The international 3 match ban imposed on England and Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney, for kicking out at a Montenegro player was reduced to 2 matches following the appeal in Nyon. This is great news for the England team, who will still miss their most inspiring player for the first two matches of the Euro 2012 finals.
Rooney was banned after the 2-2 draw with Montenegro in October, when after being backed into by defender Miodrag Dzudovic, he kicked out at the retreating legs of the Montenegrin. He was immediately sent off, and received the ban a few days later. The length of the ban was criticised by many of the British footballing community who thought it harsh, and they will be pleased that it has subsequently been shortened to two matches.
The decision comes after England manager Fabio Capello allegedly took the blame himself, claiming that the responsibility lay with him to take the striker off at half-time, after seeing that he was not in the correct state of mind. Rooney was playing despite the fact that his father had just been arrested on suspicion of being involved in a betting scandal. Capello played him anyway, and apparently told the committee that after an unconvincing performance in the first half he should have substituted Rooney.
The reduction of the ban will come as a huge relief to the England squad who look to Rooney as the one to provide a touch of genius in a squad which is sometimes lacking in creativity. The Montenegro coach Branko Brnovic also commented after the game that he was surprised Rooney had played, and that the events at home were bound to affect his state of mind.
“I read that Rooney had some family problems in England and I didn’t expect him to play because those things are serious and it’s not easy to concentrate on the game. They’re serious, and maybe that’s why he did what he did,” said Brnovic.