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Zenit sign Bart Simpson

The Toe Poke 13 hours ago
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Oct 8, 2009

Rafa faces FA rap for glasses gag

ESPN Soccernet has learned that Rafael Benitez has been charged by the FA with improper conduct for a joke involving his glasses.

It was presumed that when Benitez was charged by the FA on September, it was for his post-match remarks made about referee Phil Dowd following the opening game of the season against Tottenham Hotspur.

But ESPN Soccernet has been told that it is a combination of his remarks and also a humorous incident that seems to have badly backfired.

When asked what he thought of the referee's performance Benitez took his glasses out of his pocket and examined them, bringing widespread chuckles from the press room at the Spaniard's implication that referee Dowd might want to borrow his spectacles.

Graham Bean, of Football Factors, who specialises in defending high-profile managers in disrepute charges brought by the FA, will be explaining to the FA Commission that the Spaniard was trying to be humorous when he took his glasses out.

"The new FA rules have been structured, that irrespective of whether something is true or not, it cannot be of a personal or offensive nature," Bean told ESPN Soccernet

"Rafa was asked about the referee, took his glasses out and looked at them, and then smiled. It was his sense of humour, it was not intended to be offensive or personal. If you cannot inject some humour into your press conference, we all might as well pack up and go home, it's ridiculous."

Benitez was fuming about his team's 2-1 defeat, which set the ball rolling for a poor start to the season for Liverpool. In his post-match press conference, a furious Benitez criticised Dowd after the referee refused to award a late penalty for what Benitez believed was a foul on Andriy Voronin by Benoit Assou-Ekotto.

Liverpool had another penalty appeal turned down shortly after when Fernando Torres cannoned a shot against Assou-Ekotto's hand.

"I think everyone could see there was a penalty, especially to Voronin, it was so clear," Benitez said. "The third one, you could excuse. You can say that the hand was to the ball or the ball was to the hand, it could be, but the other one was so clear, it was unbelievable.

"Can you get two penalties at an away ground? No. With this referee, I knew that this was impossible."

Liverpool had earlier been awarded a spot-kick when Glen Johnson went down under a challenge from Heurelho Gomes, the Tottenham goalkeeper.

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