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FA charges Babel for Webb tweet

Liverpool star Ryan Babel has been charged with improper conduct by the Football Association for tweeting a doctored photo of referee Howard Webb wearing a Manchester United shirt.

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Babel released the image on Twitter after Liverpool's 1-0 defeat to Manchester United in the FA Cup on Sunday. Webb awarded United a penalty in the opening minute when Daniel Agger was adjudged to have fouled Dimitar Berbatov.

As well as the photo, Babel tweeted: "And they call him one of the best referees? That's a joke. SMH [shaking my head]."

He later added: "My apology if they take my posted pic seriously. This is just an emotional reaction after losing an important game. Sorry Howard Webb."

However, the FA has taken a dim view of Babel's behaviour and has charged the Liverpool player.

"Liverpool forward Ryan Babel has been charged with improper conduct," a statement from the FA read. "The charge relates to comments and images published by the player on Twitter concerning referee Howard Webb. Babel has until 4pm on Thursday 13 January to respond to the charge."

Professional Footballers' Association chief executive Gordon Taylor had earlier told talkSPORT that Babel should not be punished as a result of his actions.

"So long as it's not vitriolic, so long as it's taken in the right way and it's a little bit of fun then we've got to be able to smile at these things," Taylor said.

"The fact they've had a penalty [against them] early on and then a man sent off they're not going to feel too pleased Liverpool about the referee but at least the lad's apologised and taken it off."

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