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Page last updated at 18:31 GMT, Tuesday, 13 October 2009 19:31 UK

Benitez warned after ref gesture

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez
Benitez escaped a touchline ban or fine over his post-match gesture

The Football Association has warned Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez over his future conduct in interviews following a gesture he made at referee Phil Dowd.

Benitez was found guilty of making an "objectively offensive" gesture after a 2-1 defeat by Tottenham on 16 August.

He had responded to a question about Dowd by removing his glasses from a pocket and examining them.

Benitez was cleared of two aspects of the same misconduct charge regarding his comments about Dowd after the game.

The Spaniard was angry that Liverpool were denied two penalties at White Hart Lane in their defeat on the opening day of the season.

He attended an independent regulatory commission hearing in Manchester on Tuesday, where he denied a charge of improper conduct relating to comments he made to the media after the match and escaped a touchline ban or fine.

Benitez speaking after Liverpool's loss against Tottenham on 16 August

A statement by the FA said: "A regulatory commission of the FA has found Mr Rafael Benitez guilty of misconduct in relation to a breach of FA Rule E3, arising out of a gesture made by him during a post-match briefing. The commission concluded the gesture was objectively offensive.

"Two other aspects of the misconduct charge against Mr Benitez were dismissed by the commission.

"The commission noted Mr Benitez's previous exemplary disciplinary record over 23 years as a coach and manager at the highest level of the sport.

"Taking into account all relevant factors, the commission concluded that the appropriate penalty was to warn Mr Benitez as to his future conduct with regards to interviews and press briefings."

A statement from Liverpool added: "The commission found that two of the allegations relating to comments made about the match referee were not proven and therefore dismissed.

"On a third, the commission accepted that a gesture made with a pair of spectacles was 'in a non-malicious and humorous manner'."

Liverpool assistant manager Sammy Lee also faces an improper conduct charge for his behaviour during the same match.

Lee, 50, was sent to the stands for continued protests toward fourth official Stuart Attwell.

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see also
Liverpool's Lee hit by FA charge
20 Aug 09 |  Liverpool
Benitez fumes at penalty denials
16 Aug 09 |  Premier League
Tottenham 2-1 Liverpool
16 Aug 09 |  Premier League

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