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Arsenal's Hleb could miss season with ban

Arsenal's Alexander Hleb faces being banned for the rest of the season if the FA call for video evidence of his clash with Graham Murty.

Television replays appeared to show the Belarus star slapping Reading skipper Murty in the face in the second half of Arsenal's 2-0 win on Saturday and although it was missed by referee Peter Walton and his assistants, it was spotlighted on BBC TV's 'Match of the Day'.

If found guilty of violent conduct Hleb would face a three-match ban - with Arsenal now only left with games against Derby, Everton and Sunderland to complete their season.

An FA spokesman said: "The first thing is to wait and see the referee's report but that is not necessarily the end of the matter."

The FA can call for video evidence from any match if they deem it necessary to apply justice to a clear offence which a referee has failed to punish.

Although Hleb's slap appeared to be only a comparatively minor contact, Arsenal's former striker Jeremie Aliadiere was recently banned for four matches after appealing against a red card while playing for Middlesbrough having been sent off following a spat with Liverpool's Javier Mascherano.

Alan Shearer, former England striker and BBC TV soccer pundit recalled the Aliadiere case in referring to Hleb and said: "I think the FA have to do something about this one, too."

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