[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 July 2006, 12:42 GMT 13:42 UK
Bowyer admits causing pitch brawl
Lee Bowyer and Kieron Dyer
The on-pitch clash stunned onlookers
Footballer Lee Bowyer has been fined 600 and ordered to pay 1,000 costs after admitting sparking an on-pitch clash with then team-mate Kieron Dyer.

The former Newcastle United player pleaded guilty to using threatening behaviour when he appeared at Newcastle Magistrates' Court on Wednesday.

The case related to an incident during Newcastle's 3-0 defeat by Aston Villa at St James' Park in April 2005.

Bowyer, 29, signed for Newcastle's Premiership rivals West Ham last month.

The criminal law doesn't cease to operate once you cross the touchline of a sports field
Northumbria chief crown prosecutor Nicola Reasbeck

The court was played a video of the brief clash between the two players.

Bowyer is seen in the corner of the screen walking towards Dyer and throwing a punch at him. The two players then tangle and after a brief melee they are pulled apart by other players.

Both Bowyer and Dyer were sent off and Bowyer was banned for seven games and fined 30,000 by the Football Association.

Newcastle United fined him a further six weeks' wages and he later appeared on television with his team-mate to apologise.

Bowyer's legal team went to the High Court to seek a judicial review to contest the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) decision to summons Bowyer for the incident, but later withdrew the application.

Charge amended

Bowyer was originally charged with causing fear or provocation of violence under Section 4 of the Public Order Act 1986.

The charge was amended on Wednesday after he indicated he would plead guilty to causing harassment, alarm or distress under Section 5 of the same act, the CPS said.

Northumbria chief crown prosecutor Nicola Reasbeck said: "The criminal law doesn't cease to operate once you cross the touchline of a sports field.

"Neither does being disciplined by an employer or a sport governing body make an athlete immune to the law."

In a statement after the hearing, Bowyer's solicitor Steven Barker said Bowyer had offered the plea of his own volition to avoid a trial involving a number of witnesses including fellow players and he did not wish to put them in the spotlight.

He said: "The incident was blown out of all proportion. Far more serious incidents occur almost weekly in sport and go unpunished.

"Lee has already apologised for his action on that day as well as apologising personally to Kieron Dyer. He remains a friend of Kieron."

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific