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Thursday, May 7, 1998 Published at 10:42 GMT 11:42 UK

Sport: Football

Shearer charged with misconduct
image: [ Lennon clutches his face after the challenge ]
Lennon clutches his face after the challenge

Shearer's now notorious challenge
The England captain Alan Shearer has been charged with misconduct by the Football Association after a controversial challenge on Leicester City's Neil Lennon.

The BBC's sports correspondent Neil Bennett reports: "Any action likely to take effect next season" (32")
Television pictures appear to show the Newcastle striker kicking Lennon in the face during a match.

The FA Chief Executive, Graham Kelly, has given Shearer 14 days to appeal after viewing the video evidence.

Shearer said: "I am totally confident that I will eventually prove to everyone that the incident was not intentional."

But he said he was disappointed at not having the chance to prove his innocence before being publicly summoned to the FA headquarters at Lancaster Gate.

[ image: Lennon: did not want charges brought]
Lennon: did not want charges brought
TV recordings show City's Lennon and Shearer in a challenge which left both players on the ground.

As Shearer gets up he appears to kick the prostrate Lennon in the face.

The incident sparked an outcry in the British media although it was not seen by the referee.

Shearer has denied intentionally booting his opponent. He says he lost his balance as he got up.

The FA statement reads: "An FA Commission will consider an alleged breach of the rules by Alan Shearer following an incident in the Leicester City v Newcastle United match.

[ image: Alan Shearer:
Alan Shearer: "Totally confident"
"The decision has been taken by the FA's Chief Executive, Graham Kelly, after a video of the match was viewed.

"Graham Kelly believes it is in the interests of the game that Alan Shearer receives the fullest opportunity to explain to a commission what happened and, if necessary, call witnesses on his behalf.

Colleagues' defence

"He will have 14 days to respond. Depending on his response, it will be decided how and when to proceed."

Shearer's clubmates have come to his defence. Captain Rob Lee said: "There's no doubting we back Alan.

"He's a very popular person in our dressing room and anyone within the game knows that he'd never go out to injure anyone.

Call to drop charge

"If he had not been the England captain it wouldn't have got a paragraph in the papers. I don't see why it had to go to the FA."

Lennon has expressed his opinion that football is a physical game and he did not want charges brought against Shearer.

A spokesman for Leicester said: "As far as we are concerned, the matter is over and closed."

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