FA backs Beckham after Blatter blasts England skipper
LONDON: David Beckham has been given the backing of the Football Association (FA) despite the midfielder being blasted by FIFA president Sepp Blatter for shaming the game by his decision to seek a yellow card during England’s clash with Wales on Saturday.
The Real Madrid midfielder claims he set out to pick up his second booking of the current World Cup qualifying campaign after suffering a rib injury earlier in the Old Trafford match. Realising he would miss Wednesday’s game against Azerbaijan anyway, Beckham was happy to incur a one-match ban by producing a reckless challenge on Ben Thatcher.
By serving the suspension, Beckham has his slate wiped clean for the rest of the campaign rather than having to play later matches knowing he was just one booking away from a ban. But after apologising to England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson over his actions, FA chairman Geoff Thompson gave the 29-year-old a vote of confidence to continue as England captain.
When Thompson was asked whether Beckham could carry on as England captain he replied: “Of course he can. The captain has possibly made an error of judgement but he has apologised for it. He told BBC Radio Five Live: “Of course I think it’s a good thing that he’s given that apology. “This is a matter that will take its own course and we need to speak to the England manager. “The issue will be dealt with in the proper way.” Eriksson has said he will deal with Beckham on Thursday and he is understood to be angry at the way his skipper has behaved on the eve of what should have been a straightforward match.
World soccer chief Blatter had blasted Beckham’s behaviour. “Where are we going when football’s ambassadors do not show fair play?” Blatter asked The Sun newspaper. “David Beckham is a role model for young children, an ambassador of football and an ambassador of fair play. I will speak with the leadership of the FA and I will ask them to investigate and give us a report.
“All players should show fair play and should not make sure they are booked, then publicly say, ‘I did it deliberately.’ “This is the captain of the English team and he should have acted in a better way, especially because all the attention is focused on him. He called on the FA to launch an urgent probe into the confession.
“It is not for me to decide if he should stay as England captain. But something is definitely wrong.” Norwegian referee Terje Hauge, who was in charge of England’s match, said he was surprised Beckham had deliberately fouled Thatcher in order to be suspended from Wednesday’s qualifier in Azerbaijan. “It is not correct to do that. He is the captain of the England team and he is a star. Many young players look up to him. It’s not good for him to think and act like that,” Hauge told the London Eveving Standard.
“It surprises me if he has said that. In the match I didn’t think he did that. I thought it was a reaction in the game. The situation was, for me, a very clear yellow card. I did not know he had a yellow from matches before. After the match I got information that it was the second yellow and he had to miss the next match.”
Later on Wednesday, Beckham issued a formal apology. “I was asked a question and made a frank and honest admission to counter the negative speculation,” Beckham said in a statement. “I now know that was wrong and apologise to the FA, the England coach, my team-mates and all England fans. “I have also apologised personally to my manager Sven-Goran Eriksson. “I know that as captain you are in a privileged position and must always abide by FIFA’s code of fair play, something which I have always done throughout my career.” afp