchester City boss Stuart Pearce has expressed his surprise at Lancashire Police launching a fresh investigation into Ben Thatcher.

Thatcher is already under scrutiny from the Greater Manchester Police force following the disgraceful challenge on Portsmouth's Pedro Mendes which has landed him with a four-match ban and a record fine from his club and left him facing a Football Association charge of serious foul play.

Now, the former Wales international has discovered Lancashire Police are looking into a tackle on Ralph Welch during a reserve game against Blackburn last February.

Pearce was at the game in question and recalled Thatcher actually received a free-kick for the challenge, and he feels the latest move smacks of bandwagon-jumping.

'I find it quite strange given they have waited since February until now,' said the City chief.

'It strikes me as someone getting on the back of a bit of publicity.

'I was at the game myself and I remember the linesman giving a free-kick in Ben's favour.'

Pearce has previously expressed his distaste for police taking action over events which occur during games, believing the football authorities have enough power to control situations themselves.

And nothing that has happened over the past fortnight has changed his opinion.

'From my point of view, once the players cross the white line they are under the authority of the referee, they are the ones who should deal with things that happen during matches,' he said.

'Police forces in this country are overburdened as it is.'