Rafael Benitez charged with improper conduct after Tottenham outburst
01 September 2009 05:13
Benitez stated after the game that 'with this referee, it is impossible' to be given two penalties in an away game, as well as indicating his belief Dowd needed glasses during his post-match press conference, after the official waved away a late appeal from Andriy Voronin for a spot-kick. Steven Gerrard had earlier drawn Liverpool level from 12 yards following Heurelho Gomes's foul on Glen Johnson.
The FA revealed it was investigating the incident on Aug 21 having requested 'all available materials' of Benitez's comments, including television footage and newspaper reports, and later wrote to the Spaniard to ask him to explain his remarks.
A statement released by the FA on Tuesday confirmed that investigation has resulted in a charge after he was found to have transgressed new directives, established in a meeting held before the start of the season, banning managers from calling into question a referee's neutrality and integrity.
The statement added: 'The charge relates to comments made about the match official immediately following the match at White Hart Lane. Benitez has until Sept 15, 2009 to respond.'
While the Spaniard could face a touchline ban for his comments, it is believed he may be let off with a fine and a warning as to his future conduct, though the FA, keen to enforce its Respect campaign, may choose to make an example of the Liverpool manager.
Although the news will have capped a depressing transfer deadline day for Benitez his lack of funds meant all was quiet at Anfield amid the usual desperate rush to strengthen squads he can, at least, take solace in the fact that he may be able to call on Brazilian full-back Fabio Aurelio for the visit of Burnley a week on Saturday. The former Valencia player has missed the start of the season with a freak knee injury but has now returned to training.
Benitez is also bullish on the fitness of Alberto Aquilani, the £20 million Italian international brought in to replace Xabi Alonso, insisting the former Roma player is 'making good progress' on recovering from the ankle injury that has kept him sidelined since March.