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Tottenham to appeal against referee's decision

Tottenham will appeal against referee's decision to send Robbie Keane off in its 3-2 Premier League loss to Birmingham.

Keane had scored twice Sunday to put Spurs ahead before, going for the ball, he made a late tackle on defender Fabrice Muamba. Despite being close to what appeared to be an innocuous incident, referee Phil Dowd spoke to Uriah Rennie - who was much further away - through a radio link and showed the striker a red card.

Tottenham confirmed Monday that it had appealed to the Football Association and would be heard Tuesday.

"The sending off was harsh," Tottenham manager Juande Ramos said. "Usually with this type of action, the referee would show a yellow card and it certainly wasn't deserving of a red card."

Ramos was just as upset with the manner in which Dowd arrived at his decision, with the referee clearly delaying the showing of a card while he spoke to Rennie.

"The referee was very close by," Ramos said. "It was very unfair. I don't know what happened, but the closest person to the incident was the referee.

"Anybody else was a lot further away."

Dowd was accused of shirking a similar decision last month by Coventry manager Iain Dowie, when he sent off Michael Mifsud in the 11th minute of a League Championship match against West Bromwich Albion. The referee appeared to rely on his radio link with the fourth official, and Coventry ended up losing 4-0 to four second-half goals.

The referees' ruling body, Professional Game Match Officials, said Monday that Dowd was not asking Rennie whether to award a red card at White Hart Lane, but that he was informing him of his decision.

Tottenham had fought back from 1-0 down and was drawing 2-2 when Keane was sent off in the 67th.

Down to 10 men and with attacking left back Gareth Bale substituted because of injury, Tottenham struggled late on and conceded an injury-time goal for the sixth time this season - Sebastian Larsson hitting a long-range shot to end Ramos' unbeaten start as coach.

"I was very surprised and hopefully it will be looked at," said Keane, who has now scored 12 goals this season. "I raised my hand because I didn't think it was a bad tackle and felt it was more of a collision.

"I have never been sent off before for a tackle and obviously I am disappointed - even more because we didn't get anything out of the game."

Spurs have now dropped 19 points this season in matches in which they have led, and are 16th in the 20-team standings with 12 points.

It is Tottenham's worst start to the season since 1976-77 - when it was relegated.

"It's important to emphasize that we lost this game, though," Ramos said. "Not the referee."

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