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Scolari backs Drogba in coin row

Luiz Felipe Scolari
Scolari wants police to find the person who first threw the coin

Chelsea manager Luiz Felipe Scolari has defended Didier Drogba after he threw a coin into the crowd against Burnley.

The striker has been charged with violent conduct by the Football Association but Scolari was keen to stress that he was not the instigator.

"Didier went on the pitch to play football," said Scolari. "He didn't go out there with coins in his pockets. It wasn't Didier who started it.

"He hadn't gone out there to fight. The police and FA must think about this."

Drogba was clearly shown on television throwing an object at Burnley fans after scoring in Wednesday night's Carling Cup defeat and was charged by the FA on Friday.

If found guilty, he could be given a three-match ban.

Drogba has until Monday evening to give his version of events, with a hearing planned for the following day.

Police, meanwhile, are still investigating the incident.

Scolari put the actions of his striker into context by pinning responsibility on those fans who first threw objects on to the pitch.

Didier apologised after the game but now I want the police to find out who was the man who threw that coin

Luiz Felipe Scolari
"He was happy to have scored a goal and he wasn't starting anything," he said.

"Didier apologised after the game but now I want the police to find out who was the man who threw that coin.

"After this we'll look at what happens. I'm not a judge."

Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp has branded coin-throwing fans "cowards" and called for the culprits to be given life bans from football grounds.

Redknapp was targeted by Aston Villa supporters last month while he was manager at Portsmouth.

"It's difficult [for players] - some of the abuse is over the top, there is no doubt about it," said Redknapp in light of the Drogba incident.

"People who throw coins are cowards. Do you think he would have gone up to Didier Drogba off the pitch and said something to him? I doubt it very much.

"There are cameras all around the place so surely we can pick these people out.

Harry Redknapp
Redknapp narrowly avoided being struck by a coin at Villa Park

"Someone has to pick up the phone, even if they are scared. Make a phone call and report the person.

"They should be banned for life from football grounds because there is no place for them in football."

Redknapp added: "Something needs to be done around the dug-outs now, it's got silly at certain grounds."

The coin thrown at him at Villa Park actually struck assistant referee Phil Sharp, leaving him with a cut to his head.

"I don't know what turns people on to do something like that," Redknapp said. "If they hit the linesman or me in the eye, we would have lost an eye.

"It was scandalous. What had I done to deserve that? Nothing. What did I do to deserve the abuse I got that day? Nothing."

Drogba's team-mate Frank Lampard believes a suspension would send the wrong message to fans.

"If Didier gets banned, are fans going to do this more to provoke people? Who knows," said the England midfielder.

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see also
Chelsea 1-1 Burnley (aet)
12 Nov 08 |  League Cup
FA probes Villa Park coin attack
18 Oct 08 |  Aston Villa

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