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UEFA reduces Rooney's Euro 2012 ban to 2 games

Updated: December 08, 2011, 05:39


Manchester United's Wayne Rooney, left, and England coach Fabio Capello arrive to appeal against Rooney's three-match ban which excludes him from England's 2012 European Championship group-stage matches at the UEFA headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland, Thursday, Dec. 8, 2011. Rooney's hearing began just 10 hours after his club was eliminated from UEFA's Champions League by FC Basel. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

NYON, Switzerland(AP) Wayne Rooney has been cleared to play in England's final group match at next year's European Championship following a UEFA decision to reduce his three-match ban to two.

UEFA's appeals panel deferred the final match of the England striker's three-match suspension on Wednesday, on condition of his good behavior for four years.

England faces Euro 2012 co-host Ukraine on June 19, but Rooney remains banned for England's games against France and Sweden.

Rooney did not speak with reporters on leaving UEFA headquarters with England coach Fabio Capello who helped present his case in a 90-minute session before a three-member appeal panel.

Capello smiled and nodded in agreement when asked if his star player's hearing had gone well.

"It's a very positive result,'' Club England managing director Adrian Bevington said. "It would have been a huge challenge for Fabio and the team (to be without Rooney).''

However, Rooney's reprieve will be on the line if he is selected for Manchester United's matches in the Europa League from February.

UEFA decided that Rooney's third suspended match will be activated if he is sent off for violent conduct in any of its competitions.

"If he is dismissed for violent conduct playing for Man United, the only team it will affect is England.'' Bevington said.

UEFA banned Rooney for three matches after he was sent off for kicking Montenegro defender Miodrag Dzudovic in England's last qualifier in October.

Rooney's lawyers argued that the incident was an act of petulance rather than malice.

Rooney called on some of the same legal team used by Spanish cyclist Alberto Contador at his 2010 Tour de France doping hearing at the Court of Arbitration for Sport last month.

London-based lawyer Adam Lewis and Swiss lawyer Antonio Rigozzi helped present the defense for both athletes.

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