Newcastle boss Benitez charged by FA over Marriner comments

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Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez has been charged over comments he made about referee Andre Marriner before Saturday’s match against Crystal Palace, the Football Association has announced.

Benitez had been speaking about a plea from Palace forward Wilfried Zaha for greater protection from referees.

A statement from the FA read: “Rafael Benitez has been charged following pre-match comments he made on Friday (21/09/18) about the appointed match referee for Newcastle United’s game against Crystal Palace on Saturday (22/09/18). He has until 6pm on 28 September 2018 to respond to the charge.”

Zaha had recently claimed he would have to have his leg broken before an opponent was sent off following what the Eagles frontman felt was rough treatment from opponents and not enough stern action by officials.

In response, looking ahead to the Premier League match between the two sides, the Newcastle manager said: “I’m surprised because normally the FA deal with these comments, but I have a lot of confidence in Andre Marriner.

“He has experience – even if his record with our players is not the best in terms of red cards, but I am quite confident.

“He is a very good referee with experience and he will deal with the situation in a normal way.”

Benitez maintained his players would not change their plans for dealing with Ivory Coast international Zaha as a result of his cry for help.

“He’s a good player, no doubt about that, but I think the FA has to deal with these comments and I’m sure that Andre Marriner will not have this in the back of his head,” the Newcastle manager said.

“The way that he plays, normally he will receive more tackles than other players because he likes to run at players. It won’t make any difference for our players.”

Benitez added: “You cannot ask for a red card before the game. It is something we cannot control, but maybe someone else will make a point.”

Saturday’s match at Selhurst Park finished goalless, with two yellow cards issued, one to both teams.

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