Ryan Babel the first player to be charged over use of Twitter
Liverpool forward will face a personal hearing at the FA next Monday following criticism of Howard Webb
He may have over 170,000 followers, but when Liverpool forward Ryan Babel posted remarks about referee Howard Webb on Twitter after his side’s 1-0 defeat at Old Trafford last weekend he surely wasn’t expecting the uproar that ensued.
The 24-year-old Reds attacker admitted a charge of improper conduct on Wednesday and will now have to attend a personal hearing at the FA next Monday over the comments he posted on the website.
The charge relates to the updates he posted on Twitter after Sunday’s FA Cup exit at Old Trafford, where Liverpool conceded a controversial first-minute penalty and had captain Steven Gerrard sent off.
Babel posted a doctored image of Webb wearing a United shirt after the final whistle. He also wrote: “And they call him one of the best referees? That’s a joke. SMH (shaking my head).”
Despite the Holland international quickly posting an apology, he has become first player to be charged by the FA for an indiscretion on the social networking website.
Earlier this week, Babel was backed by both Reds manager Kenny Dalglish and chief executive of the Professional Footballers’ Association Gordon Taylor.
“I think it is only a bit of fun, a joke. Maybe I’ve been out of the game too long,” said Dalglish.
And Taylor believes the FA over-reacted to what he thought was not a serious issue. He said: “I thought a warning letter would suffice.
But it may be they need to put a marker down for the future because these sites are being accessed by the media so it can be the equivalent of being on the television or being in the national press.
“But I felt the fact that an apology had been made [would mean] we could move on.”