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EXCLUSIVE: FA clear Arsenal skipper Cesc over Hull City 'spitting' row
Published : 22 May 2009 11:26:16
Cesc Fabregas has been cleared by the Football Association of all charges in relation to the spitting row with Hull City. FA officials wanted to delay the announcement until Hull had contested Sunday's relegation clash with Manchester United. But Sportsmail can reveal that Arsenal captain Fabregas has escaped punishment after being hit with two charges of improper conduct in the wake of the controversial events that concluded the FA Cup quarter-final tie between the sides at the Emirates Stadium. A statement from the FA read: 'The FA can confirm that, at a regulatory commission hearing, two charges of improper conduct against Arsenal midfielder Cesc Fabregas were found not proved. 'The charges related to Fabregas's conduct following the FA Cup match between Arsenal and Hull at the Emirates Stadium on 17 March. 'One charge concerned his conduct after coming onto the pitch following the final whistle. The second charge related to an allegation of spitting.' Hull manager Phil Brown publicly accused Fabregas of spitting at his assistant Brian Horton, while the FA also charged the Spaniard over 'his behaviour in coming on to the pitch after the final whistle'. Fabregas missed the game because of injury but stormed on to the field in what was seen by Hull as an overly aggressive manner. The spitting incident was alleged to have taken place in the tunnel soon afterwards. The FA received statements from Brown, Horton, fitness coach Sean Rush and a number of Hull players as well as video evidence. But, after Fabregas declined to appear at a hearing, the FA's disciplinary body reviewed the evidence and concluded he had no case to answer. Hull are sure to be furious. The FA will no doubt argue that a lack of conclusive evidence left them to make an impossible choice between the conflicting statements of Hull and Arsenal. But Hull will no doubt feel that their evidence has simply been dismissed, with the possibility of a fine for Brown - he, too, was charged with improper conduct for remarks about referee Mike Riley - adding insult to injury. Fabregas has, however, consistently denied spitting at Horton, saying: 'I have never done this (spit) in my whole career, so why would I when I am not even playing?' Brown saw things differently. He said: 'We really just want the truth to come out.' Fabregas was also criticised by Brown for the manner in which he celebrated on the pitch after the final whistle. However, the 22-year-old said: 'Eight players were on the pitch as well, so then everyone should be suspended.' On the allegation of spitting, Fabregas reflected: "If I am suspended for that, my heart and my mind will be relaxed because I have not done anything wrong.' Neither referee Riley nor any of the other match officials mentioned anything of such an incident in their report to Soho Square. Horton, though, had contacted the League Managers Association to lodge a complaint before Hull, and subsequently Arsenal, were asked by the FA to submit their observations.