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Vieira accepts FA charge

LONDON, February 19 – Patrick Vieira is set to be banned for three matches by the Football Association (FA) on Friday after "reluctantly deciding" to accept a violent conduct charge.The Manchester City midfielder was charged by the FA on Wednesday after appearing to kick Stoke’s Glenn Whelan between the legs during Tuesday’s 1-1 Premier League draw at the Britannia Stadium.

A City statement issued Thursday said: "Patrick Vieira has reluctantly decided not to contest the FA charge of violent conduct."

Vieira added: "At no time did I intend to injure Glenn Whelan. I apologised to him at the time. My foot did make contact with him but I carried no malice at all toward him."

France star Vieira, who was making only his second start for City following a January transfer window move from Italian giants Inter Milan, is now set to miss league matches against Liverpool and Chelsea as well as the FA Cup fifth round replay at Stoke.

Tony Pulis, the Stoke manager, was enraged Vieira escaped on-field punishment from referee Alan Wiley.

Pulis urged the FA to take retrospective action, pleading for "parity" after Stoke defender Robert Huth was banned in October when television cameras caught him striking West Ham’s Matthew Upson.

"We had a player given a three-game suspension after an incident a couple of months back," Pulis said. "There were incidents in the first half with Man City players where I think it is as bad if not worse."

Vieira has been hauled before the FA on many occasions after being sent-off 10 times in his nine years at Arsenal. He was also booked on 100 occasions playing for the Gunners before joining Juventus in 2005.

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The 33-year-old has now been booked twice in four appearances since joining Manchester City. His first yellow card came against Hull earlier this month and he received another for a foul on Stoke’s Mamady Sidibe on Tuesday.

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