NYON: Wayne Rooney’s Euro 2012 ban has been reduced to two matches after an appeal to UEFA and he will now be available for England’s third group match against Ukraine writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

UEFA’s three-man appeals panel reduced his original three-match ban imposed for his red card against Montenegro. A UEFA spokesman confirmed that the ban for the third match will be suspended for four years – and will only kick in if he is sent off in another European match.

Rooney and England manager Fabio Capello attended the hearing at UEFA’s headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland – and that may have swung the appeal, according to Club England managing director Adrian Bevington.

He said on Twitter: “Fair hearing at UEFA. Important Wayne Rooney and Fabio Capello in attendance. Available for Ukraine game at Euros.”

The FA also sent a team of four lawyers including a QC to UEFA to support Rooney’s appeal. They included Adam Lewis QC, who has previous experience of chairing Rugby Football Union appeal hearings, a Swiss sports lawyer, plus the FA’s own internal solicitor James Bonnington and a representative from their external lawyers Charles Russell.

Rooney himself had admitted it was “stupid” to have kicked Miodrag Dzudovic, and the Montenegro defender sent a statement on the Manchester United striker’s behalf.

The FA are thought to have pointed out that a three-match ban that affects games in the finals of a major tournament is a harsher sanction than a suspension of a similar length which would just affect matches in a qualifying tournament.

‘Positive outcome’

Rooney’s two-match ban means he misses the Group D opener against France on June 11 in Donetsk and also the second game against Sweden in Kiev on June 15 but can now face host nation Ukraine on June 19 in Donetsk.

Bevington told reporters in Nyon: “It is a positive outcome, Wayne and Fabio are both very pleased. Wayne will now head back to Manchester, they are both very satisfied that they have had a fair hearing.

“Wayne always made it clear he accepted it was a red card offence and we are very pleased with the outcome.

“We arrived with the possibility of Wayne Rooney missing the entire group phase so to have him available for the final group game against Ukraine is a positive result for us and Wayne Rooney as well.”

Bevington also thanked United boss Sir Alex Ferguson and the club’s chief executive David Gill for releasing Rooney to appear at the hearing at UEFA headquarters.

UEFA said in a statement: “The appeals body today decided that the player’s red card during the UEFA EURO 2012 qualifier in Montenegro on 7 October should incur a two-match suspension, with a further one-game ban for UEFA European Championship football only suspended for four years, instead of the three-match ban handed down by UEFA’s control and disciplinary Body on 13 October.

“Rooney will also spend a day supporting a UEFA project as part of the sentence.”