Fri, Jul 21, 2006 - Page 23 News List

FIFA slaps Zidane and Materazzi on the wrists

DPA , ZURICH, SWITZERLAND

France's retired Zinedine Zidane was handed a three-match ban by soccer's ruling body, FIFA, yesterday for his head-butt to the chest of Italy's Marco Materazzi in the World Cup final on July 9.

Materrazi was handed a two-match ban for his part in the incident, which came in the second period of extra time with the sides level at 1-1.

Zidane was sent off by Argentine referee Horacio Elizondo for his actions which were spotted by the fourth official, Luis Medina Cantalejo. Italy went on to win the match in a penalty shootout.

Former Real Madrid midfielder Zidane has already retired from football, but the 34-year-old has pledged to do three days of community service work with children and youngsters as part of FIFA's humanitarian activities.

Zidane was also handed a fine of 7,500 Swiss francs (US$5,986) by FIFA's disciplinary committee. Materazzi was fined SF5,000 for "repeatedly provoking Zidane."

Materazzi appeared before FIFA on July 14 while Zidane was at FIFA headquarters yesterday, where he spent 90 minutes in front of the committee.

"In their statements, both players stressed that Materazzi's comments had been defamatory, but not of a racist nature," FIFA said.

"During the course of their hearings, both players also apologised to FIFA for their inappropriate behaviour and expressed their regret at the incident," FIFA said.

Zidane's red card at the Olympic stadium in Berlin was the 14th of his career.

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