Charles Sale: Rafael hoping to avoid video nasty in FA hearing

21 January 2011 12:14

The FA will break new ground on Friday by holding a personal hearing via video conference.

An FA regulatory panel will be at Wembley while Manchester United full back Rafael, who has accepted a charge of improper conduct for his altercation with referee Mike Dean after being sent off against Tottenham, will put his mitigation case from the club's training ground.

Case for the defence: Rafael (left) has accepted a charge of improper conduct for his altercation with Dean

The technology, saving the cash-strapped FA the expense of bringing all participants to one venue, has already been introduced for wrongful dismissal claims.

And the seemingly straightforward nature of the Rafael case - with United looking for a lenient punishment rather than attempting to overturn a charge - was seen by the FA as a chance to give the video link its hearings debut.

  More from Charles Sale. Charles Sale: New conflict fear over Olympic bids20/01/11 CHARLES SALE: New FA chairman David Bernstein's battle to avoid board clash18/01/11 CHARLES SALE: Watford still keep Young at heart17/01/11 Charles Sale: Barnsley wage-cap rap for players' chief Gordon Taylor13/01/11 Charles Sale: Pearce primed for Team GB Olympic football team job in 201211/01/11 CHARLES SALE: Aussie row over Greg Chappell's long lunch09/01/11 Charles Sale: Sir Ian Botham all set for rematch with Ian Chappell07/01/11 Charles Sale: Schofield basking in Ashes success06/01/11 VIEW FULL ARCHIVE The system was tested on Thursday to ensure both sides will be able to hear and see each other. But if it goes wrong in any way, no doubt United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, speaking up for Rafael from his Carrington stronghold, will tell the FA exactly what he thinks of them.

The chances of the FA agreeing to Government demands that they have two independent directors were already slim, stoked by Whitehall's aggressive approach alienating clubs of all sizes, as Sports Agenda reported this week.

They must now be practically zero after Minister for Sport Hugh Robertson on Thursday called football 'the worst governed sport in this country without a shadow of a doubt'.

The FA were surprised by the tone of Robertson's comment and that it was not supported by detailed evidence. But Robertson won't be backing down, so it looks like only a matter of time before a Government regulator is brought in.

West Ham vice-chairman Karren Brady, under fire for her handling of the hiatus surrounding Avram Grant's future as manager, still has high-powered admirers.

Investor Sir Philip Green is understood to have wanted Brady involved in Syco, the joint production venture between Sony and Simon Cowell, whose first project is the autumn launch of the US version of The X Factor.

The Nike hype around the France-Brazil friendly in Paris on February 9 will be something else.

The Kentaro-organised match sees the launch of Nike's £42m-a-year shirt sponsorship of the France team, which runs until the 2018 World Cup, and the sportswear giant need to start justifying one of football's most overpriced commercial deals.

The contract was signed before France's horror show in South Africa, with Nike on the rebound from losing out to adidas for the Germany kit.

A Nike spokesperson said: 'France is still a great name. One unfortunate World Cup doesn't change that.'

England's slow Byrner There are hopes that the elusive contract between Team England agents 1966 and the FA, which has been in painstaking negotiation since 1966 began representing the players nearly five years ago, might be signed before the game against Denmark in Copenhagen on February 9.

Terry Byrne, 1966's owner and a former personal manager of David Beckham, has relocated to New York. He is executive vice-chairman there of the reformed NY Cosmos, but has re-structured 1966 so he can retain control.

Byrne is also behind the £500,000-a-player A:3K skills challenge due to take place at the O2 last summer but postponed for a year when Wayne Rooney and Steven Gerrard opted out after England's dismal World Cup. A new date and six-strong line-up have yet to be agreed and ITV have no firm plan to run it.

Confession: Walcott admitted he dived in Arsenal's 1-1 draw with Leeds earlier this month

There is disquiet in football that the FA have not even written to Arsenal about Theo Walcott's admission that he dived in an attempt to win a penalty against Leeds, yet fined Liverpool's Ryan Babel £10,000 for his Twitter attack on referee Howard Webb.

It wouldn't be the first time an England player has received preferential treatment. The FA say they don't take retrospective action on diving.

 Explore more:People: Alex Ferguson, Karren Brady, David Beckham, Theo Walcott, Ryan Babel, Philip Green, Wayne Rooney, Mike Dean, Hugh Robertson, Steven Gerrard, Simon Cowell Places: Leeds, Copenhagen, Liverpool, Paris, New York, France, Germany, Denmark, United Kingdom, South Africa, Brazil

Source: Daily_Mail