Bellamy faces Baggies ban

Last updated : 22 April 2003 By Martyn Elliott

Bellamy was one of a group of players who surrounded incompetent referee Andy D'Urso and his assistants at the end of the game to protest about a number of controversial decisions, one of which in the build up to the goal cost us the game.

The Wales international was initially charged with the more serious offence of using foul and/or abusive language towards the match official, but that charge was dropped after intervention by PFA deputy chief executive Mick McGuire.

Afterwards McGuire paid tribute to Bellamy’s improved disciplinary record, which has seen him cautioned just once in the Premiership in the past 14 months.

"The FA were prepared to accept a charge of improper conduct rather than a charge of using foul and abusive language," he said.

"They took into account Craig's fantastic record for a frontman on the playing field this season, the amount of pressure he has been playing under and the performances he has been producing.

"On the basis of that they have suspended him for one game and given him a £5,000 fine. Obviously, the management and myself will now discuss whether we will appeal against it.

"We just need to sit back and think about it carefully and that's what we will be deliberating over the next few days, but everybody thought the hearing went well.

"There's been a real turnaround in Craig's record of late. His record of one caution in the past 14 months is a phenomenal one for anybody, never mind a young 23-year-old playing for a team striving for a high European spot.

"The panel took that into account and a few other factors we were able to bring to bear and accepted it was an out-of-character incident when you consider the record mentioned.

"Sir Bobby spoke very well on the player's behalf and has been a major instigator in Craig's improved record. Certainly this last season he has changed dramatically."

The 23-year-old has 14 days to appeal against the ban which is set to come into force on May 6, meaning he’ll miss the final game of the season at West Brom.