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Page last updated at 17:23 GMT, Thursday, 13 January 2011

Liverpool's Ryan Babel accepts FA Twitter charge

Ryan Babel
Babel came on as a 60th-minute substitute against Manchester United

Liverpool have confirmed Ryan Babel has accepted a charge of improper conduct from the Football Association over a Twitter post concerning Howard Webb.

The Dutch forward linked to a mocked-up picture of referee Webb in a Manchester United shirt after Liverpool had lost 1-0 at Old Trafford in the FA Cup.

Babel has requested a personal hearing which will take place on Monday.

Figures within the game have defended Babel over his use of the popular social networking site.

The latest to do so is Blackpool manager Ian Holloway, who commented on Thursday: "I thought it was funny - I thought the ref looked really cool in a Man United shirt to be honest!"

"I saw him in the toilet at the match I went to the other night at Stockport. I said 'come on, what sort of game did you have against Man United? Was that a sending off and was that a penalty?'

"We had a bit of a laugh about it, but to pick on young Ryan Babel for that - how can you fine him for that? It's rubbish."

Holloway's team heaped further misery on Liverpool and their supporters with a 2-1 Premier League win over the Reds on Wednesday at Bloomfield Road.

Victory through Harmony

On Tuesday, Gordon Taylor, head of the Professional Footballers' Association, said the FA had been "too precious" in its reaction to Babel's tweet. "Where's our sense of humour gone in our game? He's apologised, let's move on," added Taylor.

In addition to posting a link to the doctored picture of Webb, Babel wrote: "And they call him one of the best referees. That's a joke." He subsequently removed the link and wrote an apology on Twitter.

The Dutchman has more than 166,000 other Twitter users following his updates and his messages - and the offending image was subsequently reproduced by some media outlets.

Ryan Giggs scored the game's only goal from a penalty awarded by Webb for Daniel Agger's challenge on Dimitar Berbatov inside the first minute. Webb later sent off Steven Gerrard after 32 minutes for a challenge on Michael Carrick.

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish labelled the penalty decision "a joke" and also disagreed with the red card for his captain.

Babel later wrote on Twitter: "My apology if they take my posted picture seriously. This is just an emotional reaction after losing an important game. Sorry Howard Webb."

He then joked about spending a spell in "Twitter jail" and his previously prolific posts stopped on Sunday evening.

It is not the first time that a Liverpool member of staff has been drawn into controversy through their use of the website.

The club's head of fitness and conditioning Darren Burgess labelled England "completely amateurish" and "disgraceful" after Gerrard was injured in the 84th minute of an international friendly against France.

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see also
Liverpool need belief - Dalglish
12 Jan 11 |  Premier League
Dalglish outlines Anfield vision
12 Jan 11 |  Liverpool
Blackpool 2-1 Liverpool
12 Jan 11 |  Premier League
SFA issues social network warning
10 Jan 11 |  Scotland
Man Utd 1-0 Liverpool
09 Jan 11 |  FA Cup
Dalglish fumes at 'joke' penalty
09 Jan 11 |  FA Cup
FA Cup football photos
09 Jan 11 |  Football

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