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Last Updated: Thursday, 21 August, 2003, 10:50 GMT 11:50 UK
FA hits back at Vieira
Exclusive by Stuart Roach

Patrick Vieira
Vieira is unhappy with the Football Association
The Football Association has angrily rejected Patrick Vieira's accusation of bias against Arsenal.

The Gunners captain hinted at a vendetta by the FA after defender Sol Campbell was charged with violent conduct.

But an FA spokesman told this website the claim was "completely untrue."

Campbell appeared to kick out at Manchester United's Eric Djemba-Djemba in the Community Shield.

But Vieira is unhappy that the new United signing was not similarly charged for his part in the incident.

If Campbell is found guilty by the commission, the defender could face a further three-match ban on top of a one-match suspension for a professional foul in the Premiership match against Everton.

"If it had been a player at another club, I don't think this would have happened," Vieira told London's Evening Standard newspaper.

HAVE YOUR SAY

"It is no surprise to me they have charged him. For me, this has happened because he is an Arsenal player.

"I have been where Sol is now and I know how he is feeling."

But the FA spokesman told this website: "We refute any accusations of prejudice against any club.

"Disciplinary rules, regulations and practices are in place across the board and must be adhered to.

"Any suggestion otherwise is completely untrue."

Vieira's comments run the risk of landing Arsenal in further hot water with the FA.

Sol Campbell
Campbell could be facing a four-match ban
His words will also cause potential embarrassment to Arsenal vice-chairman David Dein, who is also vice chairman of the FA.

But Vieira added defiantly: "As a squad of players, we are already close. Now, if it is possible, we will be even closer."

Arsenal defender Ashley Cole also insisted the team would rally round Campbell.

He said: "We can't believe what is going on. No one saw what Djemba-Djemba did to Sol. He'll come back strong from this though. He'll be better than ever."

Meanwhile, Arsenal could be set to sign highly-rated Spanish teenager Cesc Fabregas.

The 16-year-old, who has been groomed at Barcelona, is close to signing a six-year with the Gunners, according to the same paper.





VOTE RESULTS
Is Patrick Vieira right that the FA is biased against Arsenal?
Yes
 54.03% 
No
 45.97% 
11602 Votes Cast
Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion


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