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Tuesday, 15 October, 2002, 20:29 GMT 21:29 UK
Keane pays the price
Roy Keane stands over Alf-Inge Haaland after his infamous tackle
Keane has effectively been punished twice

Roy Keane's 150,000 fine for bringing the game into disrepute is a record for the Football Association.

But it is the five-match ban handed out for the controversial comments in the Manchester United captain's autobiography that will hurt him the most.

The midfielder's suspension is well short of the eight month ban inflicted on his former United team-mate Eric Cantona for his kung-fu kick on a Crystal Palace fan in 1995.

And Paolo Di Canio was hit with an 11-match suspension in 1998 for pushing referee Paul Alcock to the ground when playing for Sheffield Wednesday against Arsenal.

Arsenal's Patrick Vieira was banned for six games after being sent off for a foul on Di Canio and then spitting at Neil Ruddock against West Ham in October 1999.

Vieira's 45,000 fine for that incident was a new record, breaking the previous high set by the same player for his two-fingered gesture to Sheffield Wednesday fans in 1998.

What makes Keane's punishment different is that it concerns an incident for which he had already been banned for three games.

His tackle on Manchester City's Alf-Inge Haaland in April 2000 was dealt with at the time.

But the FA acted again after his recent autobiography stated that he had deliberately set out to injure Haaland.

The only real precedent was a case against Vinnie Jones in 1992.

The former Wimbledon defender was given a suspended six-month ban and a 20,000 fine after his comments in the controversial video Soccer's Hard Men.

Keane's book has already led Manchester United to clamp down on their players' literary activities.

They will now be without his services for Premiership games against Manchester City, West Ham, Newcastle and Liverpool, as well as the Worthington Cup tie against Leicester.

And if they lose ground in the title race by the time he returns against Arsenal on 1 December, the cost of a few ill-judged words will turn out to be far greater than a mere two weeks' wages.

 VOTE RESULTS
Is Roy Keane's punishment just?

Too harsh
 18.10% 

Fair
 16.44% 

Too lenient
 65.46% 

30429 Votes Cast

Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion
Roy Keane faces a three-match suspension for his red card at Sunderland

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