Grant banned for ref comments

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Football News

West Ham manager Avram Grant has received a two-match ban for improper conduct, capping a bad start to the week for the Hammers.

The Israeli will be banished to the stands for the upcoming games against Bolton and Aston Villa after being charged by the Football Association for comments made about referee Mike Jones in the aftermath of the 2-1 FA Cup quarter-final defeat to Stoke in March.

The punishment for Grant came on the same day that the club confirmed they are investigating allegations of racist abuse by supporters directed at the families of West Ham players Victor Obinna and Frederic Piquionne during Saturday's 4-2 defeat to Manchester United.

Grant received the ban and a £6,000 fine for criticising referee Jones' handling of the second half at the Britannia Stadium, which began with the home side being awarded a penalty just 13 seconds after the restart.

Matthew Etherington missed the spot-kick but Grant intimated he felt that Jones had been swayed by the home fans after Piquionne appeared to handle in the lead-up to the Hammers' opener in the first half.

"I think maybe this is the reason the referee started the second half very strange," he said of the penalty award.

"Until they scored the (second) goal he gave fouls, a penalty, everything for them. It was a penalty for us at the end which he didn't give. Maybe he felt a little bit guilty. I think it was the effect of the first goal for us."

And in a difficult day for the Hammers, the club announced it will look into claims of racist abuse being directed at the families of Obinna and Piquionne by spectators at Upton Park on Saturday. Reports emerged on Monday morning that guests of the duo were involved in a confrontation with a small group of supporters after being racially abused while sitting in a box in the Main Stand.

A statement from the club on their official website read: "West Ham United are investigating the events around Saturday's match against Manchester United after allegations of racist abuse.

"The club takes such matters seriously and, with the Police, is reviewing CCTV footage and gathering witness information. Anyone found responsible will be dealt with appropriately."

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Stoke City
Frederic Piquionne
Bolton Wanderers
Matthew Etherington
Manchester United
Mike Jones
Aston Villa
West Ham United
FA Cup
Victor Obinna

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