Martin Skrtel fails in appeal on ban for stamping on David de Gea
Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel has failed in his bid to overturn a three-match suspension for standing on Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea.
The Slovakia international appealed to an independent panel sitting in judgement on the matter on the basis his action was accidental and not intentional.
However, the panel rejected the 30-year-old centre-back’s submission and ruled the charge of violent conduct proven.
Skrtel will serve an immediate suspension, meaning he misses league games at Arsenal and home to Newcastle either side of the FA Cup quarter-final replay at Sky Bet Championship side Blackburn.
The defender was charged on the basis of video evidence after referee Martin Atkinson missed the incident in the last seconds of Sunday’s 2-1 defeat at Anfield.
Skrtel chased a through-ball as 10-man Liverpool searched for a late equaliser, but De Gea slid in to get there first and the defender continued his run and stood on the goalkeeper’s right shin.
A three-man panel of former elite officials reviewed the footage independently of each other and unanimously agreed the offence warranted a red card and, despite Skrtel’s protestations, a subsequent ban will now be imposed. In a statement the English Football Association confirmed the punishment, saying: “Liverpool’s Martin Skrtel will serve a three-match suspension with immediate effect after a charge of violent conduct against him was found proven.
“The defender had denied the charge which related to an on-field incident involving Manchester United’s David de Gea in the 95th minute of Sunday’s game which was not seen by the match officials but caught on video.
“However, an Independent Regulatory Commission hearing today found the charge proven.”
Meanwhile, John Barnes insists Roy Hodgson would not be handing Liverpool an unfair advantage in the race for the Champions League if he released Raheem Sterling from his England squad. Hodgson has confirmed he will send some players back to their clubs tomorrow night following England’s Euro 2016 qualifier against Lithuania.
Sterling is reported to be one of those players. Neither Liverpool nor the English FA would confirm reports the 20-year-old has a toe injury, but Brendan Rodgers’ fears about the player suffering from burn-out are well known.
Barnes said: “I don’t think it is much of an advantage. Regardless of whether he plays against Italy or not, as a young boy I am sure five days later he will play for Liverpool with a lot of energy.
“There are so many games to be played in the season that if you miss or one or two games I don’t think that is an advantage,
“It is more of a disadvantage if you harp on about it and you pay importance to it. A lot is made of whether you miss internationals or not. Too much is made of a player needing a rest.”