Ryan Babel was fined £10k by the Football Association for retweeting a mocked up picture, created by another supporter, of Howard Webb in a Man Utd shirt.
The astonishing severity of the fine will raise eyebrows throughout football. It seems the FA are interested in events off the pitch far more than on the pitch.
Howard Webb, who has handed Man United 4 penalties in his last 6 visits to Old Trafford, gave a penalty to Man United in the first minute when Dimitar Berbatov appeared to dive. He also sent off Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard, whilst ignoring a two footed challenge by Rafael moments earlier.
Chairman of the FA committee Roger Burden said:
“Social network sites like Twitter must be regarded as being in the public domain.
“All participants need to be aware, in the same way as if making a public statement in other forms of media, that any comments would be transmitted to a wider audience.
“It is their responsibility to ensure only appropriate comments are used.”
While Babel admitted the charge, he had deleted the retweet and apologised to referee Howard Webb within moments.
Since the 9th January, Liverpool fans have been starved of the highly intellectual football analysis and debates normally found on Ryan’s twitter feed.
It is believed that it could take Ryan an entire two night’s sleep to earn enough to pay the fine.
Rumours on Twitter that the FA will be betting the £10K on a Man Utd win the next time Howard Webb referees at Old Trafford are unsubstantiated at this time.