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11 Years Ago, Ryan Babel Was Fined £10,000 For Tweeting Image Of Howard Webb In Manchester United Shirt

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11 Years Ago, Ryan Babel Was Fined £10,000 For Tweeting Image Of Howard Webb In Manchester United Shirt

Eleven years ago today, Ryan Babel found out how difficult it is to be a footballer on social media when the then Liverpool winger became the first Premier League player fined for Twitter use.

In January 2011, Babel was playing for Liverpool during the Reds' 1-0 loss to rivals Manchester United in the FA Cup third round.

In Kenny Dalglish's first game back in charge of the Anfield outfit, following Roy Hodgson's sacking, United went ahead through a Ryan Giggs penalty after just two minutes, while Steven Gerrard was sent off in the second half.

Image credit: Alamy
Image credit: Alamy
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The decisions by referee Howard Webb led to criticism from Liverpool fans and Babel took to Twitter with a photoshopped picture of Webb in a United shirt, with the caption: "And they call him one of the best referees? That's a joke. SMH [shaking my head]."

Babel later posted two tweets for damage control, saying: "My apology if they take my posted pic seriously. This is just a emotional reaction after losing an important game," and "Sorry Howard Webb!"

But it was too late.

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The Dutchman was charged with improper conduct and was fined £10,000 for the Twitter post with regulatory commission chairman Roger Burden saying: "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."

image credit: Alamy
image credit: Alamy

Babel has previously been in trouble with manager Rafael Benitez for tweeting about being dropped for a game against Stoke City "without explanation".

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"The Boss left me out," Babel wrote on his Twitter feed. "No explanation."

Benitez said after the game: "Everyone has a Twitter. It's impossible to stop people talking. It's not like in the past. It is more than just football."

Featured Image Credit: Alamy/Twitter

Topics: Liverpool, Manchester United, FA Cup

Ryan Sidle
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