Premier League

City face up to Balotelli ban

TEAMtalk Media Group, TEAMtalk Media Group
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24/01/2012 11:01 +0100

Platt confirmed no talks had taken place amongst the City hierarchy and a final decision would not be made until all relevant parties had an input into discussions.

Although it is not anticipated there will be any announcement until Wednesday, City are unlikely to appeal against the violent conduct charge the Football Association brought against Balotelli on Monday night.

That would mean the Italian immediately beginning a four-match suspension, ruling him out of Wednesday's Carling Cup semi-final second leg against Liverpool at Anfield.

As City do not have to respond until 6pm Wednesday, it would seem logical to wait until the last possible moment.

However, Platt has acknowledged the futility of an appeal, whilst questioning how the charge was brought in the first place.

"What we think as a football club has no relevance whatsoever," he said.

"You have to take everything into consideration if you want to go for an appeal because there is a sanction in place that dictates they can increase it if they consider it to be a frivolous appeal.

"I don't think anybody thought we would win an appeal with Vincent Kompany, even though the majority of people didn't feel he deserved a red card or a four-match ban.

"It shows the futility of an appeal sometimes and the negative is that we are likely to be without a player for four games."

Even Platt conceded that, in slow motion, Balotelli's challenge looked "poor".

Asked to attend a scheduled pre-match press conference in place of Roberto Mancini in order to ensure words from a non-native English speaker did not get twisted, the former England skipper outlined City's irritation with the process.

"It seems inconsistent," he said. "I have seen it from an angle where I can think the referee saw it live, like I did.

"Other people saw it live and didn't react. Nobody, not one of the Tottenham players or staff.

"It is when you slow it down that all the reactions come.

"I think he (Webb) did (see it) to be honest, that is my opinion, but you have to take him at face value that he has not."

And that, City believe, is what has happened in this instance, as Webb's failure to act and subsequent claim he did not see the incident left the Football Association free to bring their charge.

It is why this case differs from Wayne Rooney's attack on Wigan's James McCarthy last season as the official on that occasion, Mark Clattenburg, did admit to seeing the incident, and then a failure to realise the severity of it.

World governing body FIFA have laid down strict guidelines for associations not to 're-referee' matches, leaving Platt to contend that the FA have acted improperly over an incident which has again raised discussion over their efforts to reduce Rooney's international suspension for an equally obvious abuse of the rules.

"I don't know what has gone on but there seems a huge inconsistency in refereeing matches on a Monday morning," he said.

"Shouldn't you revisit everything that has happened over the weekend?

"That doesn't take away from the incident but shouldn't you take it to the letter of the law and referee every match on a Monday morning under Law 12?"

Although Balotelli is set to join Kompany on the sidelines as the City skipper serves the final game of the four-match ban he received for a two-footed tackle on Nani in the FA Cup defeat to Manchester United, at least Joleon Lescott will be able to play.

There had been fears Lescott would also be charged after catching Younes Kaboul in the head on Sunday.

The fact he has not has led to a widespread internet debate about whether English players are favoured over their continental counterparts.

"I don't think we got lucky with Joleon," said Platt.

"He was just competing for the ball. Nobody complained, including Younes Kaboul.

"I don't think that is an issue where we have got lucky at all."

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