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Charge and ban for Ben

25 Aug 2006 - 18:57:09

Manchester City defender Ben Thatcher has been charged with serious foul play by the Football Association and suspended by his club following his horrific challenge on Pedro Mendes.

The ex-Wales international was only booked by referee Dermot Gallagher after hospitalising Mendes with a forearm smash during City's goalless draw against Portsmouth on Wednesday.

That would normally have been enough to prevent the FA taking any further disciplinary action, but officials of the game's governing body felt compelled to act because of the serious nature of the incident.

A statement on the FA's official website explained: "The incident is being considered as an exceptional case because the FA contends that the challenge was sufficiently serious that had Thatcher been sent off, an additional sanction would have been merited."

Thatcher has until September 12 to respond to the charge, but is unlikely to receive any backing from his club if he decides to contest it.

Manager Stuart Pearce described the 30-year-old's actions as "completely indefensible" and City's top brass have now decided to suspend him.

A statement on the club's official website read: "Manchester City can confirm that Ben Thatcher has been suspended from first team action pending the results of the club's internal investigation into the incident involving Pedro Mendes during the game with Portsmouth on Wednesday.

"The player will miss tomorrow's home fixture with Arsenal. Ben Thatcher fully agrees with this decision."


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