LONDON – Wayne Rooney's joyous celebration after scoring for Manchester United in Champions League quarterfinals Wednesday did little to convince the Football Association to reduce its tough sanction on the striker for swearing into a television camera.
The FA refused to budge Thursday, upholding the two-match ban handed to Rooney for insulting and abusive language at Upton Park on Saturday.
Four days after an angry-looking Rooney stunned a worldwide audience by unleashing expletives directly at a camera during a Premier League match, the England forward playfully celebrated his goal in the 1-0 win at Chelsea by rolling around on the ground with a beaming grin on his face.
The striker had accepted the charge but appealed against the severity of the punishment, saying it was "clearly excessive." But the appeal was rejected, leaving Rooney on the sidelines for United's FA Cup semifinal match against Manchester City at Wembley on April 16.
"I am not the first player to have sworn on TV and I won't be the last," said Rooney, who will also have to miss United's home match against Fulham in the Premier League on Saturday.
"Unlike others who have been caught swearing on camera, I apologized immediately. And yet I am the only person banned for swearing. That doesn't seem right. Whatever, I have to accept that what's happened has happened and move on from here. That is what I intend to do."
United said the club is "clearly very disappointed" with the decision.
Rooney's puzzling celebration on Saturday, which came after he rolled in a penalty to complete a hat trick and United's reversal of a 2-0 deficit, appeared to depict a man angry with life and his detractors.
However, he seems in his best form in 12 months. His goal Wednesday in the first leg of the quarterfinals at Stamford Bridge was his 10th in all competitions since the start of February.
Rooney was beset with injuries and poor form early in the season. He also was dealing with personal problems off the field, stemming from media allegations that he cheated on his then-pregnant wife with a prostitute.
The allegations led to him being dropped from Coca-Cola's advertising campaigns. This week, the soft-drink giant permanently ended its relationship with the player.
"Coke Can Rooney," The Sun newspaper wrote in a front-page headline Thursday. The Daily Mirror, a rival tabloid, matched that with its "Hero ... To Coke Zero."
The decision to act tough with one of the Premier League's biggest names, the so-called bad boy of English soccer, came on the heels of demands by the league that players follow the FA's respect campaign.
Bad language is seen as being a part of soccer, especially in the English game. But the Professional Footballers' Association labeled the action against Rooney "unprecedented," because a player was being banned for swearing as opposed to simply being sanctioned on the field.
United will be without Rooney when the team attempts to keep up its march to the Premier League title against Fulham at Old Trafford. The club leads Arsenal by seven points at the top of the Premier League, but the Gunners have a game in hand.
Rooney will also miss the match against City in the FA Cup semifinals.