Page last updated at 15:15 GMT, Wednesday, 3 December 2008

No FA action over Shields shirts

Steven Gerrard wearing a "Free Michael now" t-shirt
The players wore the T-shirts during the match warm-up

The Football Association will not take any formal action against Liverpool after players wore T-shirts in support of jailed fan Michael Shields.

The 22-year-old was convicted of the attempted murder of a Bulgarian waiter, but has maintained his innocence.

Liverpool's players wore "Free Michael now" shirts while warming up ahead of Monday's televised 0-0 draw with West Ham at Anfield.

The FA said it would not take formal action after speaking to the club.

Shields was sentenced to 15 years in prison for the attempted murder of Martin Georgiev in Bulgaria after seeing his side win the Champions League final in 2005 in Istanbul.

His sentence was reduced to 10 years on appeal and Shields was transferred to the UK to serve the remainder of his sentence.

Michael Shields
The 22-year-old was moved to a British prison in 2006

An FA spokesman said: "We have spoken to Liverpool Football Club today about this matter.

"We understand that Michael Shields' case is a very emotive issue and one that many Liverpool players and fans feel strongly about.

"Having heard the club's explanation we will not be taking any formal action, and we are satisfied that they understand the sensitivities around football matches being used as a platform for political messages."

A judge at London's High Court decided last month that Shields' case should be heard in full by three judges.

A judicial review is due to begin on Thursday.

Earlier this year Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov refused to pardon Shields, and Justice Secretary Jack Straw has said he has no power either to pardon or grant Shields an early release.

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SEE ALSO
Legal boost for free Shields bid
24 Oct 08 |  Merseyside
New legal bid for Shields release
21 Aug 08 |  Merseyside
Petition for jailed fan's release
27 May 08 |  Merseyside
Bulgaria refuses Shields pardon
10 Jan 08 |  Merseyside
Shields passes lie detector test
20 Dec 07 |  Merseyside
New 'evidence' over Shields case
21 Nov 07 |  Merseyside

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