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Tuesday, April 6, 1999 Published at 16:57 GMT 17:57 UK

Fowler fined for drug stunt

Fowler has since apologised for his bizarre celebrations

Liverpool have imposed a "very substantial fine" on striker Robbie Fowler for his controversial "cocaine" goal celebrations against Everton last Saturday.

The punishment comes just hours after the Football Association announced it would be charging Fowler with misconduct over the incident in the Merseyside derby at Anfield.

The England star crawled along the white lines on the pitch pretending to sniff through his nose after scoring the first Liverpool goal in his side's 3-2 victory.

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It is thought the 24-year-old will have been docked two weeks wages - around £64,000 - by his club as a result of the furore.

Fowler has been widely criticised for the actions - which he said were in response to abuse from Everton fans alleging he was a drug addict.

He apologised in a public statement on Sunday, but after reviewing TV evidence from the game, FA chiefs decided to instigate disciplinary proceedings.

The issue was then discussed by Liverpool's board, who released a statement which read: "The Board was aware that the Football Association had already announced that they were charging Fowler with misconduct, but nonetheless imposed a very substantial fine.

"This will be donated privately to a number of local charities.

"The player was also called into a meeting with club chairman David Moores and other directors today and given a formal warning about his future conduct."

Le Saux row

Fowler is also at the centre of a police investigation following complaints about his behaviour at Anfield from travelling Everton supporters.

And he already faces another FA misconduct hearing on Friday in relation to his bust-up with Graeme Le Saux at Stamford Bridge on February 27.

Although the two hearings will take place separately, he may well have to miss several games through suspension before the end of this season.

The FA announced in a statement: "Liverpool's Robbie Fowler has been charged with misconduct following incidents during last Saturday's Merseyside derby match. He has 14 days to respond."

Banks blames fans

But Fowler found some unlikely support in the form of Sports Minister Tony Banks, who blamed fans for antagonising players.

He said: "The crowd has to take some responsibility for the behaviour on the pitch, because a number of footballers are being provoked continually with some fairly obscene and unpleasant allegations.

"We have all seen recently the sort of things being shouted at Graeme Le Saux, and David Beckham continually has to put up with some obscene comments about his relationship with Posh Spice."

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