Twittering Babel admits charge over Webb

Liverpool forward Ryan Babel has admitted a charge of improper conduct in relation to him posting remarks about, and a picture of, South Yorkshire referee Howard Webb on social networking site Twitter.

The Holland international has requested a personal hearing and that will take place next Monday, January 17.

After Sunday's FA Cup exit at Manchester United, where Liverpool conceded a controversial first-minute penalty and had captain Steven Gerrard sent off, Babel posed a mocked-up picture of Webb wearing a United shirt.

He also wrote: "And they call him one of the best referees? That's a joke. SMH (shaking my head)."

The 24-year-old quickly posted an apology but it could not prevent him becoming the first person to be charged by the Football Association for an indiscretion on the social networking site.

In the wake of the charge Babel was backed by both manager Kenny Dalglish and Gordon Taylor, chief executive of the Professional Footballers' Association.

"I think it is only a bit of fun, a joke. Maybe I've been out of the game too long," said Dalglish.

Taylor felt the FA over-reacted to what he thought was not a serious issue. "I thought a warning letter would suffice," he said on Tuesday.

"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."

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