Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The FA Decide Not To Take Action Against Liverpool Over Michael Shields Shirts

The FA today decided not to take any action against Liverpool FC after its players wore t-shirts supporting jailed Michael Shields during the warm up against West Ham on Monday.

In 2005 the then 19-year-old Michael Shields was holidaying in Bulgaria. After watching Liverpool overcome AC Milan in the Champions League Final, Shields is believed to have become embroiled in a fracas with Martin Georgiev.

Shields was then arrested by Bulgarian Police, charged with attempted murder and later sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Shields has maintained his innocence throughout.

In 2006, Shields launched an appeal and won a hollow victory of sorts.

His sentence was reduced to 10 years and he was transferred to England to see out the rest of his term.

Shields' claims were strengthened further in late 2007, when new witnesses came forward—Bradley Thomson and Anthony Wilson. Both were present at the scene of the crime but were charged with lesser offences, and claim that two other men were the responsible parties for the attack on Georgiev.

According to the witness statement, Steven Clare punched Georgiev, and as he lay prone on the ground Graham Sankey dropped a large rock on his head.

Both witnesses made it clear that Michael Shields was not present during the attack and was unknown to either of them.

Graham Sankey even went as far as issuing a confession through his solicitor after Shields was convicted, but withdrew it a short time later.

Labour MP, Louise Ellman, has raised the issue during Parliamentary debate, and has stated the need for this case to be given further consideration under judicial review.

Last month, three years after sentencing, Michael Shields received some welcome news. After pressure from MP's such as Ellman and media outlets in Liverpool, it was announced that a panel of three judges would review the case, and the 10 year sentence that Shields was given.

There is now a glimmer of hope that, in the near future, Michael Shields will walk the streets of Liverpool as a free man.

Liverpool fans from around the world have sent Michael cards of support during this trying time for him and his family. And it is an issue that most Liverpool players feel very strongly about, hence the show of support for Michael on Monday.

And after consulting with the club, the FA have rightly decided not to take any action.

The judicial review begins on Thursday.

Good Luck Michael.

twitter / WillieGannon