LONDON, (Reuters) – Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney has been charged with using foul language while celebrating a goal in Saturday’s 4-2 win at West Ham United, the Football Association said in a statement yesterday.
“The FA has today charged Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney for the use of offensive, insulting and/or abusive language relating to an incident during his side’s fixture with West Ham United,” the statement said.
“Rooney has until 6pm on April 5 to respond to the charge.”
If he accepts the charge, Rooney will miss United’s home league match against Fulham on Saturday and the FA Cup semi-final against Manchester City at Wembley on April 16.
He would, however, be free to play in both legs of the Champions League quarter-final against Chelsea as that game comes under the auspices of UEFA and not the FA.
The England striker, 25, apologised for his outburst soon after the match, saying he swore “in the heat of the moment” after completing a 14-minute hat-trick and that his words “were not aimed at anyone in particular”.
Saturday’s Premier League game at Upton Park was televised live around the world by Sky Sports and the incident prompted an on-air apology from the broadcaster.
Rooney also criticised England fans during last year’s World Cup finals in South Africa when he shouted into a TV camera as he walked off the field at the end of a dismal goalless draw with Algeria. Rooney’s actions sparked pages of debate in yesterday’s newspapers and took the gloss off his hat-trick which helped United turn around a 2-0 halftime deficit to win the match and move seven points clear at the top of the table.
Referee Lee Mason took no action against Rooney at the time because he was not aware of what he had done.
The incident came days after the Premier League’s chief executive Richard Scudamore said that the 20 league clubs had agreed to improve behaviour and that by next season there would be plans in place for managers and players to show greater respect.
The charge against Rooney came while United manager Alex Ferguson is serving a five-match touchline ban imposed for comments he made about the referee following United’s defeat by Chelsea last month.
West Ham manager Avram Grant was also handed a two-match touchline suspension yesterday and fined for comments he made about a referee last month.