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Rooney victim calls for UEFA leniency: report

October 29, 2011

A fan has her picture taken with a poster of Manchester United's Wayne Rooney (r) and Javier Hernandez (l). -Photo by Reuters

LONDON: Montenegro defender Miodrag Dzudovic has written to UEFA calling for leniency for Wayne Rooney as the England striker awaits his 2012 European Championships fate, reports said Saturday.

Rooney's chances of starring at Euro 2012 could be scuppered by a three-match ban handed down by UEFA after the Manchester United star's sending-off for kicking Dzudovic in their final qualifier earlier this month.

As it stands, Rooney will miss all three of England's group matches and that will cost him the opportunity to play in the finals, hosted by Poland and Ukraine, if Fabio Capello's team fail to qualify for the knock-out stages.

While England's Football Association await an explanation for the severity of the ban from UEFA before deciding whether to appeal, Rooney has received some unexpected support.

According to the Daily Mail, Dzudovic has teamed up with Russian sports paper Soviet Sport and written to UEFA to plead for leniency for Rooney should England's FA appeal the sanction.

The letter reportedly said: “Miodrag would like to underline that he didn't notice any signs of aggression in Rooney's actions.

“In his opinion the England national team player was driven by emotions and it was an act of desperation rather than anger.

“The most important detail we ask to take notice of is Wayne Rooney's apology. He realised his fault and felt guilty. UEFA pay so much attention to 'Fair Play' principles but Wayne's behaviour is the brightest example of fairness.

“It is rare when a player leaves the field blaming no one but himself after being sent off. In our opinion, Wayne Rooney shouldn't be banned even for a single game. We hope to be heard in UEFA.”

UEFA are expected to inform the FA their written reasons for the three-match ban some time this week.

If the FA's chiefs feel UEFA don't have a strong enough case for giving Rooney a ban that could end his participation in the tournament they will appeal in a bid to get the punishment reduced.